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exclusive Lisa McGee: I want to make a Derry Girls spin-off… writer reveals idea for new show on Ma Mary and Aunt Sarah solving crime

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Lisa McGee

Lisa McGee

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From left, Nicola Coughlan, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland and Dylan Llewellyn

From left, Nicola Coughlan, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland and Dylan Llewellyn

Tara Lynne O'Neill and Kathy Kiera Clarke as Ma Mary and Aunt Sarah

Tara Lynne O'Neill and Kathy Kiera Clarke as Ma Mary and Aunt Sarah

Saoirse-Monica Jackson

Saoirse-Monica Jackson

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Jamie-Lee O'Donnell

Jamie-Lee O'Donnell

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Sunday Life reporter John Toner with Saoirse-Monica Jackson

Sunday Life reporter John Toner with Saoirse-Monica Jackson

Sunday Life reporter John Toner with Jamie-Lee O'Donnell

Sunday Life reporter John Toner with Jamie-Lee O'Donnell

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Lisa McGee

Smash-hit TV series Derry Girls could live on through a museum in the city and several spin-off shows, according to creator Lisa McGee.

The first two episodes of the eagerly awaited third and final season of the Channel 4 comedy premiered at a star-studded advance screening in Derry on Thursday.

Writer Lisa was joined at the glitzy event in the Omniplex Cinema by show stars Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Ian McElhinney.

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From left, Nicola Coughlan, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland and Dylan Llewellyn

From left, Nicola Coughlan, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland and Dylan Llewellyn

From left, Nicola Coughlan, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland and Dylan Llewellyn

Speaking to Sunday Life on the red carpet, Lisa said she would love a permanent exhibition or museum dedicated to the show and plans on making a spin-off involving Aunt Sarah and Ma Mary as private detectives.

She added: “What I want to do is a spin-off with Ma Mary and Aunt Sarah solving crime and setting up a detective agency in Derry. Wouldn’t that be incredible?

“They’re so amazing in this series as the two sisters and I just thought it would be great to know what they get up to in secret, so I have this theory that they run about the town running this detective agency.

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Tara Lynne O'Neill and Kathy Kiera Clarke as Ma Mary and Aunt Sarah

Tara Lynne O'Neill and Kathy Kiera Clarke as Ma Mary and Aunt Sarah

Tara Lynne O'Neill and Kathy Kiera Clarke as Ma Mary and Aunt Sarah

“Maybe the girls could have cameos too — they could be their spies about the city.”

Asked about the potential for a museum or a Derry Girls exhibition similar to the existing installations for Game of Thrones, she said: “That would be gorgeous. I would love that, yeah. Something that could be there for ever would be amazing.

“I didn’t actually get anything from the set as a souvenir — I got nothing. We never had time and were too busy, although Tara Lynne (O’Neill) gave me something from this season, but I can’t say what it is. It was given to her and she felt sorry for me, so she gave it to me.”

Lisa was coy when asked about a potential Derry Girls movie, but did confirm she wanted to work with show director Michael Lennox again in the future.

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Saoirse-Monica Jackson

Saoirse-Monica Jackson

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Saoirse-Monica Jackson

She also admitted to being nervous about the reception the final series of Derry Girls, which starts on Tuesday night, will receive.

“Both Michael and I are actually feeling nervous but happy and excited. We’re very nervous, but once it’s over and the first episodes go out, I’ll feel a bit better.

“I just want to see what the reaction is like because you can never tell how it’s going to go down.

“Comedy doesn’t exist without an audience, it just doesn’t exist. We could have made something absolutely amazing, but people might not buy into it. You just don’t know, but we will see.

“A movie isn’t on my radar at the moment, not right now. You never know, but I have other commitments, as does Michael.

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Jamie-Lee O'Donnell

Jamie-Lee O'Donnell

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Jamie-Lee O'Donnell

“I think what is definite is that we will hopefully work together again.”

Lisa also said the show had helped changed perceptions of her home city in the wider world.

She explained: “I think what we have done is show a different side of Derry that people maybe didn’t know about before.

“We’re funny and generous. I just think that it’s an incredible place and it only really ever had this one very tragic side of it shown before.”

Friends, family, cast, crew and press all crammed into the Omniplex Cinema on Thursday to get a sneak peak at the first two episodes of the third series.

Lisa’s fears about the show’s reception proved misplaced as both episodes brought the house down with laughter and cheering.

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Sunday Life reporter John Toner with Saoirse-Monica Jackson

Sunday Life reporter John Toner with Saoirse-Monica Jackson

Sunday Life reporter John Toner with Saoirse-Monica Jackson

The show’s creator was not the only one talking about potential new projects, with Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, who plays feisty Michelle Mallon, saying that because of the quality of the characters, there could be a “million” spin-offs.

Jamie-Lee (30) said “I think that Lisa has developed these characters to the point where you could do a million spin-offs, you could do a million prequels.

“I think that Michelle would work in a bookies and then end up owning a chain of them, like an absolute boss.

“She would work to the max. She would still be friends with the girls — they’re besties and they’ll be friends for life.

“There will be more shenanigans. These sorts of people don’t go through life being normal with no madness.”

Derry Girls has super-charged the careers of the main cast, with Nicola Coughlan (35) gaining worldwide fame for her role in the mega-hit Netflix costume drama Bridgerton.

Saoirse-Monica Jackson, meanwhile, has been working on a new animation project involving Beatles legend Paul McCartney.

While she is keeping tight-lipped about the as-yet-unnamed project, she told the BBC: “I’m really delighted about that — I’m really enjoying it. We’re at the early stages of it.

“It’s an amazing children’s novel that’s been adapted into a film.

“It looks beautiful and the experience so far has been amazing, so it’s brilliant”

Saoirse-Monica (28) also revealed her delight at her role in the upcoming DC Films movie The Flash.

She said: “It’s amazing to be part of that DC universe. It’s really, really exciting.

- The first episode of Derry Girls season three is on Channel 4 this Tuesday at 9.15pm


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