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Derry Girls' shock death was based on creator’s own experience

The stage directions for the funeral scene contained a hidden message.

Published: Wednesday, 18th May 2022 at 11:52 am

*Warning: spoilers ahead for Derry Girls season 3 episode 6*

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Last night's Derry Girls episode had us laughing one moment and sobbing the next, following the unexpected death of Clare's beloved Da following an aneurism.

However, the season finale twist was one that series creator Lisa McGee based on real-life, revealing during a press screening that one of her childhood friends lost her father "suddenly", forcing the friendship group to grow up – something the episode's script references during the funeral scene.

"Why I wanted to do the story is it happened to my group of friends; my friend's dad died when we were around that age, suddenly," McGee told RadioTimes.com and other press.

Derry Girls
Claire in the Derry Girls season 3 finale

"It would be a real shock anyway, but I think the thing that really struck me was that we did grow up in this place where a lot of unpredictable stuff happened, and you worried about a lot of the violence and stuff like that, and this was a thing that could happen to anybody, and was a natural causes thing.

"And I was just like, 'Oh God, nobody's life is predictable, like this could happen to anyone', and it really came out - it says in the stage directions [of the episode], when they're walking behind the coffin, 'And just like that, they grew up'.

Derry Girls cast
Derry Girls cast in the season 3 finale Channel 4

"I felt like... something shifted in my friendship group when that happened. And then I suppose I thought I can end that there once Channel 4 reassured me the special would come out really close [to the season finale]. It wasn't going to leave everybody really depressed, and then they'd have to wait a year [for the special]."

In the Halloween-themed episode, the death of Clare's father was wordlessly confirmed when Nicola Coughlan's character reunited with her friends in the hospital waiting room.

The group all rushed to embrace her, enveloping her in their fancy-dress angel wings as an acoustic cover of Praise You by Fatboy Slim played, before cutting to the funeral procession.

However, the special one-hour bonus episode – which airs tonight (Wednesday 18th May) – seems set to end the Channel 4 series on a more hopeful note, taking place one year later during the Good Friday Agreement referendum.

An episode teaser released on the broadcaster's Twitter saw the girls (and wee English fella) dancing together, as Erin says: "We have to move on, because things - they might just change for the better."

Read more: Derry Girls season 3 review: How the teen comedy retained its magic

Read more: Derry Girls' bonus episode was the perfect end to a perfect show

Read more: Why won't there be a Derry Girls season 4? Creator Lisa McGee explains

A special bonus episode of Derry Girls airs on Channel 4 and All 4 at 9pm tonight (Wednesday 18th May 2022). Looking for something else to watch? Visit our Drama hub or check out our TV Guide.

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