When is Derry Girls season 3’s release date? When the Channel 4 show will return

Everything you need to know about the return of the Northern Irish comedy Derry Girls.

Derry Girls cast, l-r:  Dylan (James Maguire), Erin (Saoirse Monica-Jackson), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell),  Clare (Nicola Coughlan). Above:  Orla McCool (Louisa Clare Harland)

Northern Irish comedy Derry Girls has been renewed for a third season, with the girls and the ‘wee English fella’ returning to our screens.

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However, we may have to wait a little longer until the hilarious BAFTA-nominated series returns – like many TV shows all over the world, filming on the darkly funny series has been suspended and delayed due to COVID-19.

Cast member Tommy Tiernan (who plays Erin’s long-suffering dad Gerry) has also suggested that the third season could potentially be the show’s “last” ever.

However, writer Lisa McGee, who based Derry Girls on her own childhood, has told fans not to panic, as she’s still “plotting” for potential further instalments – as well as a Derry Girls film

In the meantime, we still have a full new season to look forward to – and potentially a long-anticipated romance between Erin and James.

You can catch up on the last two seasons in the meantime, and read on below for everything you need to know about the third season of Derry Girls.

When is Derry Girls season 3 on TV? 

Channel 4 renewed Derry Girls for a third series back in April, with filming set to start in June 2020.

However, production was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to series star Nicola Coughlan (who plays Clare).

“We were meant to start filming around now,” she said on Angela Scanlon’s Thanks A Million podcast (via Metro). “It was mad because when this all started, I think your brain makes assumptions to make you feel better, like ‘it’ll just be a month, it’ll be fine’.”

“But filming has been put on hold for now which sucks, and we’re all really excited to go back and start again and see the scripts because we actually haven’t,” she added.

So good news – a third season is on the way, but bad news – we’re unlikely to see it any time soon.

To watch seasons one and two, you’ll need to go onto Channel 4’s All4, following Netflix’s announcement on 14th July 2020 that the arrival of season two on their platform had been delayed.

Will season 3 be the last of Derry Girls?

While Channel 4 has not made an official announcement regarding the future of Derry Girls, Tommy Tiernan, who plays Erin’s dad Gerry, let slip in March 2020 that he thinks season three is the show’s last.

Speaking on Jason Manford’s Absolute Radio show, as reported by Metro, he said: “As far as I know this is the very last series.”

However, Derry Girls’ writer Lisa McGee quickly took to Twitter to set the record straight, writing that she was in the thick of penning series three and didn’t know what the future held but “please don’t worry”.

The Channel 4 sitcom’s creator has also since revealed that she’s been contemplating a spin-off Derry Girls film.

Speaking on Ray D’Arcy’s RTÉ Radio 1 show on 20th July 2020 (via Belfast Telegraph), she said that she’s beginning to think of ideas for a Derry Girls movie.

“For a while I didn’t know if it would work but now an idea is starting to vaguely form in my head, so after series three I’ll think about that a bit more,” she said. “I’d like to do it and I think the cast would too so that would be the long-term plan.

“We should have been shooting it now but we obviously had to push back,” McGee added of season three. “We are waiting until it’s safe as there’s a lot of stuff to work out.”

What is Derry Girls about? What happened in seasons 1 and 2?

The coming-of-age sitcom revolves around four teenage girls from Derry and one wee English fella in 1990s Northern Ireland during The Troubles.

Written by Being Human screenwriter Lisa McGee and based on her own experiences as a teenager, the show follows 16-year-old Erin and her eccentric friends and family who live in a world of armed police, British Army check points and ‘peace’ walls.

The gang is constantly getting up to mischief, much to the dismay of Erin’s parents and the formidable Sister Michael.

Sister Michael - Siobhan McSweeney (Channel 4, SD)
Siobhan McSweeney as Sister Michael (C4)

Among the big moments of series one were English kid James joining the gang and Clare’s coming out storyline. Refresh your memory on the action-packed and rather poignant series finale with our Derry Girls season 1, episode 6 recap.

The second series, meanwhile, saw a potential romance begin to blossom between Erin and James, with the latter almost leaving Derry for good, and ended on a positive note with a rousing speech from Bill Clinton taken from his real-life 1995 visit to the city. Read our interview with Lisa McGee season finale.)

Who’s in the cast of Derry Girls season 3?

The main Derry Girls cast are all expected to reprise their roles for a third season, including – deep breath – Saoirse-Monica Jackson as Erin Quinn, Louisa Harland as Orla McCool, Nicola Coughlan as Clare Devlin, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell as Michelle Mallon, Dylan Llewellyn as James Maguire, Tara Lynne O’Neill as Ma/Mary, Kathy Kiera Clarke as Aunt Sarah, Siobhan McSweeney as Sister Michael, Tommy Tiernan as Da/Gerry, Ian McElhinney as Granda Joe, Kevin McAleer as Uncle Colm and Leah O’Rourke as Jenny Joyce.

l-r: Dylan (James Maguire), Erin (Saoirse Monica-Jackson), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell), Clare (Nicola Coughlan).Above: Orla McCool (Louisa Clare Harland)
Dylan Llewellyn as James, Louisa Harland as Orla, Saoirse Monica-Jackson as Erin, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell as Michelle and Nicola Coughlan as Clare (C4)

Ardal O’Hanlon made an appearance as Mary’s cousin Eamonn in season two, but it is not yet known if he’ll play a part in season three. Writer McGee told RadioTimes.com she would like to add Dara O Briain, another Irish comedy legend, to the cast for season 3.

What’s going to happen in Derry Girls season 3?

McGee told RadioTimes.com that the new episodes will be set in a more hopeful period for the gang, as their hometown marches towards peace and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 (where the writer suggested she would like to wrap things up).

In April 2019, she said: “I’m just thinking about storylines at the minute. I have a political back story I want to do. It’s a bit scary but I’ll have to start writing things down soon.

“We’ll continue from ’95 so obviously it was very different for us then, for one thing all these splinter organisations came out of nowhere, which was quite strange, and then people were just getting used to peace time.

“They had more to lose, I think, and we didn’t want it to go wrong because it was something we all really wanted. It was something everyone was afraid to dream of and then it was happening, so it’s scarier in a way, the idea of losing that.”

l-r: James Maguire (Dylan Llewellyn), Erin Quinn (Saoirse Monica Jackson)
Dylan Llewellyn as James and Saoirse-Monica Jackson as Erin (C4)

McGee added that in series three one of the Derry Girls crew might leave for “a rival gang” and the story would explore “how the others try to get them back and deal with that”.

On who the Judas of the group would be, McGee teased that it might be the wee English fella James, which could be interesting given his budding romance with Erin.

Will Erin and James get together in season 3 of Derry Girls?

Despite Erin’s complicity in the Derry Girls’ endless mocking of James, there have been hints throughout seasons one and two that she has a bit of a crush on the English boy. In the first season, she was furious (and perhaps jealous) when a Ukrainian exchange student tried to take James’s virginity, and in the second Erin was thrilled when James turned up to take her to prom after she was stood up by a local hunk.

After the latter Friends-esque scene, there were a lot of people ‘shipping’ Erin and James, willing them to get together. Writer Lisa McGee told RadioTimes.com that there might be a future for the pair romantically.

“I think there might be,” she said. “I’ve always thought James likes her, but I think he maybe doesn’t even understand that yet, and I don’t know when that’ll, it might happen when they’re much older, so it might not actually happen in our show. But I think the potential is there, it’s something I’m interested in seeing – I might toy with it if we do another season, I’m not sure.”

“I want it to happen so badly!” revealed Nicola Coughlan, who plays Clare in the series.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com at the South Bank Show Awards in July, she added: “Yeah I really want it to happen, although it’s so funny because we’re like siblings now, so the thought of Saoirse and Dylan now having to kiss I find hilarious. But for the characters, yeah, I really want it to happen.”

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Derry Girls is available to stream on Netflix (season 1) and All4 (season 1 and 2). Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide.