By Naomi Clarke, PA Entertainment Reporter
Chelsea Clinton made a surprise cameo appearance in the emotional final episode of Derry Girls which paid tribute to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
The hit Channel 4 comedy series came to an end with an extended special episode exploring the key moment in Northern Irish history after the series three finale aired on Tuesday.
After an emotional goodbye to the cast as they were seen voting in favour of the agreement, fans were treated to a post-credit scene featuring the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton to bring closure to an earlier storyline.
In series two, the show made reference to the former US president’s trip to Northern Ireland in 1995, with the main characters Clare, Erin, Orla, Michelle and James writing Chelsea a letter but they never received a reply.
In the post-credit scene which is set in present day New York, a mailman delivers the letter to Chelsea, who is now 42, explaining that it had been intercepted while on its way to the White House in the 1990s.
She reads out the note from the Derry-based teenagers who ask if she would like to “hang out” with them when she arrives in Northern Ireland with her parents, saying: “If they’re anything like our parents, well you’ll be bored out of your tree.”
They added that they expected it would be “pretty difficult” for her to meet boys due to being the president’s daughter as they imagined it would “intimidate a lot of fellas” and they offered for her to practise “her moves” on James if she would like.
The special instalment returned to Derry as Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), her cousin Orla (Louisa Harland) and friends Clare (Nicola Coughlan), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell) and Michelle’s English cousin James (Dylan Llewellyn) prepare for their final year of school.
It’s not over yet, folks! We’re back in Derry tomorrow at 9pm for an hour-long special set during the week of the Good Friday Agreement referendum. @SaoirseJackson @louisa_harland @Djllewellyn @JamieLeeOD @LisaMMcGee #DerryGirls pic.twitter.com/5yycpMUYOK
— Channel 4 (@Channel4) May 17, 2022
Set in 1998, in the week of the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement, which set out a peace accord for the troubled factions in Northern Ireland, the episode explored the real-life tensions of the time while offering light relief as Erin and Orla attempt to throw a joint 18th birthday party.
In classic Derry Girls’ style, things do not quite go to plan when their mothers forget to book out the community hall so they have to share it with a group of young girls celebrating their first communion.
Things continue to spiral as the friends’ nemesis Jenny Joyce hosts her birthday on the same day, stealing all their guests in the process with the promise of champagne, a magician and Riverdance.
The group also faces tension as Erin and Michelle have an argument about the peace agreement as Erin feels it is not right that paramilitary prisoners could be released as part of the conditions while Michelle reminds her that her brother is in jail for such a crime.
Clare, who has moved away following her father’s death, later comes to save the day by sabotaging the electrics at Jenny’s party so they all have to relocate to Erin and Orla’s party.
As the episode draws to a close, Erin reflects on the importance of growing up and moving on.
The message becomes particularly poignant for the end of the comedy series and the historical moment as she speaks over video footage of The Troubles and discussions had by key political characters including former prime minister Tony Blair, former Northern Ireland first minister and DUP leader Ian Paisley and former deputy first minister and Sinn Féin politician Martin McGuinness.
Erin says: “It’s good, it’s exciting and maybe a wee bit scary too. There’s a part of me that wishes that everything could just stay the same. That we could all just stay like this forever.
“There’s a part of me that doesn’t really want to grow up. I’m not sure if I’m ready for it. I’m not sure I’m ready for the world. But things can’t stay the same and they shouldn’t.
“No matter how scary it is, we have to move on. And we have to grow up because things, they might just change for the better.
“So we have to be brave. And if our dreams get broken along the way, we have to make new ones from the pieces.”
The characters have their final moments together in the polling station as they vote in favour of the peace agreement.
As they walk out together, a voiceover by a news presenter says “Yes – 71.12 per cent. A record-breaking turnout and an overwhelming majority.
“The people of Northern Ireland have spoken. The country has just taken its first step into the future.”
Irish screenwriter Lisa McGee wrote the show’s three series.