Belfast Telegraph

Belfast actor Ian McElhinney is revelling in his Granda Joe role in Derry Girls

By Jackie Bell

Ian McElhinney has said he is "delighted" with his character's great one-liners in the new hit comedy series Derry Girls - especially when they are aimed at co-star Tommy Tiernan.

The Belfast actor (69) is currently on screen in the show as the no-nonsense family patriarch Granda Joe who has a great love for his family - but a great hate for his son-in-law Gerry (played by Tiernan) - amid troubled times in 1990s Derry.

Lisa McGee's series has won rave reviews despite concerns the humour and story of four teenage girls from a small corner of Northern Ireland would not resonate with the rest of UK.

"Derry Girls just has a sense of knowing exactly who these people are and also a fun memory of how things were, even in spite of all the chaos around them," McElhinney said.

"It's very entertaining and it stays wonderfully buoyant because it focuses on the kids and the families. It's all very familiar territory and the way it plays out is very funny."

The character of Granda Joe has been a particular hit with fans.

"He has some great put-downs for Gerry," he said: "There's been some great one-liners and I'm delighted to have them.

"Tommy is a fantastic sparring partner on set - I'd never met him before or seen his stand-up shows, and he's a lovely fella, so it was really nice to work together.

"I made a point of going to see his comedy show over the summer and it was a riot, he's a very funny man."

Former Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle hit headlines when she hinted she could be set to make an appearance in the second series of Derry Girls.

She told the Irish Daily Star: "I'm going to speak to the writer about that."

She added: "It's based on the same school I went to, the same Catholic school, so we have loads of similar experiences."

On the prospect of having the ultimate Derry girl make an appearance, McElhinney said: "The only trouble is Nadine Coyle is a phenomenon from today and we're set 20-odd years ago so I don't know how that would pan out. But who knows where that one will lead? It's not up to me, I just show up!"

The veteran actor will be returning to TV screens soon in the new series Krypton, which is set within the Superman universe.

"It's just a really good adventure tale in another world where we battle forces of evil - hopefully we are giving fans of the Superman story something different that they can really get into," he added.

The upcoming series was filmed at Titanic Studios in Belfast and McElhinney said: "We have a very accessible environment and I think we are coming into a golden age for the industry here - long may it continue."

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