New Derry Girls series will be just brilliant, says rising star Nicola Coughlan

Nicola Coughlan

Nicola Coughan may be starring in the very English series of Bridgerton at the moment but her thoughts as still very much with the Derry Girls, the series that made her a star.

She says the third series is already being written and it is going to be just “so brilliant”.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, the show tells the story of five teenagers growing up in Derry during the Troubles in the 1990s. There are four girls are from Derry, as in the title, and the fifth group member is an English boy called James, who seems to spend most of the time in a state of bewilderment at the antics of everyone around him.

It’s written by Derry author Lisa McGee, who draws much of the material from her own experiences growing up in the city at that time.

The show is very funny, but also very warm and affectionate. It’s hard to imagine anyone not liking these five youngsters as they negotiate life’s ups and downs.

Coughlan told the Belfast Telegraph that she can’t wait to start filming but the producers are having to tread carefully because of the Covid pandemic: “We’re still waiting, because it’s integral to the show that we film in Derry and we can’t do anything involving a crowd right now, so logistically, it’s really tough. But I spoke to Lisa McGee recently and she talked me through the storylines.

“They’re so brilliant, which doesn’t surprise me – she’s just incredible – but it made me want to do it right now.

“But we also want to do the best version of the show we can.”

Coughlan has been winning a new set of fans in the very different role as Penelope Featherington in the Netflix drama, Bridgerton, which has so far been seen by more that 60 million people.

Although Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, not everyone in England fully understood the problems people faced during the Troubles. Coughlan believes Derry Girls has done a lot to give British people a useful insight into what life was like under the shadow of sectarian violence.

She said: “I remember really distinctly the Good Friday Agreement being signed and thinking, is it over? The constant reports of shootings, bombings – is that going to be finished?

“It’s been funny with Derry Girls and people saying they didn’t know all that happened.

“That’s a huge gap in people’s knowledge – Ireland is Britain’s next-door neighbour.

“We’re its closest trading partner. We’re so inextricably linked. Next door neighbours should know what’s going on.”

Coughlan says it’s too early to say when the third series will be on our screens but hopes filming can begin as soon as Covid restrictions allow. In the meantime, here’s a taste of what you’ve been missing.

Be aware though, the language can get a bit fruity.

Irish star Nicola Coughlan takes us on a tour of her hometown of Galway in Netflix special

Nicola Couglan takes us on a tour of her hometown of Galway in Netflix special


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