The cast and crew of ‘Derry Girls’ have expressed their gratitude and delight after the phonemnal reception the opening episode of the new Channel 4 series has received.
Channel 4 bosses, meanwhile, have also expressed their delight at the “fantastic” first night viewing figures, with over 1.6m people tuning in across Britain and Ireland.
Thousands upon thousands of people have taken to Facebook, Twitter and other social media since the show aired last Thursday to express their seal of approval.
And the show inspired a wave of nostalgia as well as a new trend of people who grew up in the 90s reaching for old photo albums and posting pictures of their friends and themselves from their schooldays.
In fact, so successful was the launch that the hashtag #DerryGirls was trending on Twitter at number one across the UK and Ireland and, staggeringly, at number four worldwide in the hours after it aired on Thursday.
Actress, Saoirse Jackson, who plays central character Erin Quinn, took to Twitter to express her gratitude to all those who had voiced praise for the show.
The local actress wrote: “What an amazing response, so proud of this show and so proud of these gals.
“Thanks for being such a bunch of legends, roll on next Thursday.”
Galway actress Nicola Coughlan, who plays highly-strung supergrass and global justice warrior Clare, also thanked the legion of new Derry Girls fans, writing: “I am overwhelmed gals, thank you so much for your reception xxx.”
Many people have commented on the outstanding performance of Derry actress, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, in the guise of cheeky, tour-de-force Michelle Mallon.
One fan on Twitter even posted a picture of the character and wrote, ‘2018 already has a hero,’ which was retweeted hundreds of times.
The local actress took to Twitter herself, stating: “So proud of #DerryGirls tonight. hope everyone enjoyed the show xx”
Praise was also heaped on Derry writer and creator of the show, Lisa McGee, for the sharp wit and killer one liners within her script, alongside the attention to detail that evoked every day life in Derry in the 90s so vividly, from the wooden spoon to the Nun’s signed photo of Daniel O’Donnell, the Avon catalogue to the bomb alert interrupting sunbed sessions.
The soundtrack also brought memories flooding back for many, with the Cranberries’ ‘Dreams’ and Cypress Hill’s ‘Insane’ (In the Membrane) among the CDs and cassettes dusted down for the occasion.
Reacting on Twitter, one fan of the show wrote: “I’m actually roaring at #DerryGirls hahahahahahaha”
Another wrote: “#DerryGirls what a brilliant first episode, already hooked and wishing for series 2!!!!”
A third posted: “The wooden spoon threat came out in the first episode of #DerryGirls. Can’t tell you how many times we were threatened with that bad boy as a kid. Must be a standard NI mum thing. #woodenspoon.”
Among those Tweeting their praise for the show were Derry footballer James McClean and weatherman Barra Best, who Tweeted: “Gotta say, I’m loving ‘Derry Girls’ on @Channel4. Local writer @LisaMMcGee has done a great job....so she has! #DerryGirls.”
Nadine Coyle, meanwhile, was also Tweeting about the show, following on from Derry Girls actress Nicola Coughlan’s recent revelation that she based her Derry accent on Nadine.
Speaking following a special preview of Derry Girls at Brunswick Moviebowl in Pennyburn before the show aired, Nicola said: “My main source of help was Nadine Coyle. When I got the audition the only person I knew from Derry was Nadine.”
Nicola said the Derry natives among the cast were also a big help. “The girls were amazing. Every night we’d go back to the apartment and I’d be like, ‘I don’t know how to say this word’ and they were brilliant.”
Dubliner Louisa Harland, who plays Erin’s day dreaming cousin Orla, admitted that she found the Derry accent “actually very hard to imitate.”
Speaking at Brunsiwck Moviebowl recently, Lisa McGee said the show sprang out from a conversation she had had three years ago.
She also said she felt privileged to be able to present Derry in a different light.
“I was a teenager at the tail end of the ‘Troubles’ and when we started talking about it, about people here in that period, we realised what an extraordinary period it was.
“We wanted to show a side that wasn’t on television, the warmth and humour.
“People had to get on with their lives; go to work and raise their kids and also teenagers are the centre of their universe: I was, my friends were, and all we cared about was what we had going on. There’s that universal thing, teenagers everywhere are the same.
“It’s one of those things you only realise when you grow up and have a bit of distance - it’s quite weird that period in N.n Ireland and it was quite weird to go to a convent school.
“They are both rich worlds with lots of things that I don’t think would be a typical teenager’s experience, but when it’s happening it was just normal to us, but when you look at it from the outside it’s a bit weird. It is based on my friends from school and I think we were so innocent looking back on it.”
Lisa added: “I feel so proud to be from Derry and I can’t believe I have been allowed to celebrate that by writing a show for Channel 4. Derry, I really hope that you feel like we have done you proud.”
And given the massive response to the show since it aired, it’s fair to say Lisa and everyone involved in Derry Girls has done just that.