Filming The Derry Girls Finale Was 'The Most Difficult Thing' Nicola Coughlan Ever Had To Do
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Nicola Coughlan has confessed that filming the series finale for Derry Girls was the "most difficult thing [she's] ever had to do on camera."
The third and finale season of the beloved Channel 4 series will air from 12th April and, despite a "very emotional" filming process, the cast are ready to bid their characters farewell.
Although they couldn't give away too much of what's to come for Derry Girls, the cast of the series promised Tyla that fans will not be disappointed.
Series writer Lisa McGee explained that each episode of the final season will follow a different genre, including Goodfellas-style gangster, Halloween horror, and a 70s throwback. The series will bring the Derry Girls all the way up to the events of the famous Good Friday Agreement, which will see the girls do a lot of growing up.
"They’ve never had to really think about politics before" Lisa said. "But the girls do have to start taking responsibility for themselves."
Nicola Coughlan, who plays the high-strung Clare Devlin, told Tyla: “I think it’s a very satisfying ending to the story. Lisa’s always said she wanted to bring it up to the Good Friday Agreement and that’s where it ends and they’re going to grow up beyond that. It’s just to capture that final year of their innocence and their friendship together."
Hinting at what else fans can expect from the final season, Nicola added: " We’ve got some amazing people in this season. Some of the guest stars we have are unreal. It's the same show but, I think, elevated for one last hurrah.”
Dylan Llewellyn, who plays James (aka the wee English fella) added: “Also I feel like the characters get quite good closure. I feel like people will be very satisfied”.
Looking back on the last day of filming, Nicola had her cast mates nodding along when she told Tyla: "That was the most difficult thing I’ve ever, ever had to do on camera.”
Series star Saoirse-Monica Jackson, who played Erin Quinn, recalled: "Everybody was starting to cry throughout the day and I was like, ‘Does it look really bad that I’m not crying?’ and I tried to bust a tear out but I always get like that when things are a bit overwhelming. But seeing Tommy Tiernan being emotional and our crew started me going, then Dylan came up to me and said, ‘Jesus, what a journey we’ve been on’, and then I broke."
Jaime Lee-O'Donnell, who has gone on to star in Channel 4's dark comedy drama Screw after playing tough cookie Michelle Mallon on Derry Girls, said: "This will be one of the most important jobs I've ever done and I think it's always going to stay at that.
"It's the job that launched my career. It’s the city I'm from and it's my community and my family and friends and loved ones, and it's something that I’ll always be incredibly proud of."
Noting that the cast and crew had to film the final season back in December 2021, in the height of the third covid-19 wave, Louisa Harland - aka the quirky Orla McCool - added: “I’m just so grateful that we got to do it in the end.”
Asked where they thought their characters might end up in ten years' time, Nicola said: "I feel like Clare probably goes to Queen’s University, meets a girlfriend, falls completely in love. The girlfriend writes poetry and smokes, and drinks red wine. Clare still dresses like a giant toddler. "
Dylan answered: "The only thing I can come up with for James is like an astronaut, or he could be a young Steven Spielberg. Maybe win a few awards, a few Oscars."
Saoirse admitted that she's "always wanted to meet Erin in her 20s." She continued: "I think she’d have quite an exciting life which, as always, she’ll find hard to manage, but she’ll be lucky enough to still have these amazing people around her. They’ll definitely all still be."
Jamie Lee then added: "Do you know what, I think Lisa has developed these characters to the point where you could do a million spin offs, you could do a million prequels."
But would the cast ever come back to play their characters again for a film, or even a reunion?
"No", Louisa tells Tyla.
"I love Orla, I really do. And I’ve enjoyed every second of playing her but I think that’s it now. I think I’ve played her for the last time."
"I agree," Nicola tagged on: "I just don’t want to tarnish it. Like I said, I think Derry Girls captures a very specific time of life and I don’t want to see them in their 20s personally. There’s something nice about knowing it’s the last one and putting everything into it."
Derry Girls returns for its third and final season on Tuesday, 12th April at 9.15pm on Channel 4.