Lisa McGee recently revealed that there was a major Derry Girls storyline that was almost cut, and it’s hard to imagine how the show would have turned out had it been.
The hit TV show Derry Girls was an undeniable success. And, while it finished this year, it remains a fan favourite and is likely to do so for many years to come.
The Channel 4 sitcom chronicled the lives of four girls from Derry and an English boy attending a convent school in Derry. The series in set in the 1990s during the Northern Irish conflict known as the Troubles.
The show regularly featured some of the most important moments in Northern Ireland’s history during the 1990s.
Memorable moments include the Omagh bombing, the visit of American president Bill Clinton and, of course, the ratifying of the Good Friday Agreement during a referendum.
To us, these momentus moments are integral to the show’s backdrop. However, writer Lisa McGee surprisingly revealed that in her initial outline, she planned not to mention the Troubles as part of the show at all.
The importance of including the Troubles conflict – a dangerous and challenging time
Speaking to radio host Ray D’Arcy recently, Lisa revealed the major Derry Girls storyline that was almost cut.
She said, “I wanted to write about my school days in the convent school and that experience.
“I wanted to leave the Troubles out because I’d sort of promised myself I’d never write about them, and I was so sick of them, having grown up with all that.
“I just wanted a different image of the place I came from.”
Taking the advice of a friend – including the major Derry Girls storyline that was almost cut
However, as it turned out, Lisa, on the advice of a friend, was convinced to include stories relating to the Troubles.
She said, “An executive I work very closely with – she often found the stories of me and my friends who were all from Derry funny – she said;
“‘I think you’re leaving out the interesting thing that’s really unique’, and I kind of huffed for a bit.
“But she was very experienced. So, I listened to her, and the minute I included it, it felt very natural and the right thing.
“It felt like this is really my experience. It all kind of clicked after that.”
The humour and good-heartedness of the Derry people – resilience through adversity
Finally, Lisa explained the importance of her final decision to include the Derry Girls storyline that was almost cut. She explained that she was not just touching on the Troubles as a conflict.
Rather, she was also highlighting the humour and heartfelt moments that the people of Derry exhibited through such trying times.
“I always felt that the stories that broke through about Northern Ireland were the more serious stories.
“You kind of understand why they tended to focus on the drama and more traumatic elements of the Northern Irish experience.
“But, as a result of that, I thought the humour and humanity got lost actually. I felt like no show showed that.
“I feel very lucky that our show managed to do that. Since writing Derry Girls and reflecting on it, I think a lot about that,” she stated.