The Derry Girls cast were “incredibly nervous” about coming back

derry girl

Derry Girls was off the air for three years thanks to the pandemic, leaving some cast members concerned about getting back on track (Image: Channel 4)

The Derry Girls cast were “incredibly nervous” about being able to play their characters properly after a three-year absence from the set.

After a long hiatus and several delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, new episodes of Derry Girls will hit our screens this week for the first time since 2019.

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Erin, Michelle, Orla, Clare and James – as well as the amazing supporting cast – wreak havoc in Derry, and the actors feared they might have trouble getting back into the characters. spoke to Siobhán McSweeney, who plays the droll and expressionless sister Michael on the Channel 4 sitcom, and gave a glimpse into everyone’s mood when she returned to set.

“I think we were all incredibly nervous about making it,” admitted Siobhán. ‘So much time had passed.’

She says she was “really worried” about following in Sister Michael’s footsteps again.

(LR) Sarah Mccool (Kathy Kiera Clarke), Orla Mccool (Louisa Clare Harland), Mary Quinn (Tara Lynne O'Neil), Erin Quinn (Saoirse Monica Jackson), Michelle Mallon (Jamie - Lee O'Donnell)

The actors were restored to characters they hadn’t touched in three years (Image: Peter Marley)

Not only was Siobhán three years out of practice with the character, but he also hosted Channel 4’s Great Pottery Showdown – a completely different kettle of fish – and had just broken a bad leg and knee.

“I was still in a lot of pain and very immobile, so I was worried about a trillion things,” she recalled.

“Even getting to Derry and Belfast was a palaver from the Pottery set – I was in a wheelchair when not on crutches.

“I was faintly trying to remember that role I had played three years earlier, I was really nervous.”

But fans will be relieved to hear that Siobhán’s fear quickly passed, and as soon as she donned Sister Michael’s robe, “I looked at her and I was like, ‘Ah, there she is.'”

Sister Michael (Siobhan McSweeney)

Siobhán presented a reality show and was recovering from an accident when she changed back into Sister Michael’s robe (Image: Peter Marley)

If Siobhán harbored any misgivings about her ability to play the nun, they melted away once she was reunited with the rest of the cast.

“One of the first scenes I did [on series three] was with all adults,” she recalls.

“I just walked in and saw Tommy [Tiernan] with his hair, when I saw Ma Mary with Joe and the wig, Aunt Sarah with all her makeup, I was like, ‘Aha! That’s right, we’re back in full swing!”

Another major relief for Siobhán was the return of Peter Campion, aka Father Peter, the dreamy priest whom the Derry Girls almost accidentally ran out of the priesthood in the first series.

‘As soon [Peter] enters the room I immediately become Sister Michael and he immediately becomes Father Peter,” laughed Siobhan.

“We have this very strange dynamic, both of us.”

(LR) Father Peter (Peter Campion), Sister Michael (Siobhan McSweeney)

Peter Campion returns as Father Peter, with Siobhán promising he has a ‘lovely’ journey in the new series (Image: Peter Marley)

The last time the audience saw Father Peter, he was trying desperately to convince Derry’s Catholic and Protestant teenagers that they had things in common.

He failed miserably, of course, leading to the now-famous Blackboard scene.

But the priest won’t dwell on the past, Siobhán points out, hinting at what’s to come in the series.

“Father Peter’s skin is as thick as his luscious hair,” she joked. “He’s like a Labrador, he bounces back. Good old father Peter!

“He has his own journey in this series, it’s very beautiful.”

In the same interview with, Siobhán spoke about how difficult it was saying goodbye to Sister Michael as the show begins its third and final series.

“It broke my heart to kick the habit,” she said.

She added that it was “very disappointing” that the series ended, but added, “It’s a great honor to say goodbye before it sucks, honestly!”

Derry Girls S3 Specials (LR) Michelle Mallon (Jamie - Lee O'Donnell), Orla Mccool (Louisa Clare Harland), Erin Quinn (Saoirse Monica Jackson), Clare Devlin (Nicola Coughlan), James Maguire (Dylan Llewellyn)

Orla, Erin, Michele, Clare and James are back for another series (Image: Channel 4)

Fans will be pleased to learn that the new series will delve deeper into the lives of Sister Michael, Father Peter and the show’s other adults, with Siobhán noting that “everyone has such a fondness for each and every character”.

“Everyone gets their moment [in the new series]”It was never really about the Derry girls, it was about the whole community,” she said.

As fans across the UK and Ireland prepare to tune in to new episodes for the very last time, Siobhán added: “I think people will end up crying.

“I think I’ll be one of them.”

Derry Girls returns to Channel 4 on Tuesday 12 April at 9.15pm.

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MORE: Derry Girls star Siobhán McSweeney on the latest series: ‘It’s a great dignity to say goodbye before it sucks’

MORE: Nicola Coughlan on Derry Girls final series: ‘It’s the end of their innocence’

TV The Derry Girls cast were "incredibly nervous" about coming back

Ryan Sederquist

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