Derry Girls spoilers ahead.
We were down a Derry girl in the latest episode of Derry Girls when a last-minute run to the train station left one of them behind.
While on a family outing to a theme park, Erin, Orla, Michelle and James were joined by Ma Mary, Dad Gerry, Grandad Joe and Aunt Sarah as they jumped on a train for a day out.
However, thanks to Mary’s mission to make enough sandwiches to feed an army, the gang found themselves in a panicked run after finding themselves on the wrong platform.
The resulting dash meant poor Clare, who’d nipped to the loo, was left behind… and to make matters worse she only had Sister Michael for company (which as you can imagine, neither were too thrilled about).
But while this proved to be enough for at least a couple of hijinks as Clare got a bit of a crash course in the train station ticket server’s sexual relationship, there was a real reason Clare was left behind on that fateful platform.
Sadly, Nicola Coughlan was forced to miss days of filming due to her obligations on Bridgerton season two.
The actress will always be the wee lesbian in our hearts, but for a growing number of fans she’s best known as the (apparently) unassuming Penelope Featherington in the Regency-era drama.
Bridgerton‘s second series, which dropped on Netflix on March 28, was filmed around the same time as Derry Girlswhich had suffered a number of filming pushbacks as a result of the pandemic, making numerous schedule changes when shooting in Ireland impossible.
When they were finally able to cement a timeframe, it was dangerously tight with Nicola’s Bridgerton commitments – and in a world of contracts and tight availability, her time as Ms Featherington eventually won out.
For Nicola, this was as stressful as it sounds, and speaking to Digital Spy and other press in the run-up to Bridgerton‘s release, she confirmed that as a result of the constant maneuvering, her time in Derry Girls was tragically forced to be reduced.
“I was filming Bridgerton on the Friday and started Derry Girls on the Monday,” she told us. “I was stressed out in my mind about it, like, ‘I don’t even know how to do this.’ But it’s weird, you just slip right back in. There wasn’t enough time to even think about it.
“Last year was really difficult,” she said. “I won’t lie because, you know, at the best of times trying to manage different projects, it’s such a push and pull.
“We were meant to film Derry Girls in January 2021. And I was totally free and they decided to push it again. And that caused me insane stress because I was on [what] in the industry is called first call. So it means you have to go and do the show that you’re on first call to, which was Bridgerton.
“And I was like ‘Guys, can we just film it?’ And they were like, ‘No, we’re gonna wait.’ So [we had to make] compromises happen in the script of Derry Girls. It was devastating to me because I wanted to be in all of this. But compromised had to be made.”
Thankfully, the team were able to make sure Clare wasn’t totally absent this episode, with the consistently wounded-up teen left in a panic over whether to get the next train, make conversation with Sister Michael, or give up and go home.
Basically, she sat in a panicked state the entire time, which feels about right for her.
The much-loved series is now officially halfway through its final season, with surprises including guest spots from Liam Neeson as a disgruntled policeman and the mystery over Ma Mary’s “other man” already keeping us giggling.
But with the gang all preparing for their next stage in life after completing high school, and The Troubles still unresolved, it seems like life is about to come at the girls pretty fast within the final three episodes.
Clare declared she was gay at the end of season one, and since then has been trying to find out more about her sexuality – which is easier said than done in ’90s Ireland.
But the team have promised that the youngster may be about to find someone…
Derry Girls airs Tuesdays at 9.15pm on Channel 4 and will be available on 4OD shortly after.
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