Derry Girls in a Brexit World

With the return of Derry Girls last week, I couldn’t help but think of how important a show like this is in today’s world. I believe that Derry Girls has successfully given Northern Irish people an identity of their own outside of the UK, something they need now more than ever. As we all know, people in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU on June 23, 2016 but their vote didn’t count. The majority of the UK voted to leave on that same fateful day meaning that Northern Ireland had to follow suit. It is fair to say that is a day which will never be forgotten in European history.

The humor in Derry Girls season one was at its most poignant in the final episode when the girls and the ‘wee English fella’ were dancing on stage like nobody was watching. At the very same time as this a news bulletin was announced telling of a fatal bomb incident that had occurred in Derry City. Other than this awful bomb announcement where a number of people were killed, most of the show focused on the trials and tribulations of the teenage girls. In saying that, who could forget about the time they attempted to cross the border unaware that they had an unwanted guest hiding in their boot?

The show so far has been successful in portraying the regular people who lived in Northern Ireland during the troubles rather than the war and the fighting itself. In history, we learn of all the incredible leaders who were fundamental in putting an end to the troubles; Bernadette Devlin, John Hume et al, but little is ever heard of the regular people who lived there at the time.

This is where Derry Girls shines. The show focuses more on the individuals, rather than the fact that they so happened to live in Derry during the Troubles. It tells the tale of four teenage girls as they go through the formative years in their lives with their own boy problems, school problems and all the other things that typically ensue in the life of a teenager.

The show’s writer, Lisa McGee could’ve made the main theme of the show the Troubles and the violence that was part and parcel of that period. Instead, she dared to make a comedy with four female protagonists, a daring enough task in itself regardless of the historical background. We all have heard the old wives tale that women aren’t funny but this is definitely not the case for Derry Girls. I look forward to the rest of the series coming out soon, as I’m sure many others are too.


Photo credit: Channel 4