Belfast Telegraph

Review: Maiden adventure of Derry Girls leaves us wanting more

 

By Leona O'Neill

Before now, the Derry Girls the world knew best were Nadine Coyle, with her 'quirky' phrases and an accent that had to be subtitled in America, and Dana.

But those two fine ladies are no longer the standard bearers for us Derry girls. Instead, it's four fictional characters created by Derry writer Lisa McGee for Channel 4's new sitcom.

Being hailed as the next Inbetweeners, as well as a hybrid of Moone Boy and Father Ted, Derry Girls had a lot to live up to. Tension, excitement and 'pure lurredness' built up in actual Derry through the day.

Real-life Derry girls joined the show's writer and dug out the old photo albums to post pictures of their school days in preparation for the premiere.

Some set themselves up as information stations under the DerryGirlsWhatAreTheySaying hashtag, for those lost in the lingo. And then there were those asking when Londonderry Girls was coming out.

In the end Derry Girls turned out to be an authentic and hilarious depiction of life in a troubled city during the early 90s, revolving around 16-year-old Erin Quinn, her endearing family and a motley crew of teenage friends - one who talks too fast, a ballsy one who turns the air blue every time she opens her mouth and another who likes to melt stuff.

The show transported viewers back in time to days when the army patrolled the streets and murder, bombs and bullets were as familiar as Tayto crisps.

Perhaps the humour, antics and adventures of the four - the dead nun in detention, the wee Ethiopian fella from Ballybofey, Murder She Wrote obsessions and bomb scares preventing people getting their fake tan done - might shine a light on people and places that those outside our environs would have only ever seen in grim black and white news bulletins. Erin is loosely based on writer Lisa, who must surely have had her work cut out trying to keep notoriously hard-to-please Derry people happy while making certain those from Manchester or Glasgow wouldn't be completely lost.

She did an amazing job of bottling the Derry spirit and unleashing it in her four strong female leads.

On first glance Derry Girls is warm and honest, laugh out loud funny and as a vibrant as the Derry girls it represents. Now everyone, including Queen of the Derry girls herself Nadine Coyle, can't wait until the next 'wan'.

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