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Derry Girls season 3: Release date, cast, plot and latest news for Channel 4 comedy

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

Derry Girls
Channel 4
Published: Wednesday, 18th May 2022 at 12:29 pm
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Channel 4 comedy Derry Girls came to a devastating end on Tuesday night (17th May).

But for fans distraught at the idea of the beloved series drawing to a close, the good news is that Derry Girls is airing a special bonus episode just one day later.

The special extended finale will air at 9pm on Channel 4 on Wednesday (18th May), tying up all those loose ends from the final scenes of episode 6.

The comedy’s final outing follows the show’s central quintet as they anxiously await their GCSE results and take their first steps toward adulthood (you can read our five-star Derry Girls season 3 review here).

From a long-awaited kiss and a Mary and Aunt Sarah flashback episode about the girls' parents, to plenty of brushes with the law, season 3 has certainly been an eventful one.

What's more, writer Lisa McGee – who based Derry Girls on her own childhood – has teased she's still "plotting" potential further instalments, including a possible Derry Girls movie.

But for now, read on for everything you need to know about the third season of Derry Girls.

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Derry Girls season 3 release date

Erin looking concerned in Derry Girls season 3
Saoirse Monica Jackson as Erin Quinn in Derry Girls season 3 Channel 4/ Peter Marley

Derry Girls season 3 landed on Channel 4 at 9:15pm on Tuesday 12th April 2022.

The season's release date was confirmed by Channel 4 in late March 2022.

The final episode aired on Channel 4 on Tuesday 17th May 2022, with a special episode airing the following night on Wednesday 18th May.

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

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

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph in January 2021, the Bridgerton actress said that the cast was then still waiting for production to restart, due to the need to shoot in Derry.

“We’re still waiting, because it’s integral to the show that we film in Derry,” she said. “And we can’t do anything involving a crowd right now, so logistically, it’s really tough."

Gerry Quinn (Tommy Tiernan), Erin Quinn (Saoirse Monica Jackson), Michelle Mallon (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell), James Maguire (Dylan Llewellyn)
Gerry Quinn (Tommy Tiernan), Erin Quinn (Saoirse Monica Jackson), Michelle Mallon (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell), James Maguire (Dylan Llewellyn) in Derry Girls Channel 4/Peter Marley

"We were meant to start filming around now," she said on Angela Scanlon's Thanks A Million podcast (via Metro) in June 2020. "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.

However, in late October 2021, Nicola Coughlan said she would be "in Belfast filming on Monday morning" for the third and final season of Derry Girls.

Filming wrapped on the series on 21st December 2021.

How to watch Derry Girls online

Derry Girls seasons 1 and 2 are available to watch on Channel 4's streaming service, All 4.

Following Netflix's announcement on 14th July 2020, the arrival of season 2 on the platform had been delayed after being briefly uploaded to the streaming service.

It is unknown when the third and final season will arrive on Netflix as the second has yet to be added.

Derry Girls season 3 cast

The main Derry Girls cast are all expected to reprise their roles for a third season.

  • 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
  • Leah O'Rourke as Jenny Joyce

Ardal O’Hanlon made an appearance as Mary’s cousin Eamonn in season 2.

Sister Michael - Siobhan McSweeney (Channel 4, SD)
Siobhan McSweeney in Derry Girls

Writer McGee previously told RadioTimes.com she would like to add Dara O Briain, another Irish comedy legend, to the cast for season 3.

However, due to commitments to filming Bridgerton during the pandemic, Nicola Coughlan's role had to be scaled back in the final episodes.

"We had to make compromises happen in the script of Derry Girls. It was devastating to me because I wanted to be in all of this," Coughlan told Belfast Live.

"But compromises had to be made. And you know, they had to cut down my role somewhat, which was hard. Really, really hard. But I think, you know, the fans of the show are going to be happy."

Will season 3 be the last of Derry Girls?

Unfortunately, yes – in September 2021, Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee confirmed that the hit comedy would end after three series.

"The plan was always to say goodbye after three series," McGee said. "Who knows if Erin, Clare, Orla, Michelle and James will return in some other guise someday but for now, this is it for us and we’re excited to start filming this series with our incredible cast and crew to hopefully take our loyal fans on one last adventure."

Tommy Tiernan, who plays Erin's dad Gerry, had previously let slip in March 2020 that he thought season three would be 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."

At the time, McGee took to Twitter to let fans know 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."

Derry Girls plot

*Contains spoilers for seasons one and two of Derry Girls*

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 in Derry Girls

Among the big moments of series one was 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.

Derry Girls season 3 plot rumours

Nicola Coughlan previously told the Belfast Telegraph that writer Lisa McGee had spoken to her about the upcoming storylines.

Coughlan said: “They’re so brilliant, which doesn’t surprise me. She’s just incredible – but it made me want to do it right now. But we also want to do the best version of the show we can.

“By hell or high water, we all want to make it work – if they said we could go tomorrow, trust me, we would all be there.”

McGee also 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.”

Dylan Llewellyn as James and Saoirse-Monica Jackson as Erin in Derry Girls

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?

Derry Girls season 3 finally saw Erin and James share a kiss - before deciding to prioritise their friendship, as James said: "I'll wait."

Despite Erin's complicity in the Derry Girls' endless mocking of James, there had 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 previously 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 previously, 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."

Derry Girls season 3 trailer

You can watch the teaser trailer for Derry Girls season 3 here, in which the gang appears to get arrested.

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.

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