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Derry Girls creator explains why heartbreaking season three death had to happen

Warning, major spoilers for the season three finale ahead!

derry girls s3 death
Eve Crosbie
TV & Film Writer
17 May 2022
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Derry Girls season three has drawn to a close and ended things with the unexpected and devastating death of one of the show's beloved characters.

MORE: Derry Girls viewers all saying same thing about flashback episode

While the majority of the final episode of the joyous 90s-set sitcom revolved around the gang's mission to attend a Halloween ball being DJed by none other than Fat Bloy Slim - and yes, he does make a cameo in the episode - it delivered a twist in its last few minutes. Last warning, there are major spoilers for the season three finale ahead!

WATCH: Miss Derry Girls already? Relive the best moments of season two here

After getting kicked out of the party, it's revealed that Claire's dad Sean, played by David Ireland, has suffered an aneurysm. The gang rush to the hospital, still dressed in their angel/swan costumes, but it's too late, and they rally around Claire as she delivers the heartbreaking news that he has died. In the show's final moments, Erin, Claire, Orla, Michelle and James are seen attending Sean's funeral as a slowed-down cover of Praise You plays.

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It's an unexpected end to a show that has always found the light in the darkness of being set against the backdrop of the Troubles, but speaking at a Q&A session attended HELLO!, creator Lisa McGee revealed that the storyline was inspired by something that really happened to her and her own 'Derry Girls'.

derry girls s3 sean© Photo: Channel 4

Claire's dad Sean is played by David Ireland

"The reason why I wanted to do this story is because it happened to my group of friends," she said. "My friend's dad died when we were around that age suddenly and it was a shock."

She continued: "The thing that really struck me was that we did grow up in this place where there was a lot of unpredictable stuff happening - you worried about a lot of violence - and this was a thing that could happen to anybody at any point - a natural cause thing. I was like 'Oh, God, no one's life's predictable, this could happen to anyone.'"

derry girrls s3 finale© Photo: Channel 4

What did you think of the ending of the series?

She explained that "something shifted in my wee friendship group when that happened" and likewise wanted the death of Claire's father to mark the end of adolescence for the gang. "It says in the stage directions when they're walking behind the coffin: 'And just like that, they grew up'". We're not crying, you are!

MORE: Nicola Coughlan gets candid about reduced role in Derry Girls season three

She added that she felt comfortable ending things on such a sombre note as "Channel 4 reassured me that the special would go out close to it and it wasn't going to leave everyone depressed."

Indeed, fans haven't got long to wait to watch the extended special, which moves things forward to the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement. The hour-long episode will air on Wednesday 18 May and it sounds like it will officially conclude things on a lighter note.

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