Derry Girls’ Lisa McGee originally planned a very different ending
"There was a version of this that was just funny-funny."
*Warning: spoilers ahead for Derry Girls finale*
Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee has revealed she originally planned a very different ending to the series, but that delays due to COVID-19 led her to rewrite the special bonus episode.
The episode is set in the week running up to the Good Friday Agreement referendum, during which Erin and Michelle have an unexpectedly bitter argument about what peace would mean for Northern Ireland in the future.
Michelle's brother killed someone in the conflict, and Erin struggles to reconcile the idea of him being potentially released from behind bars as part of the Good Friday Agreement.
After the two friends fall out, Michelle decides to boycott Erin and Orla's birthday party, forcing her cousin James to follow suit.
Speaking at a press screening attended by RadioTimes.com, McGee revealed that the episode was originally "funny-funny" and "your typical Derry Girls" episode, with the conflict and referendum remaining firmly in the background of the gang's teenage trials and tribulations.
"[The episode] would have been [different] before our dates were pushed because of COVID. There was a version of this that was just funny-funny, and the party and the Good Friday Agreement - it was just your typical Derry Girls, where they were like, 'This is hugely annoying', and there was no Michelle and Erin story."
However, when the third season and special episode were delayed due to COVID-19, she pitched the Erin and Michelle storyline.
"I remember telling our two execs... like, 'I have this idea. And I kind of don't want to go near it. Because it's a bit daunting, so I'm hoping you don't like it'. And I told them the Erin and Michelle story, and then they were like, 'Oh God, we like it', and so I had to do it now."
She also revealed that she originally "didn't have the Sister Michael story", during which the intimidating headmistress faced potentially losing her position at Our Lady Immaculate College.
"I also didn't have the Sister Michael story, because it was so jokey. The first version of this was funnier, I would say, but it didn't have those backstories on it," McGee explained.
"When we got our dates pushed, I sat back and had a bit of time to think and go, 'Well, let's just go for it. Let's just end it. Let's just bring the political and the personal crashing together, because it's the only time we're gonna get a chance to do it.'"
The latest issue of Radio Times magazine is on sale now – subscribe now and get the next 12 issues for only £1. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times podcast with Jane Garvey.