Derry Girls Coming Out scene: ‘Clare is not just a cipher’ - Nicola Coughlan

Nicola Coughlan, who plays Clare Devlin (right) in the hit Channel 4 show Derry Girls.
Nicola Coughlan, who plays Clare Devlin (right) in the hit Channel 4 show Derry Girls.

One of the most unexpected turns of the first series of Derry Girls came late in the season when Clare Devlin comes out as lesbian to her shocked best friend Erin.

As reactions go, Erin’s initial reaction is not exactly what Clare had been expecting, and Galway actress Nicola Coughlan, who plays Clare, said there was some trepidation about how the scene would be received once it aired.

Speaking to the ‘Derry Journal’ while in Derry recently ahead of Season 2 airing next week, Nicola said: “It’s a funny thing in a comedy- Soairse [Jackson, who plays Erin Quinn] and I always said if we had to play the coming out scene in a drama it would have been very straightforward.

“We couldn’t play it completely straight in Derry Girls because it wouldn’t have made sense.
“And it couldn’t have been a very serious scene because you would have lost then the poignancy of the last scene, you had to build up to it.

“Mike [Lennox], our director and Lisa [McGee, writer], really guided us through it. I was very worried because it’s a comedy, but you don’t want to undermine people’s real experiences as well and you want to honour the character and her story.

“We filmed that on the first week of filming and we were completely terrified wondering ‘did we mess that up?’”

But the actors need not have been worried as viewers praised the actors and the Channel 4 show’s handling and depiction of what can be a pivotal moment for people in real life.

“I’m so glad for Lisa including that side of Clare,” Nicola said.

“I have had so many messages from young people and I think that Clare is a rounded character as well, she’s not just a cipher, she’s not an archetype, she’s a complete person,” Nicola said.

*Season 2 of Derry Girls begins on Channel 4 next Tuesday, March 5 at 9.15pm.