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Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee: 'Would I be interested in writing a movie on John Hume? Yes, I would'

Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee talks to Shilpa Ganatra about her surprise at the success of the comedy, why she dedicated her new book to the late SDLP leader and working with her husband

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Lisa McGee

Lisa McGee

John Hume

John Hume

Derry Girls: James Maguire (Dylan Llewellyn), Michelle Mallon (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell), Erin Quinn (Saoirse-MOnica Jackson), Orla McCool (Louisa Harland), Clare Devlin (Nicola Coughlan)

Derry Girls: James Maguire (Dylan Llewellyn), Michelle Mallon (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell), Erin Quinn (Saoirse-MOnica Jackson), Orla McCool (Louisa Harland), Clare Devlin (Nicola Coughlan)

Derry Girls cast members Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Dylan Llewellyn, and creator Lisa McGee when they visited the 'Derry Girls' mural painted by UV Artists on the gable wall of Badger's Bar, Derry.

Derry Girls cast members Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Dylan Llewellyn, and creator Lisa McGee when they visited the 'Derry Girls' mural painted by UV Artists on the gable wall of Badger's Bar, Derry.

Lisa McGee with her husband Tobias

Lisa McGee with her husband Tobias

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Lisa McGee

There was a time not so long ago that marvelling at television personalities meant marvelling at the actors - behind-the-scenes was called that for a reason. But now that our interest in telly has grown, rather than replicate cinema's path of making directors famous, fans are looking instead to the people who really give TV shows their voice: the writers. The Jack Thornes, the Russell T Davieses and Stuart Carolans of the world. And the Lisa McGees.

As the creative force that gave us the comedic gift of Derry Girls, that record-breaking Channel 4 show that follows the exploits of four girls from Londonderry (and one "wee English fella") in the 1990s at the height of the Troubles, McGee has earned a special place in the public eye. You might have seen her on a red carpet, or heard her on the radio. For the Twitter-inclined, you might be one of her 68,000 followers. Even if not, her musings on the platform are reported on anyway.

"I'm glad television writers are taken seriously these days, but I still find it odd that people are interested in my opinion on things that I'm not an expert on," she says of her public profile. "I've been asked to go on the news and on political programmes and talk about things like the Good Friday Agreement, Covid, and the US election. It's nuts. But I tend to turn these things down. They should be speaking to experts, not sitcom writers.


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