I already knew, politically, where I wanted to go for Series Two of Derry Girls, which was the ceasefire and the beginnings of the peace process after the Bill Clinton visit in 1995. So the current political situation didn’t impact on where we were going in a big way. But it happened accidentally that the story of the show sometimes reflects what is happening now.
We can never, ever go back to violence here,
When I was writing it, there are certainly points I made that I may not have underlined so heavily – one being that we can never, ever go back to violence here. What I am trying to show is how much Northern Ireland achieved in the mid and late-1990s and how hard it was. I don’t think people, when they are talking about Brexit now, appreciate how miraculous it was that the Good Friday Agreement actually happened. So we are saying look at how hard that was and how brilliant it was that we pulled it off.
It changed my life and the lives of so many people of my generation for the better – and generations that came after me. It is so upsetting to hear politicians playing down the importance of the Good Friday Agreement. I find it unbelievable. I tried not to think about it too much while I was writing, though, because it might make me too angry and the show might not be quite so funny.
So much of the series is about that intense period when you lived in your friends’ pockets and you lived in their houses in that community where nobody locked their doors. A community where all this insane violence was going on but nobody locked the doors. The contradictions of the place were mad.
Derry Girls works because it was true. You had to be able to laugh. You had to somehow normalise these things that are insane. It is only when you move away, so for me it was when I moved to London, that you realise what we did and how we handled it was not normal. It was a survival thing.
This violence should never be the backdrop to any teenager’s life.
The young people were aware of it, they grew up around it, but they were protected from a lot as well and didn’t have the grudges. They are just young and silly and just want to live their lives.