Northern Ireland-born actor Jamie Dornan has described feeling emotional at the ending of Derry Girls and, honestly, we relate, Jamie.
He admitted to sending the ‘soppiest text message’ to the show’s writer Lisa McGee after watching the final episode of the hit series – which captures the sense of hope in 1998 at the signing of the Belfast Agreement following decades of violence.
Appearing at an Our Time In Space event at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast to talk about integrated education, Jamie said the scenes in Derry Girls where the girls take part in cross community programmes reminded him of his school days going on a trip to the Share Centre in Co Fermanagh.
‘I massively identified with Derry Girls, I get emotional talking about the finale,’ he said.
‘I know Lisa well, that’s about the soppiest text I have ever sent to anybody when I finished the finale, trying to tackle the nuanced complications of being from this part of the world at that time with such integrity and such humour is almost impossible, I don’t know how she managed to do it, it’s incredible and so poignant.’
He said those of his and Lisa’s generation are now making the decision about where to send their children to school.
‘We’re in a post-conflict society and your decision making on where to send your kids to school has altered,’ he said.
‘Methody shaped me. It was then slightly more Protestant than now, but also had a big international community. The mixing of all those different elements is a helpful thing, to have a broader understanding of what it’s all about.
‘Division never felt real, it was never near the surface. It wasn’t a thing, I feel like as time goes on, the influence of the church is weakening.’
While most Protestant pupils attend controlled schools in Northern Ireland and most Catholic children attend maintained schools, both sectors insist they are not exclusive to single faiths and have increasingly diverse intakes.
Currently around 7% of schoolchildren in Northern Ireland attend a school officially designated as integrated.
Following the success of Derry Girls, Lisa has been proposed for freedom of the city for ‘bringing joy and civic pride’ to her home.
The hit comedy series has put Londonderry on the map and established a fanbase in several countries around the world, which has been recognised by SDLP councillor Martin Reilly.
The honour is given by a local council, for example, to either a person (civilian) or military unit, in recognition of their exceptional service to the City.
Elsewhere at the event, Fifty Shades of Grey actor Jamie passed comment on local politics, which he branded a ‘shambles’ and politicians as ‘archaic’ in the way they talk ‘in the same sentences they’ve been talking about for 50 years’ – a situation exasperated by Brexit.
‘They are not the conversations we should be having. It’s ultimately really damaging,’ he commented, adding that Brexit has ‘called into question so many uncomfortable truths for people’ about how they identify.
Derry Girls is available to catch up on All4.
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