New comedies are in the pipeline at Channel 4

Updated: 

Two new comedies have been announced by Channel 4 - one about a teenage girl growing up during The Troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1990s and the other about a bisexual New Yorker navigating the London dating scene.

Derry Girls will be set in the run-up to the ceasefire and will be based on the experiences of writer Lisa McGee.

The six-part sitcom will follow 16-year-old Erin and her friends in 1994 and will show armed police in armoured Land Rovers, British Army checkpoints and "peace" walls. It will also detail the daily ups and downs of Erin's life, including romantic and family dramas, conflicts at school and body insecurities.

McGee, who grew up in Londonderry, said: "Anything set during the Troubles tends to be a bit grim and bleak, but that just wasn't my experience of Derry as a child and a teenager - it was a joyful place.

"I'd like to celebrate that. It was also hugely matriarchal, so I was keen we have a large and varied cast of female characters.

Betty Williams, leader of the women's movement for peace in Northern Ireland, wipes away a tear of happiness as she joins fellow campaigner Mairhead Corrigan in singing a song of peace to a crowd of thousands in Londonderry in 1976
Betty Williams, leader of the women's movement for peace in Northern Ireland, wipes away a tear of happiness as she joins fellow campaigner Mairhead Corrigan in singing a song of peace to a crowd of thousands in Londonderry in 1976 (PA)

"There were other things going on in Northern Ireland at that time. There were other stories. I'm excited to have the opportunity to tell some of them."

The show was announced by Channel 4 at the Edinburgh TV Festival, and Nerys Evans, deputy head of comedy at the channel, said: "Derry Girls may have a unique setting but it's a really warm family sitcom, seen through the eyes of teenager Erin. Lisa's writing is truthful, brave and laugh-out-loud funny."

The channel also announced new comedy The Bisexual, about the differences between dating men and women from the perspective of someone who does both.

Girls actress Desiree Akhavan has created the series and also stars in it. Her story centres around New Yorker Leila, who is adjusting to the dating scene in London after breaking up with her girlfriend.

Leila will swap her luxurious life as part of a power couple for a houseshare with a British man who helps her discover how to date men and becomes her unlikely wingman.

The show will offer an outsider's view of Britain, as Leila navigates the discrepancy between what the English say with what they feel.

Akhavan said: "Getting to play in the sandbox with such intelligent collaborators at Sister Pictures and Channel 4 is an absolute dream come true. They're the perfect partners in crime for a taboo sex comedy. And by that I mean they're all perverts."

Card

Evans, who commissioned the show, said: "We are thrilled to be working with Desiree on her series The Bisexual. She has such a brilliantly unique viewpoint on finding love in your thirties.

"We love her candid observations, both on being an outsider in a strange city as well as the sexual politics encountered when you are neither straight nor gay. She's honest, authentic and brilliantly funny in her delivery."