Actor James Nesbitt has said he would love to appear in the second series of the ‘extraordinary’ ‘Derry Girls’.
The Ulster University Chancellor was speaking to an audience of students from schools across Derry at an event at St Mary’s College this week.
Addressing students at the Derry girls’ school, the Cold Feet and The Hobbit star said he had actually spoken with Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee about the possibility, and said Derry Girls has helped give the city a really cool identity.
Mr Nesbitt was asked if he fancied a cameo in the show which has been renewed for a second season following the huge success of the first season earlier this year, and responded: “I talked to Lisa about it, I would love to be in it.”
Earlier, in answer to a question from a pupil about what Derry can do to capitalise on the success of Derry Girls, Mr Nesbitt said: “I know Lisa well and ‘Derry Girls’ has had such an incredible impact.
“ It is subversive and it doing exactly what programmes should be doing for your age group.
“Even people like me, I’m supposed to not be offended by anything, but even I’ll watch it and go, ‘Oh my God!’, which is exactly what it should be. I love the truth of it. Lisa is such a truthful writer; there are no lies in it in a sense.
“Of course it’s a TV programme but they are not in any way trying to sanitise, or tone down the accent.
“This is a programme that hit England in the face and said, ‘We are the Derry Girls, this it, this is what happens over here, we are proud, we are prepared to tell this thing in our own way’, and I think it’s extraordinary.”
In answer to the question, he added: “So how to capitalise on it - it gives an incredibly cool, brilliant identity, not that you needed it, but wherever you go now from this point on, you’ll be going to universities and work and people will know Derry girls because of that programme.
“I just think it’s a wonderful trampoline and something to be very proud of. You can’t imagine the impact. You must have watched that and felt a real ownership of it.”
He said there was also a real sense of pride among the Diaspora living in Britain.
“It was just brilliant. What was so incredible and also very moving about what Lisa did, the Troubles are kind of a backdrop, and it’s set at the height of the Troubles in a city that was drenched in the Troubles, and for teenagers there at the time it magnificently pinpoints that there were other things to be getting on with; life was more important than the Troubles.”
Mr Nesbitt also told those gathered that the show was made by a company called Hattrick, and one of the executive producers was a guy called Mark Redhead, an Englishman, who was main producer on the film ‘Bloody Sunday’ in which James Nesbitt starred as Ivan Cooper.
He said Mr Redhead had “always wanted to come back to Derry and make a programme about the Derry he utterly fell in love with when we were making that film ‘Bloody Sunday’”.