Swiftly transforming into something of a global phenomenon, the debut series of Derry Girls became Channel 4's biggest comedy launch in over 14 years. The popularity led to Netflix subsequently acquiring the rights, attracting a new legion of fans on the far side of the Atlantic.
Set against the backdrop of Northern Ireland's political conflict, Derry Girls is the coming-of-age tale audiences never knew they needed. Depicting the heart-warming escapades of four girlfriends and a "wee English fella" as they navigate the awkwardness of adolescence, the first nostalgia-packed series had viewers pining for the 90s. Now, four years on from its television debut, the series is ready to tie up the remaining loose ends as the teens anxiously await their GCSE results.
Here’s when you can watch the third and final season of Derry Girls, and the cast’s final thoughts about the well-loved comedy.
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Derry Girls cast discuss the final season
It's been six years since Nicola Coughlan, who plays Clare Devlin, stepped on to the set of Derry Girls for the very first time. A journey the actress describes as nothing short of "mad", it's a period that will forever be immortalised by plaid school uniforms, elaborate dance routines and the outspoken views of a particularly vocal Catholic nun.
But as audiences ready themselves for the third and final series of the Bafta-nominated sitcom, its cast are pensive. With the gates of Our Lady Immaculate College poised to close on their characters for the final time (or at least on television, given creator Lisa McGee's big screen ambitions), breakout star Coughlan and co-star Jamie-Lee O'Donnell have already begun lamenting the loss of their on-screen companions.
"It's a weird thing, grief, saying goodbye to a character," reflects Coughlan, 35, following a lengthy pause. "It's a really strange thing that's very hard to explain to people. I mean, Clare Devlin is a mess, but I love her and I will miss her very much," she adds, referencing her academically ambitious character.
"I don't know if I'll ever be able to fully say goodbye in my head," agrees co-star O'Donnell, 30, who plays outspoken Michelle Mallon in the series.
The timing of the third and final season was no surprise to the actors. "We always knew it was going to end at the time of the Good Friday Agreement, that's something Lisa's talked about quite a lot," says Coughlan.
Describing the show as a "love letter" to McGee's birth city of Londonderry, fellow actress Saoirse-Monica Jackson, who plays the highly strung Erin Quinn, notes the sense of "honesty", "authenticity" and "innocence" captured in McGee's writing.
"I think it was the first time these sort of stories were told in a show from the North, that wasn't in such a dark light," says Jackson, 28, with a nod.
When does Derry Girls Season 3 come out?
Derry Girls will return to Channel 4 and All4 for the final time on Tuesday April 12th.
Additional reporting by PA.