Development & Alumni Relations Office 


01 June 2018


The creative force behind Derry Girls – Queen’s 2002 Drama graduate, Lisa McGee – won the IFTA Gala Award for Writer in Comedy or Soap at the 2018 Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) Awards held last night (31.05.18), at which the show also took home the Gala Award for Comedy!


The runaway Channel 4 television hit, which was based on Lisa’s childhood growing up in pre-ceasefire Derry, had to see off The Young Offenders and Mrs Brown's Boys to win the coveted IFTA.


Lisa McGee attended Thornhill College in Derry before going on to Queen’s to read Drama, where she first concentrated on writing. Early success with plays such as Girls and Dolls (which won both a Stewart Parker Award (2007) and the Blackburn Prize) were the first of many for Lisa on the road to the most recent IFTA double.


After graduation in 2002, Lisa and three friends set up their own company – Sneaky Productions – which premiered a co-written piece Jump! which was later made into a film. Her impressive back catalogue also includes The Heights, Nineteen Ninety Two, The Opportunists and The Young Man with the Cream Tarts, while her writing for television includes: Totally Frank (Endemol, Channel 4) and The Things I Haven't Told You for BBC 3.


Lisa also created RTÉ's restaurant drama Raw, before working on the Bafta-nominated Being Human (BBC) and on Indian Summers (Channel 4).


Set in 1994, Derry Girls is based partly on Lisa’s teenage years in the 90s, growing up in the Maiden City and attending a Catholic convent school. It takes a caustic, irreverent and nostalgic look at life in the city, primarily through the eyes of a group of local female teenagers (there is only one young male character who is a mild-mannered cousin from England), living out what they see as ordinary lives.


Derry Girls was filmed in July 2017, primarily in Derry, with each of the episodes featuring at least one Maiden City scene. Lisa’s old convent school, Thornhill College, was also the location for the fictional Our Lady Immaculate College.

Over 2½ million viewers tuned in to watch the first episode of Derry Girls in January, making it Channel 4's highest-rated comedy launch in the last five years – and the biggest programme in Northern Ireland since records began in 2002 – so it was no surprise that a second series has been commissioned.


Lisa is married to English actor/writer Tobias Beer, and lives in Balham in south London, with toddler son Joseph. The couple are currently working together on a marital thriller entitled The Deceived, which is based in Cambridge and Donegal.


General inquiries to Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office; tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.


Photo credit: Main photo above courtesy of Michael Chester Photography; headline image IFTA


Caption: Lisa McGee (5th from right), pictured with cast members from Derry Girls.

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