The Derry woman commissioned by Channel Four to write a new sitcom based on the city during the Troubles said she wants it be celebrate the “joyful” Derry she knew as a girl.
Lisa McGee was speaking as it was announced last night that the series has now been commissioned.
Set in Derry in the run-up to the ceasefire, Derry Girls has been described as a “warm, funny and honest look at the lives of ordinary people living under the spectre of the Troubles, all seen through the eyes of a local teenager”.
Lisa McGee, who has previously scripted Indian Summers, London Irish and Being Human, has mined her own experiences to create a candid, one-of-a kind comedy about what it’s like to be a teenage girl in Derry living amongst conflict.
She said: “Anything set during the Troubles tends to be a bit grim and bleak, but that just wasn’t my experience of Derry as a child and a teenager, it was a joyful place. I’d like to celebrate that.
“It was also hugely matriarchal, so I was keen we have a large and varied cast of female characters.
“There were other things going on in Northern Ireland at that time, there were other stories, I’m excited to have the opportunity to tell some of them.”
The sitcom is set in 1994, and armed police in armoured Land Rovers, British Army check points and peace walls are still an everyday reality for 16-year old Erin and her friends.
But, despite all that, Erin has other things to worry about, love troubles, family issues and school problems.
Derry Girls was commissioned for Channel 4 by Nerys Evans, Deputy Head of Comedy, who said: “Derry Girls may have a unique setting but it’s a really warm family sitcom, seen through the eyes of teenager Erin. Lisa’s writing is truthful, brave and laugh-out loud funny.”
The series is executive produced by Caroline Leddy (Friday Night Dinner, London Irish, The Inbetweeners) and Liz Lewin (Crashing, London Irish, My Mad Fat Diary).
It was commissioned by Nerys Evans, Deputy Head of Comedy and Phil Clarke, Acting Head of Drama & Head of Comedy.