TV Review: Derry Girls, Episode 2, C4

The second episode of this 1980s-set coming-of-age Irish sitcom written by Lisa McGee proves that the brilliance of the first episode of Derry Girls was not a fluke. Which is lucky for Channel 4 as they have just announced that they have already commissioned a second series.

This week's episode revolved around the girls trying to raise money for a school trip to Paris. Sour-faced Sister Michael (Siobhan McSweeney), however, cannot go because, as she explains during assembly after banning anyone from singing The Troggs' Love Is All Around, "Sadly I am unable to come on this one as I despise the French."

When the gang discovers that they don't have a trust fund to pay for the trip they have to find some odd jobs to raise the cash. But things go from bad to worse when they have to clean the local chippy. Mayonnaise, they discover – well, token bloke James (Dylan Llewellyn) discovers – is not the best thing to buff up windows with.

The spirit of Father Ted hangs over this episode, but in a good way. Erin's father is played by Tommy Tiernan, who was in the classic Craggy Island clerical comedy, and deadpan veteran Kevin McAleer (one of Stewart Lee's favourite stand-ups) pitches up here as boring Uncle Colm, whose desperately dull, tedious anecdote about being tied up by terrorists does have a whiff of Ted's lugubrious Father Stone about it.

But if you are going to echo old sitcoms why not echo the best? And Derry Girls definitely has enough personality of its own to rise above comparisons, with the young cast performing with an incredible amount of gusto and exuberance. Saoirse Monica Jackson is fabulous as Erin, although my favourite is stroppy Michelle, a dead ringer for a young Rhona Cameron, played by Jamie-Lee O’Donnell. If O’Donnell doesn't become a big star I'm a Frenchman.

Derry Girls, Thursdays, 10pm, C4. 



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