Derry Girls cause a stir as hit TV show puts Army back on streets
The Army and members of the RUC were back on the streets of Londonderry yesterday - but no one on the Guildhall Square or Shipquay Street batted an eyelid.
The couple of hundred people gathered were more interested in catching a glimpse of their favourite character from Channel 4's award-winning Derry Girls, currently being filmed in the city.
Earlier in the morning, Guildhall Square was bedecked with American flags as former President Bill Clinton's famous visit to the city in 1995 was replicated with exacting detail for the TV comedy.
All eyes, though, were on the crowd of extras because among them were the four main characters: Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), her cousin Orla (Louisa Harland) and their friends Clare (Nicola Coughlan), and Michelle (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell).
Their patience was rewarded when the four girls broke from the crowd to film a tiny segment on their own.
Just the "wee English fella" James (Dylan Llewellyn) was missing from the line-up.
Little detail about the content of the second series was being shared, but writer Lisa McGee did say she was over the moon to be back on home turf.
She said: "We are thrilled to be back in Derry for season two of Derry Girls.
"Derry really is the sixth member of the gang.
"We're back here to film some pivotal scenes for the new series.
"Regarding what's being shot, we can't say too much at this stage - we don't want to spoil it for viewers when it airs - but trust me when I say the girls, and the wee English fella, are up to more mischief and causing more chaos."
Fan Grainne McDaid, who was among the spectators, said: "I love the Derry Girls so much because I was the age they are playing so the first series was like watching me and my friends growing up in Creggan."
Some traders on Shipquay Street had expressed concern at the closure of the street to traffic although there is no restriction to the shops on foot.
Local businesses in the hospitality trade were, however, more than delighted to have the unexpected boost in footfall and were happy to serve up a few treats.
The Pickled Duck cafe was doing a roaring trade in cream horns, while Nonna's Pizza had introduced Derry Girl pizza topping of - what else? - tobacco onions.