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Derry Girls beating the coronavirus lockdown together

Saoirse-Monica shares plan to bust the blues

Derry Girls

Derry Girls star Saoirse-Monica Jackson has revealed her foolproof plan for surviving life in lockdown with her house-mates in London - 'me time' in the morning and party-time in the evening.

The actress, who plays Erin Quinn in the hit Channel 4 sitcom, shares her east London home with several friends, including fellow Derry Girls star Louisa Harland, who portrays Orla McCool.

The 26-year-old said the girls had devised a daily structure which saw them do their own thing in the earlier part of the day, before coming together in the evening for dinner and drinks.

"I think what we're actually quite good at doing is, in the morning we all go out for our walk a day - if any of us are even taking that, we'll go out for that separately," she said. "That gives a bit of space.

"Luckily we have a back garden and have been using that loads.

"During the day, we tend to do our thing until four o'clock, or three o'clock sometimes. Then we open the wine and start cooking and drinking together and sit out in the back garden.

"I think if you give yourself those couple of hours in the morning, it makes it a lot easier, as long as you make sure evening time is always a party.

"Nobody wants to ruin a party and be in a bad mood, so that's the recipe we have and it works."

Saoirse-Monica was talking to Northern Ireland ex-pats Mairead Campbell and Jordan Dunbar, who are presenting a new BBC Radio Ulster series from their own London kitchens. Lockdown Lowdown is a three-parter which airs on Saturdays at 12pm, in which the pair invite some famous faces with links to Northern Ireland to share their experiences of life in these challenging times.

The Derry-born actress also explained how the house-mates tackled the weekly 'big shop' at Sainsbury's.

In March, Saoirse-Monica and Louisa released a video clip of themselves, as their Derry Girls characters, self-isolating in a bunker while sectarian rioting took over Derry's streets.

The sketch, filmed in the airing cupboard in their London home, was set in Derry in 1996 but used parallels with the measures introduced to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Saoirse-Monica, who recently won the best female comedy performance at the Royal Television Society Awards, told the presenters that while she was coping well with lockdown, she was missing home.

"I could leave my back door at home and go and walk for an hour and not see another soul," she said. "But most of all, I really miss my family. I think it's because I know I can't go back home. I do feel grateful, though, to be isolated with such a lovely bunch."

When asked if there might be a Derry Women follow-on show, Saoirse-Monica said she would jump at the chance to see how Erin's life turns out.

"I'd love to see what these girls turn out to be as adults and follow them for ever," she said. "But we only get the scripts a week before. I would love every year to get to go back and play Erin Quinn and be with the rest of the girls."

Next Saturday's guests on Lockdown Lowdown will include Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody.

Belfast Telegraph