SMASH-Hit TV show ‘Derry Girls’ came to an end last week, with a Fermanagh man playing an important role behind the scenes. Award-winning producer Brian J. Falconer served as Producer for the final season of the Channel 4 comedy.

Brian, a native of Enniskillen, spoke to The Impartial Reporter about the enduring appeal of the series set in 1990s Northern Ireland, saying: “‘Derry Girls’ is not defined by The Troubles, but it is inspired by it. Lisa McGee [Derry Girls creator and writer] grew up, as I did, in a very important time in our country’s history.”

Explaining his role as a producer and what it entails, Brian said: “There are a million different types of producers, and the role is different depending on the project, but the way I work it out in my head is that every project is a jigsaw, and some of the pieces don’t quite fit, and the producer’s job is to make them fit.”

He highlighted the work of the creative team behind Derry Girls, mentioning the efforts of Lisa McGee as creator and writer, alongside Michael Lennox (Director), and he highlighted Executive Producers Liz Lewin and Caroline Leddy for their role in the production, as well as Jimmy Mulville, who served as an Executive Producer, and is the owner of Hat Trick Productions, the production company behind the show.

Brian J. Falconer, Caroline Leddy, Michael Lennox, Lix Lewin and Lisa McGee

Brian J. Falconer, Caroline Leddy, Michael Lennox, Lix Lewin and Lisa McGee


When speaking about why Derry Girls was such a special programme, Brian said: “Lisa McGee’s writing is incredible – it has such heart, a coming-of-age story which is internationally relatable.

“Derry Girls was the first time we saw a female-driven story from Northern Ireland, the first time we got to see women being silly and standing up on their own, and we were all ready for that – the world was ready for that.”

Reflecting on the show’s setting, he continued: “Lisa wrote Derry Girls from her point of view as she hurtled towards womanhood in the shadow of The Troubles. It is a very fresh perspective, and through her incredible comedy, it has proved accessible to a huge international audience. That has been very exciting to have been part of.”

He continued: “The scripts, the dialogues and the performances are so funny. If you watch a documentary on The Troubles, 90 per cent of people will be kind of bored, but comedy gives you a way into the world.”

Speaking about keeping secrets about cameos such as Liam Neeson and Chelsea Clinton from the set, Brian laughed and said: “Part of my job is to make sure those things don’t come out, so the easiest part is to control myself!”

Looking to his own future, Brian revealed that he is working on a variety of projects, including a number of feature-length films, a slate of comedy and drama shows for TV, as well as shooting a TV pilot later this year.

Brian J. Falconer on set with actors from the series in scene behind him including; Siobhan McSweeney (Sister Michael), Nicola Coughlan (Claire)

Brian J. Falconer on set with actors from the series in scene behind him including; Siobhan McSweeney (Sister Michael), Nicola Coughlan (Claire)


“It has been an exciting time over the past 14 years with Northern Ireland welcoming many large-scale international productions.

“But the real value to a creative industry should be measured by the depth of indigenous talent and productions, and those should be better supported,” he said.

Calling out the need for better support for local talent, Brian said: “ Northern Ireland is a breeding ground for talent – it should be a very exciting time for ingenious writers, directors and producers who can follow in the footsteps of Lisa McGee and [Northern Ireland film director] Michael Lennox.

“I am really excited to see what comes out of Northern Ireland, and particularly Fermanagh, over the next five years.”

Emphasising some local talent, he highlighted the work of the South West College (SWC) and its Digital Media Production course.

Brian added: “I’ve been lucky enough to have watched the shorts showcases from SWC, and have been blown away by those students. There is so much talent coming through”

When asked about the most exciting talent to watch out for, he said: “Kat Woods from Enniskillen – she is incredible.”

Kat is a writer and director, and her newest production, ‘Birds of a Passage in the Half Light’, will premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe festival later this year.