When Derry Girls landed on Netflix as part of the streaming service’s U.K. collection of series, it seemed an unlikely show to take off on this side of the pond. But the teenage coming-of-age story set in 1990s-era Ireland turned out to be a cult hit, with fans flocking to the foul-mouthed but goodhearted girls struggling through their late teens at a Catholic girls’ secondary school. But after the third season experienced massive delays due to the 2020 filming shut down, the series creator confirmed that Derry Girls will end with Season 3.
Derry Girls introduced audiences to the foursome of Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), Orla (Louisa Harland), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell), and Clare (Nicola Coughlan), a rebellious set with little respect for authority and a penchant for getting into scrapes. Their teen shenanigans are contrasted against “The Troubles,” when factions in Derry and Dublin were fighting against the British crown. But despite the seriousness of the world around them, Erin and her gang are irrepressible and fun, and fans fell madly in love with their story.
The series picked up steam in the states after Season 2 arrived in 2019. A third season was swiftly commissioned to film in 2020, but then the COVID lockdowns happened. Filming on the series was suspended multiple times since March 2020 but recently got back on its feet, with star Louisa Harland confirming to Digital Spy recently that the cast was going back into production.
But with the return to production also came the confirmation that this would be the show's final season. Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee posted a statement on Twitter confirming the show will “naturally conclude” this season.
Although Netflix fans are saddened and a little shocked to learn the show is already ending, this is not the first hint that Season 3 would be the end. Setting the series against the backdrop of the Troubles in the 1990s already gives the story a stopping point: The Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, and the series’ third season was heading toward that era when the world changed drastically. In talking about her return to filming, Hartland noted the show “follows a political timeline of real events” toward “sort of a natural end.”
On the one hand, it’s good to see a creator fulfill her vision instead of bowing to pressure by production studios to keep a series going just because her show is popular. (It’s also great that the show is popular enough that McGee got to make all three seasons, despite the unexpected setbacks.) But for fans of the Derry Girls and their story, saying goodbye won’t be easy.
Derry Girls Season 3 does not yet have a release date on Channel 4 nor on Netflix, but is expected to arrive in 2022.