This Is How Old Nicola Coughlan From Derry Girls Is In Real Life

Above all else, Derry Girls is a show about the everyday lives of five teenagers. The titular group includes series lead Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), ne'er-do-well Michelle (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell), group oddball Orla (Louisa Harland), British exchange student James (Dylan Llewellyn), and the constantly anxious Clare (Nicola Coughlan, now famous as Bridgerton's Penelope Featherington). Together they attend Our Lady Immaculate College, a Catholic school in Derry, Northern Ireland.

The series is set during the mid-90s at the tail end of the Troubles, during which the prospect of whether Northern Ireland was to remain under English rule or join a unified nation of Ireland resulted in sectarian violence. That said, while the Troubles serve as a backdrop for Derry Girls' drama, they remain just that. Far more often, the show's core cast of characters is concerned not with the political state of their country but with staples of teenage life like prom or British boy band sensation Take That.

While Derry Girls' central cast appears believably young on screen, the real-life actors are all considerably older than their on-screen counterparts — just like the vast majority of film and TV teenagers. Nicola Coughlan is no exception, having left her teenage years behind more than a decade prior to her Derry Girls debut.

Nicola Coughlan on Derry Girls seems forever young

Nicola Coughlan was born on January 9, 1987, meaning that she's 34 years old as of this year. Derry Girls is currently scheduled to film a third season once pandemic-related complications are no longer an issue. The central characters on Derry Girls all attend a secondary school, which is more-or-less the British equivalent of an American high school. Derry Girls season 3 is unlikely to feature a change of setting or time skip given the centrality of their classmates and school principal to the show. Therefore, if filming ultimately takes place even just later this year, Coughlan will be playing a character around half her actual age.

Even during the filming of Derry Girls season 1, which was released in 2018, Coughlan would have likely been 30 or 31 depending on how far removed the season's production was from its release. Thus, even in the series' earliest days, Coughlan's actual age was firmly in between Clare's friend group and the series' adult characters.