Skip to main content

Derry Girls - Saoirse Jackson: 'I can’t wait for everyone to meet the everyday people of Derry'

Derry Girls introduces Clare, played by Nicola Coughlan, Michelle (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell), James (Dylan Llewellyn), Orla (Louisa Harland) and Erin (Saoirse Monica Jackson) (Image credit: Adam Lawrence)

C4’s new six-part comedy Derry Girls takes a warm, honest and funny look at life in Derry during The Troubles…

If you’re fed up of seasonal specials and 2017 recaps, C4 have a new comedy, Derry Girls, to help welcome in 2018 with a bit of craic!

Erin and her clan: Gerry Quinn (Tommy Tiernan), Mary Quinn (Tara O'Neill) Erin Quinn (Saoirse Jackson), cousin Orla McCool (Louisa Harland), Sarah McCool (Kathy Clarke) and Granddad Joe (Ian McElhinney)

Erin and her clan: Gerry Quinn (Tommy Tiernan), Mary Quinn (Tara O'Neill) Erin Quinn (Saoirse Jackson), cousin Orla McCool (Louisa Harland), Sarah McCool (Kathy Clarke) and Granddad Joe (Ian McElhinney) (Image credit: Adam Lawrence)

Sitting somewhere between Father Ted and The Inbetweeners, Derry Girls is fresh, six-part, coming-of-age comedy. Set in 1990s’ pre-ceasefire Northern Ireland, Derry Girls charts the misadventures of teenager Erin Quinn, who's an endearing mix of confidence and confusion. The city may be hostage to bomb scares and British army patrols, but these pale in comparison with Erin’s struggles to stop her oddball cousin Orla reading her diary, daily battles with her Mam, and getting dreamy David Donnelly to notice her…

“I can’t wait for viewers to meet the everyday people of Derry. These are people we all know, wherever you’re from in the world,” says Saoirse Jackson (opens in new tab), who plays Erin. “It’s a close-knit community where everybody knows everybody - and Erin can’t get away with sneaking into a nightclub at 16!”

Louisa Harland as cousin Orla and Saoirse Jackson as main character Erin Quinn

Louisa Harland as cousin Orla and Saoirse Jackson as main character Erin Quinn (Image credit: Jack Barnes)

In a time when The Cranberries topped the charts, Erin and those closest to her are getting on with life in the eye of the Troubles. Providing counterweight to Erin and her friends’ antics are stars Tommy Tiernan (opens in new tab) as Erin’s dad, Tara-Lynne O’Neill as her mam, and Ian McElhinney (opens in new tab) as Granddad Joe.

“Tommy and Ian were brilliant. Myself and Louisa Harland, who plays cousin Orla, got really attached to Ian, as if he was our granddad, because he’s lovely and hilarious,” explains Saoirse. “I’m from Derry but the casting was done in London and they just happened to find a couple of real McCoys! I’m very proud to be from Derry so I’m extremely happy there’s a comedy set in Derry.”

Saoirse also revealed that writer Lisa McGee (opens in new tab) (Being Human, London Irish, Indian Summers) drew on some of her real life experiences for elements of the plots:

“There are definitely a few episodes that are true stories to some extent, and all the girls are based on Lisa and the friends she grew up with, which makes it even funnier!”

Derry Girls starts on C4 on Thursday 4th January 2018 at 10.00pm.

Elaine Reilly
Elaine Reilly

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and (opens in new tab)www.whattowatch.com (opens in new tab) covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.

 

As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 


After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.