About four years ago, a group of school girls from a small Northern Irish town called Derry took over the world. Created by Lisa McGee, Derry Girls is set in the 90s during The Troubles, also known as the Northern Ireland conflict, a period of time during which the region was divided by religion (Catholicism and Protestantism) and political differences, fighting over the future of Northern Ireland.
The Northern Ireland conflict lasted 30 years, from the late 60s to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 (even though the origins of The Troubles can go back as far as the 17th Century, with major historical moments like the Easter Rising in 1916 and the Partition of Ireland in 1919). The conflict led to the death of more than 3,500 people. Over the years, numerous movies and series about this conflict have been made and have depicted the violence and sorrow taking place in Northern Ireland.
Lisa McGee Derry Girls Interview
However, with the Derry Girls phenomenon, Lisa McGee wanted to show another side of the conflict through the point of view of families living their lives as best as they could while dealing with a sectarian conflict taking place right outside their homes. For McGee, these movies and series, though usually very realistic and historically accurate, were only showing the dramatic side of history and never the day-to-day lives of families, friends, neighbors, and teenagers, lives that were also full of love and humor.
We had the chance to speak with creator Lisa McGee on the occasion of the international release of the third and final season of the comedy hit show Derry Girls on Netflix on October 7th. We talked about THAT cameo in season 3, storylines that didn’t make the final cut, what the future holds for the girls, and much more. And if you wanna know about that one time Lisa McGee had to walk out from set because she was laughing so much, you can listen to the full interview down below:
When describing her need to show another side of The Troubles, McGee declared:
“You can only stay serious and terrified for so long; you have to just get on with things.”
“Even as a child, I started thinking: ‘That’s funny! ‘ They were so many moments of ridiculous, hilarious things in these weird situations that should be quite dark, but that’s what life is like, isn’t it?”
When she was growing up, Lisa quickly developed a writer’s mind and started noticing absurd and funny situations that often found echo in the series, even if for comedic purposes, they were amplified. She remembered:
“When the British army were outside your house, their equipment would interfere with the signal of your TV, and if my parents were watching something they really were desperate to watch, they would have sent me out when I was like 7, and I would have to tell the soldiers to move down a bit and say ‘ Your equipment make our TV go funny.’ And I thought: ‘That’s not normal.’ It was a very surreal experience, but we weren’t aware of how surreal it was at the time.”
The third season of Derry Girls, though it tackles more dramatic personal events in the lives of Erin, Orla, Clare, Michelle, and James, is as hilarious as the first two series but also full of surprises.