Sharp, silly and sincerely poignant at times, Derry Girls was one of last year’s breakout comedies. Depicting a group of Catholic schoolgirls coming of age during the Troubles, the show became the most-watched show in Northern Ireland since records began – and for good reason too.
After being picked up by Netflix internationally, Derry Girls is set to return on Channel 4 in the UK this spring. Here’s everything we know about the new season so far.
What’s the release date for Season 2?
Derry Girls was recommissioned for a second season by Channel 4 right after the airing of its very first episode back in January 2018, with filming of its second outing kicking off last October.
In February 2019, actress Nicola Coughlan (who plays Clare in the series) announced on Twitter that Season 2 premieres on March 5 at 9.15pm on Channel 4.
— Nicola Coughlan (@nicolacoughlan) February 20, 2019
How did Season 1 end?
Episode six of Season 1 saw Clare coming out to Erin, with the pair falling out after Erin suggested that Clare kept her sexuality secret from the rest of the school. However, the two eventually made up after defending Orla from ridicule at the school talent show. The final scene of the season saw Ma Mary, Da Gerry, Aunt Sarah and Grandpa Joe sat around a TV at home, watching news of a fatal bombing that killed 12 people.
Explaining the poignant final sequence, McGee told Radio Times: “I thought if I’m going to do this show and show this side of things, I have to at some point show that there were times when it floored you. I thought, I’ll probably do that at the end because it wasn’t a joke either.”
“There were lots of day-to-day things that were funny but occasionally there was something big like Omagh, that the whole nation went ‘this just has to change’ and I think, I wanted to mix that in with this ‘life goes on’ thing. It had to be at the end.”
“I’ve not based anything on any particular [real life] incident, but it was just something at that scale,” McGee added. “There were lots of times when your family stood around the TV and just couldn’t speak because this was people in your own place doing it to each other. I just wanted to nod to the fact that there were those times as well.”
McGee also discussed Clare’s coming out, saying: “I always wanted to tell a sort of very real teenage story in the mix of it all, and I suppose someone not being able to say who they are is a horrible thing.”
Nicola Coughlan – who plays Clare – added: “I hope that we’ve played it right and I hope, for a lot of young gay kids out there, that we’ve done that kind of story justice. I know we’re a comedy but at the same time we really felt the weight of responsibility and we wanted to do it properly.”
Saoirse-Monica Jackson – who plays Erin – said of her character’s reaction: “I don’t think in any way that Erin’s homophobic, I just think that she’s shocked. It challenges that view that Erin has about herself that she’s worldly and she’s liberal. This is another defining moment that we get to see for Erin, that actually she’s so naïve and shocked by most things.”
Do we know plot details for Season 2?
There hasn’t been an official synopsis released yet and firm details are still sparse, but we do know a few things of what to expect.
Last year, McGee said that she was “toying with maybe doing the ceasefire and how everyone reacts to that because I remember it actually unsettled people,” adding that she would like to incorporate Bill Clinton’s 1995 visit to Derry into the new season.
Speaking at its premiere in Londonderry on 18 February, McGee confirmed the ceasefire plot, telling reporters: “It’s against the backdrop of the beginnings of the peace process this time, but the gang are very much still getting in and out of trouble and still trying to grow up – not very successfully.”
McGee has also indicated that there will be romance in the new episodes. “I’d love one of them to get a boyfriend or Clare to get a girlfriend,” she said.
Jackson has suggested that it would be interesting to see how her character reacts if new friends are introduced: “I’d love to see that, like Erin being devastated and so jealous if Clare got a girlfriend or Clare got another best friend.”
Coughlan, meanwhile, said that she hoped that the second season would follow James’ musical aspirations: “I really want James to join a band and for his bandmates to be quite cool and for the girls to be very into it and us, for some reason, having to suck up to James because in reality James is the only level headed one in the whole group but never gets the credit for that.”
Jackson has also teased that season 2 will be “bigger and braver”. “In season 2 of Derry Girls it’s definitely bigger and braver,” she told the Radio Times. “I would say there’s no second album fare. Lisa [McGee] has really outdone herself.”
She continued: “Not to say same old same old, but the girls are definitely in the same situation, still a disaster, still a bunch of selfish teenagers, still getting themselves into trouble and thinking they’re right at all times.”
What are the reviews saying?
No reviews yet, but fans have been reacting to the first two episodes that were screened at the Londonderry premiere. One fan said that the first episode of the second season was the “best so far”, while others described the new episodes as “funny, sweet and [with] a banging soundtrack as ever”.
Smashed it!! #DerryGirls was amazeballs. You are all in for a treat. The first episode in my opinion was the best so far.
— Elisha McCallion (@ElishaMcC_SF) February 18, 2019
@nicolacoughlan @LisaMMcGee just back from the screening of Derry Girls S2 tonight in actual DERRY ! Unreal as good as the first series buzzing to see the rest ?? “YOU’RE A CRAIC KILLER” can’t wait to call craic killers this from now on… #derrygirls pic.twitter.com/iEwxUNF0PZ
— chloe langton (@chloe_ox14) February 19, 2019
Loved the first two #DerryGirls S2 episodes at the premiere tonight. Funny, sweet and a banging soundtrack as ever.
— Damien Edgar (@damien_edgar7) February 18, 2019
Which of the cast are returning?
All the main stars are expected to return: Saoirse-Monica Jackson (Erin), Nicola Coughlan (Clare), Jamie-Lee (Michelle), Louisa Harland (Orla) and Dylan Llewellyn (James). You can also anticipate most of the secondary cast remaining for series 2 as well.
Any new characters?
One big guest star has already been announced for Season 2, with Father Ted actor Ardal O’Hanlon joining the cast to play Eamonn, who has been described as “the awkward, middle-aged mummy’s boy of the Quinn/McCool extended family”.
Coughlan has explained that the character of Eamonn is “a real Irish stereotype”, but certainly “not a priest”. “I think it’s something that everybody will recognise, and he completely gets it so on the money,” she added. “It was really surreal, just looking at him, because he’s such an iconic figure in Ireland, and he’s such a lovely man. He’s so good in it.”
Is there a trailer to watch?
Yes. A trailer was released in February. Scroll below to watch.
It shows the five friends to be determined as ever to land themselves in a spot of bother. In the brief glimpse, we see the Catholic schoolgirls (and James) navigating the tricky prospect of meeting up with some Protestant schoolboys on a school trip.
“We heard you boys are having a party,” Michelle tells the gang of boys as she arrives at a bedroom door with her cohorts. “Nope,” replies the slightly bewildered teenager.“Well yous are now!” she replies undeterred.
Elsewhere in the clip, we see a series of distinctly ’90s scenarios – including a trip to see Take That and some seriously retro discos.
Will there be a third season?
There have been reports that Channel 4 are already in “advanced talks” with Hat Trick Productions (the company behind the show) for a third season to air on the channel, presumably in 2020.
McGee confirmed talks on The Nolan Show, saying: “We’re talking about doing a third series. Hopefully, if the second one goes well and everything goes according to plan, we’ll do a third series.”