TV: Derry Girls, C4

News: Derry Girls Win, Lenny Henry Honoured At South Bank Sky Arts Awards

Writer Lisa McGee's Derry Girls are back for a second series and the laughs start pretty quickly. In an attempt to bridge the divide between the local Catholics and Protestants they are going on a Friends Across The Barricade trip/meet-up with boys from the local Protestant school. Now just settle back and watch the fun.

Of course there isn't going to be any fun at all if the Trunchbull-like Sister Michael (Siobhan McSweeney) has her way. But once it's night-time the girls head straight for the boys' dorm, which is not the kind of buddying up the adults had in mind for them

Elsewhere there is jollity to be had when the second sexy priest of the week (after Andrew Scott in Fleabag) turns up and gives the teenagers a lecture on togetherness after asking for differences between Protestants and Catholics ("Protestants hate Abba", "Catholics have more freckles"). And there's a bit of political nostalgia watching old clips of Sinn Fein politician Gerry Adams on the news with his words being spoken by an actor, which did actually happen, though not because his voice was too sexy, as is suggested here.

There is definitely something of an Irish Inbetweeners vibe to this opening episode of the second series but that's not a negative criticism at all. The exuberant performances from Nicola Coughlan as Clare, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell as Michelle, Louisa Harland as Orla and Saoirse-Monica Jackson as Erin plus Dylan Llewellyn as token bloke James ladding it up to fit in with the Protestant boys are uniformly excellent. You really feel that they have been friends for life.

The soundtrack features The Cranberries and The Undertones which is no bad thing either. This is a show that rarely hits a bum note. Just one question lingers as we watch them try to get their teenage kicks – why does Tommy Tiernan, who plays Erin's dad Gerry, look like he has grown a Hitler moustache? 

Derry Girls, Tuesdays from March 5, C4, 9.15pm.


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