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Derry Girls star Dylan Llewellyn: I didn’t understand any Northern Irish slang – but learning it was cool

From “wee’un” to “ride”, the only English kid in the Channel 4 comedy had a lot to learn

Published: Sunday, 14th April 2019 at 6:13 pm

Dylan Llewellyn’s character James in Derry Girls sticks out like a sore thumb. Not only is he the sole boy in a school for girls, but he’s also the only English kid in the Northern Irish comedy.


It turns out it’s not just James who’s a bit out of his depth when it comes to keeping up with the Derry Girls – the actor who plays him also had a lot of Northern Irish vernacular to learn on set.

“I didn’t understand any of it,” Llewellyn admitted to an audience at the BFI & Radio Times TV Festival. He initially misheard “wee’un” which means 'child' (“Who’s Wayne?” he laughed) and marvelled at the fact that “wee” can mean both “small or big,”

“Learning new slang was cool,” he said, "“it’s like a whole new thing, it’s brilliant.”

Saoirse-Monica Jackson, who plays Erin, added that she thinks the word “ride” – meaning “to sleep with”– is “lovely”.

I remember when I first moved to England and I was at uni,” she said, “and I would be asking my friends, ‘Did you ride him?’ And they’d be like, ‘That’s so grotesque.’

“I actually don’t think that, I think it’s a much nicer word. It’s lovely, it’s so much better. It’s more casual."

Laughing, she concluded: "Ah no, that was not the right thing to say…”

Show writer Lisa McGee helped the actress out by adding: “It’s more adventurous.”


Derry Girls was recently renewed for a third series, so here’s hoping there’ll be plenty more slang – and adventures – to look forward to.


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