Re-Watch Review: Derry Girls S1-EP1

Episode synopsis

S1 EP1 – It’s the early 90s, the first day of school and a terrible start for 16-year-old Erin as she wakes up to find her cousin Orla reading her diary; Granda Joe announces there’s a bomb on the bridge.


Saoirse-Monica Jackson…Erin Quinn

Louisa Harland…Orla McCool

Nicola Coughlan…Clare Devlin

Jamie-Lee O’Donnell…Michelle Mallon

Dylan Llewellyn…James Maguire

Tara Lynne O’Neill…Mary Quinn

Kathy Kiera Clarke…Sarah McCool

Siobhán McSweeney…Sister Michael

Tommy Tiernan…Gerry Quinn

Ian McElhinney…Joe McCool

Best character

I don’t know if I’ll be able to choose a favourite character for every episode as I love all of them for different reasons. Erin is my absolute favourite, but Orla is just too funny. 

Favourite scenes

*I do not own the rights to any videos in this post, no copyright infringement was intended. All rights go to the production studio*

Best quotes and one liners

ERIN: She’s gone too far this time, Mammy. I mean, what next? Will I catch her trying on my knickers?

MARY: Don’t say knickers in front of your father. He can’t cope.

ERIN: Aye, he can’t cope.

ORLA: Sure, what’s a pair of knickers between cousins?

MARY: Less of the knickers.

ERIN: I won’t put up with it anymore. Teenagers have rights now, you know?

MARY: Don’t be ridiculous.

ERIN: They do, Ma. It’s true. Sure, Macaulay Culkin might be divorcing his parents.

MARY: (to Jerry) Do you hear this? This’ll be someone she met at that stupid summer scheme you insisted we send her on. A bloody ‘Friends Across the Barricades’ thing. I have nothing against Protestants. I’m all for integration, I am. But if they’re letting their wains divorce them…

ERIN: Macaulay Culkin isn’t a Protestant, Ma.

MARY: It’s only gonna give our wains ideas.

ERIN: Well, he might be. But I didn’t meet him at ‘Friends Across the Barricades’.

MARY: I don’t care where you met him. You’re not to see him again. Understood?

JOE: Why don’t you just leave my Mary alone?

GERRY: Because we’ve been married for seventeen years, Joe. We have two children. And because, we’re in love with each other.

ERIN: (looks disgusted while eating toast) Aw, boke.

JOE: I’ll find some dirt on you yet, boy. I’ve got people working on it.

SARAH: (eating cereal) Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m not enjoying this bomb.

JOE: Shocking.

MARY: Desperate.

SARAH: Disgusting and disgraceful. I have an appointment at Tropicana at twelve. Fifteen minutes in this stand up. But sure I’ll not get over the bridge at this rate. It’s going to play havoc with my build-up. This is what they want. They want ordinary people to suffer. This is what it’s all about.

ERIN: I’m pretty sure interfering with your sunbed sessions isn’t very high up on anyone’s political agenda, Aunt Sarah.

SARAH: I wouldn’t be so sure.

MARY: (looks shocked) Hey. What do you think you’re playing at? Where’s your blazer?

ERIN: I’ve decided to put my own spin on the uniform this year.

MARY: I’ll spin you across that floor. Get your blazer on.

CLARE: What’s all this? I thought we were going to be individuals this year.

ERIN: Look, I wanted to Clare, but my Ma wouldn’t let me.

CLARE: Well, I’m not being an individual on my own. (takes off jacket)

ORLA: Does he just really enjoy wells, aye?

DAVID: Erin, have you got a light?

ERIN: Me? No, I don’t smoke. (whispers to self) Why the hell do I not smoke?

ORLA: I have one. (throws lighter) I don’t smoke either. I just like melting stuff.

ORLA: Aye, you shouldn’t swear Michelle, because when you swear, our Lady in heaven, she cries her tears and then make rain. Isn’t that right, Sister Michael?

SISTER MICHAEL: What age are you now, Orla?

ORLA: Fifteen.

SISTER MICHAEL: Yeah. You might want to think about wising up.

GERYY: Did you kill that wee nun, girls?

ERIN: Of course we didn’t.

SARAH: Then why were you pissing on her dead body and making sandwiches?

ERIN: We didn’t do anything. It’s not fair!

ORLA: (Reading Erin’s diary) But the thing is, life isn’t fair. You see injustice is something I have become accustomed to. I am, after all, a child of the crossfire, surrounded by conflict. But I choose to rise above it. The path to peace is paved with tolerance and understanding. Violence is never the answer.

ERIN: I am going to ram that so far up your arse!

Final thoughts and fun facts

I’ve been wanting to do a rewatch of Derry Girls for so long now, it actually one of my favourite shows. Plus, I needed something with short episodes to review as I’m currently only doing shows with 40+ minutes and it gets a bit much sometimes.

The Derry Girls are aged 15 or 16 years old when this episode takes place in September 1994, but the actors who play them would have been:

  • Saoirse-Monica Jackson (Erin Quinn) – 10 months old
  • Louisa Harland (Orla McCool) – 1 year and 8 months old
  • Jamie-Lee O’Donnell (Michelle Mallon) – 2 years and 6 months old
  • Dylan Llewellyn (James Maguire) – 2 years old
  • Nicola Coughlan (Clare Devlin) – 7 years and 8 months old

Michelle refers (indirectly) to Pulp Fiction just before her and the girls (and James!) get on the school bus. Season One is set a few months *before* the August 31st 1994 IRA ceasefire [which is depicted in the penultimate episode of Season Two] but Pulp Fiction was only released in the UK on October 21st 1994.

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