Derry writer’s new show premieres on Channel 4 tonight

L-r:  Bronagh (Sinead Keenan), Connor (Kerr Logan), Packy (Peter Campion) and Niamh (Kat Reagan)
L-r: Bronagh (Sinead Keenan), Connor (Kerr Logan), Packy (Peter Campion) and Niamh (Kat Reagan)

Channel 4 are set to launch their latest sit-com tonight - and it all comes from the pen of Prehen born and raised writer Lisa McGee.

London Irish - which features Father Ted funny-man Ardal O’Hanlon along with a cast of relative new-comers follows four young people from Ireland as they navigate their way through London life.

As a Derry girl who upped sticks and moved to London to follow her career, one could ask if there is more than a little Lisa among her characters.

“Is the show autobiographical? Well I’m Northern Irish and I moved to London in my twenties. I also have a very tight group of Northern Irish friends who live close by me and we too operate like a sort of dysfunctional family.

“Lots of elements of the show have been inspired by real life experiences and conversations - although it’s hugely exaggerated.”

And would any of her friends be watching out for themselves among her characters? “Each character is a combination of people I know. No one character is really based on anybody.

“They’re all a mixture, different elements of different friends and there’s probably a tiny bit of me in each of them. Or at least a tiny bit of me that understands each of them.

“Ultimately, it’s a show about young people, who value having the craic above everything else.

“The characters are children of the peace process, living in one of greatest cities in the world and yeah, they’re screwed up, they drink too much, they swear too much... but I really hope people watch the show and think: ‘I don’t half want a night out with that lot’ and love watching these four characters as much as I love writing them.”

Lisa has created a cast of characters sure to make a big impression. They are all brought together by the shared experience of feeling like small fish in a big pond.

“They don’t really feel like they fit in at home anymore, but at the same time they still feel like outsiders in London.

“They have created their own little dysfunctional family unit and their sense of what’s normal and acceptable doesn’t really match up with the world around them... which often leads to, shall we say, a fair bit of trouble.”

The show focuses around the four characters of Conor, Bronagh, Niamh and Packy.

“Conor is hugely unpredictable. He’s a bit like a creature from another world. Unbelievable things tend to happen to him and he just sort of goes with it. He never questions anything, never judges anyone, he just floats through life and always lands on his feet.

“Bronagh is Conor’s older sister. She’s just the opposite of him - she’s very cynical, dark and fierce. She has a tricky relationship with her brother who she views as an annoying useless eejit, and the fact that he’s her parents obvious favourite never fails to wind her up.

“Niamh is ambitious despite not really having a talent for anything. Full of self-confidence she is man mad. She comes across as incredibly dizzy but has the capacity to be shockingly ruthless if she doesn’t get what she wants.

“Packy is a nice enough fella. The nearest thing the group has to a parental figure. He’s the only one who seems to know that their behaviour isn’t normal,” Lisa said.

London Irish starts tonight on Channel 4 at 10pm.