Derry Girls’ foul language ‘a shame’, says Jim Wells

Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee, second from left, with cast members Dylan Llewellyn , Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland and Nicola Coughlan when they visited the 'Derry Girls' mural painted by UV Artists on the gable wall of Badger's Bar, Derry. The second series of the hit show is coming soon to Channel 4.
Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee, second from left, with cast members Dylan Llewellyn , Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland and Nicola Coughlan when they visited the 'Derry Girls' mural painted by UV Artists on the gable wall of Badger's Bar, Derry. The second series of the hit show is coming soon to Channel 4.

Hit Channel Four comedy ‘Derry Girls’ has won an unlikely fan in veteran DUP figure Jim Wells, but the South Antrim MLA has some reservations about the show.

The coming-of-age comedy, set towards the end of the Troubles during the 1990s, follows the life of teenager Erin and her school friends.

Jim Wells

Jim Wells

It has proved a huge hit with both audiences and critics — 1.8 million viewers tuned in for the first episode of the new series on Tuesday and show creator Lisa McGee has been nominated for awards .

It has also been picked up by streaming giant Netflix and shown to an international audience.

However, the show averages around one swear word every 30 seconds and that’s too much for Mr Wells, who believes it detracts from the humour and quality writing of the programme.

“I’m not a prude but the language is absolutely atrocious,” he told the News Letter. “I don’t think it adds anything to it.”

The first episode of the new series follows Erin and her friends on a cross-community school excursion with the pupils of the fictional ‘Londonderry Boys Academy’.

There are around a dozen ‘F-words’ and a series of other swear words in the 23-minute long episode.

Mr Wells continued: “Without that language we could be looking at the next Father Ted. Father Ted might have alluded to it, there was innuendo, but they never actually crossed the line into totally foul language and because of that it is a classic that can be shown anywhere in the world.

“I am worried that another great programme might be ruined because it can’t be shown before the watershed.”
 He continued: “The most recent episode was a really funny one with the arrival of the Londonderry boy’s school.

“It was really very funny. Obviously the context is not one that I would identify with — a group of nationalist girls from Londonderry — but is it cutting edge? I think it is. Parts of it are extremely amusing and well written.

“Why does it need this intrusion of bad language?

“You have all this funny stuff and then all this F-ing and blinding It’s a shame.”

Derry Girls and writer Lisa McGee are nominated in the Royal Television Society Programme Awards for 2019.

The show is nominated in the Scripted Comedy category and Lisa McGee is nominated for Writer (Comedy.)

Channel 4 has given some details about the second series — including the girls’ reaction to Bill Clinton’s historic visit in 1995.