A new TV comedy – set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles – has gone down a storm with viewers whilst causing minimal controversy.
The first episode of Channel 4’s ‘Derry Girls’ was broadcast on Thursday evening to rave reviews.
Written by Lisa McGee about the city she grew up in and directed by Oscar-nominated Michael Lennox, who is from Glengormley, the first episode was packed with razor sharp wit and some star turns from its young cast.
The comedy, which also stars comedian Tommy Tiernan and Belfast actor Ian McElhinney, is set in Londonderry in the early 1990s against a backdrop of the Troubles.
‘Derry Girls’ is centred around four teenagers from the city who are pupils at a convent school.
In the first episode reference was made to Bobby Sands as one of the schoolgirls was taking part in a sponsored fast for Africa while another pupil was claimed to have escaped expulsion because she was in the IRA.
On Twitter the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Political commentator Alan Meban wrote: “A dodgy accent or two, but certainly captures the mannerisms, attitudes & politics of this place at that time, and is gloriously un-dumbed down for the GB audience.”
BBC weatherman Barra Best declared himself a fan while SDLP leader Colum Eastwood wrote: “That was class!”
Sky News correspondent David Blevins played devil’s advocate by tweeting: “Journalism in Norn Irn #1: How long before there’s a social media post or a press release in my inbox asking why the programme isn’t called Londonderry Girls?”
Fan of the show Michael McElroy said: “Mark my words, not only will this get a second series, it’ll provide a much needed tourism boost for the city. Best Irish based comedy since Moone Boy.”
UUP MLA Doug Beattie was quick to dismiss a Twitter user who posted: “Only saw the trailer but do u not think this may be a Channel 4 attempt to sanitise PIRA as harmless fun to a youthful GB audience and hence draw the sting from Corbyn’s association with them?”
“No – it was just a bit of fun,” replied Mr Beattie.