25 March 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
IFTN Festive Q&A with Nicola Coughlan of 'Derry Girls'
19 Dec 2018 : Nathan Griffin
In the run in to Christmas, we have invited some of Ireland’s leading Film & TV talents to take part in IFTN’s festive Q&A.

Having trained at both The Oxford School of Drama and Birmingham School of Acting, Coughlan hails from Galway where she has been acting since childhood. Nicola made her on screen debut in the controversial short ‘The Phantom Cnut’ directed by Tom Collins; director of the Oscar nominated ‘Kings’. As a teenager she appeared in animated series such as ‘The Fairytaler’ and the title role in France 3's ‘The Little Vampire’. Coughlan then went on to appear in BBC's ‘Doctors’ in 2011.

Coughlan recently shot to prominence through her role as Clare in the hit Channel 4 production, ‘Derry Girls’. Created and written by Lisa McGee, the comedy series is set in 1980s Derry during the height of The Troubles. The show has since been revealed as the biggest series ever in Northern Irish history and was watched by an average of 2.5 million viewers across the U.K. The show went on to win ‘Best Comedy Series’ at the 2018 IFTA Gala Television Awards and has recently been picked up by the US Netflix platform.

Coughlan has just wrapped shooting on the second season of the hit TV show, which will air in 2019.

IFTN journalist Nathan Griffin caught up with Nicola ahead of the festive season.

What was your highlight of 2018?

“So many! Derry Girls was released on the 4th of January so that was such an early highlight; we really couldn’t have asked for a better response, I’m so grateful. Getting to work with Samantha Morton on Harlots was such an honour, coming to work and watching her every day was an incredible learning experience. Working at the Donmar Warehouse was always a dream of mine so doing The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie there this summer was another 'pinch me' moment. I also got named one of the Evening Standard Magazine’s Rising Stars for 2018 alongside Jodie Comer and other actors I admire so much, that was surreal, I still don’t believe it.”

What are you most looking forward to working on in the New Year?

“Such a classic actor’s response but nothing I can talk about yet! I am excited though!”

What was your favourite Film of 2018?

“I adored Ladybird, I loved Frances Ha too so Greta Gerwig has a solid fan in me. Ladybird reminded me so much of what I was like as a teenager and was just joyful. Also I think I was late seeing it so I don’t know if it counts as a release this year but Call Me By Your Name floored me.”

What TV Show did you binge watch this year?

“So many, I’m an avid Binge watcher. A Very English Scandal was incredible; I hope they throw awards at Ben Whishaw and Hugh Grant. Ordeal by Innocence was brilliant; I loved Sarah Phelps’ adaptation, performance wise my pal Anthony Boyle stole the show. Maniac on Netflix was unlike anything else, I feel like everyone should watch it. Also nothing was more joyous than Queer Eye, I feel like Jonathan Van Ness and I are friendship soulmates.”

What Irish talent have you been impressed with over the past 12 months?

“I ran between shows at the Donmar to see Andrew Scott perform Seawall at The Old Vic, he’s truly a special talent. It also makes me so proud at the calibre of female actors coming out of Ireland right now, Saoirse Ronan, Sarah Greene, Seana Kerslake are a few who I’m so impressed by, and of course my other Derry Girls they’re so unbelievably talented.”

What International talent would you most like to work with?

“I adore so many of the SNL Alums, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon; if I worked with any of them I’d die happy. In terms of writers I’ve always wanted to work with Jack Thorne, I also really loved the things Nicole Taylor and Sarah Phelps did this year so I’d really love to do something with them. Oh and Judi Dench and Meryl Streep (obviously)”

What two film/television personalities would you most like to have dinner with and why? (invite over for Christmas dinner) (Dead/Alive)

“Jonathan Van Ness and Kate McKinnon, how fun would that dinner be?”

What’s your favourite movie to watch on Christmas day?

“When I was a little girl my brother bought me the Original Star Wars Trilogy on VHS so it’s the one I think of every year. Also Wizard of Oz, always.”

Catch Coughlan in the second season of ‘Derry Girls’, which is due for release on Channel 4 in early 2019.

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