How the Stars of Derry Girls Feel About Saying Goodbye to the Netflix Series

The third and final season of Derry Girls has finally hit Netflix. Hear how stars Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell and Dylan Llewellyn feel about saying goodbye to the comedy series.

By Paige Strout Oct 07, 2022 4:00 PMTags
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It's time for one last ride with the Derry Girls.

The third and final season of the hit comedy series already premiered in the U.K. earlier this year. But now, international fans will finally get to see how the Derry Girls' story comes to a close with the new season hitting Netflix on Oct. 7.

Set during the last leg of The Troubles between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the series follows a group of friends—Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), Orla (Louisa Harland), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell), Clare (Nicola Coughlan) and the "wee English fella" James (Dylan Llewellyn)—as they navigate the ups and downs of teen life in the '90s.

Derry Girls became a hit following its premiere in 2018 and again upon its worldwide streaming debut, so much so that the series was honored in Derry with a massive mural of the main quintet. 

Saying goodbye once more to the series is a bittersweet experience for stars Saoirse-Monica, Jamie-Lee and Dylan, as they dished all about season three in an exclusive interview with E! News.

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Just as their characters are preparing for their futures beyond high school in the new season, the cast teased what's in store for theirs, as well as shared their favorite on-set memories, fan reactions and what being a Derry Girl means to them.

As Dylan said, "Once a Derry Girl, always a Derry Girl."

Read on for E! News' exclusive interview with the cast of Derry Girls.

E! News: When did you first realize that Derry Girls became such a huge hit?

Jamie-Lee O'Donnell: I think after the first episode came out of season one. The instant reaction, especially on social media, was huge. And so, I think even from then on, it's sort of really built and built so much more.

Saoirse-Monica Jackson: I had no real understanding of it being a big hit. I thought, "Is this just what it's like when you're a lead in a TV show, or are they all like this?" So, it took a while for me to realize that it was quite a special thing.

Dylan Llewellyn: I knew it was something special from the writing. Picking up the script for the audition, it was genuinely making me laugh, and there's not many scripts that were just genuinely making me laugh. And that's just a real credit to Lisa McGee, the writer.


E!: What was it like exploring The Troubles through a lighthearted and comedic lens?

JL: Whenever people were going through this, there wasn't constant doom and gloom. Anybody growing up into sort of a civil war, you don't have an option but to get on with your life and try and make the best of your situation and look to your family and love to your community and lean on each other for support and inspiration. And I think the show's captured that really well.

SM: I think it's educated me more and gives me a much bigger understanding and appreciation of everything that my family went through.

E!: For international fans, what can you tease about what's to come?

JL: I think you'll see them grow up slightly. I think there's some really, sort of personality-changing moments within the show, that again, trigger life for people in Derry. I think Lisa's written it so well that it's gonna be such a beautiful transition from these mad teenagers to young women.

SM: We have a talent show that they absolutely smash and we have a couple of broken hearts along the way, and they get their GCSE results. So, they're sort of figuring out what they're gonna do, the next step after they leave school, where they want to go and what kind of becomes of them.

DL: A lot of stuff goes down. I feel like they've gone really big with season three.

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E!: What was it like saying goodbye to Derry Girls?

JL: I think I'll just miss just doing a show that has such a big impact on my own personal community and showing everybody in such a positive light. It's been such an honor to do the show, so I'll definitely miss that.

SM: I think I'll miss just going into that living room in the Quinn house. I think you're fully there when you go into the studio and it has everything that makes it, quintessentially, like a house from Derry. And even though it's a studio, it feels so warm and it feels so cozy and it feels so incredibly real.

DL: It's such an end of an era, really, for me. And to say goodbye to the character James and to the show is, it's like a mix of emotions. Really, it's so sad but also so happy to have him have a great ending and have the show have a great ending.

E!: Do you have a favorite memory from set?

JL: Having to carry the dead sheep. We were kind of standing there, holding it, waiting for the camera to turn over and we were all really wet and cold, and it smelled. We were like, "This is so weird," like, "This is our job. We're just standing in the middle of Belfast holding a dead sheep for like 10 hours."

SM: This year, we shot the Halloween sequence. Halloween in Derry is absolutely massive. It's one of the biggest Halloween celebrations in the world and we get loads of tourists and stuff coming over and we really make a big deal out of it. And to have the people of Derry all be extras in our Halloween sequence and people come out to just watch us film, it's so amazing.

DL: Doing the dance routines have always been awesome and great fun, like the Spice Girls, "Rock the Boat," "Saturday Night." Those were always fun and stuck out for me, and doing rehearsals with the girls and learning the dance routines was always good fun.


E!: What does your next chapter after Derry Girls look like?

JL: I'm going on to shoot the second season of a show I've done over here, a Channel Four show called Screw. So, we're gonna be doing that. I just had a documentary come out and I've got a film coming out next year at some point—a horror movie with Warner Brothers over here—some more little projects I can't talk about.

SM: I have The Flash coming out next year and I've just filmed a movie for Amazon with Camila Mendes playing the lead, and I had such a fun time on it. And I think I'm just venturing into different avenues now. I'm doing a bit of writing, and I've been enjoying that. I've got another TV show that I'm about to start that I can't name at the moment.

DL: I've got a few projects I'm working on. I just finished a season called Big Boys, which is another Channel 4 comedy. And it is a coming-of-age story and is a LGBTQ-led show, and it's really funny.

Also, I am working on a Death in Paradise spinoff called Beyond Paradise. So, it's like a BBC drama mystery where I'm playing a policeman. So yeah, it's a bit different to James, I guess, James from Derry Girls.

For Derry Girls' final chapter, head to Netflix now.

(This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.)

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