Siobhán McSweeney: Disney+ show has "funniest script I've read since Derry Girls"

Exclusive: We sat down for a chat with one of TV's funniest faces about Extraordinary series two

(Image credit: Disney+)

You might know her best for playing the nun Sister Michael in Derry Girls but Siobhán McSweeney is making a habit of scene-stealing in another show these days. She stars as Mary in the excellent Disney + series Extraordinary. 

If you've not seen it, you're missing one of the sharpest, funniest shows in years, and if you have watched then you'll be excited to know that series two is out now! Thanks to Disney+ we got a chance to sit down with Siobhán (and the rest of the cast) ahead of the new series. 

On Extraordinary 


(Image credit: Disney+)

In the show, Siobhán plays Mary, the mother of protagonist Jen (Máiréad Tyers) a twenty-something who still hasn't developed the superpowers that the rest of the world acquired at eighteen.

But who is Mary? Despite being the main character's mum, Siobhán doesn't want it to define the character. "She's Jen's mum but I think that's the least interesting thing about her," says McSweeney. "She's a very, very complicated lady... I think she's running away. She's one of those people who reinvents herself. She's protective and she's incredibly vain in a wonderful way." 

Extraordinary boasts an immaculate 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and I would agree that is a deserved score. It's a show that combines great heart with great silliness all at once. But what does she think? 

"When I got the scripts, they were funniest I'd read since Derry Girls," McSweeney says. "The fact that we all have superpowers is the least interesting thing about the show. She (creator Emma Moran) captures family dynamics and friendship groups so well... the writing is absolutely amazing." 

Jen is the main character of the show and McSweeney was full of praise for Tyers. "Máiréad has really brought something quite groundbreaking to the role of Jen. It's all written there but she embodies it so well, there's something so modern about her." 

On superpowers

Mary's superpower is an ironic one. She has the ability to control technology by pointing her fingers, but "like a typical mammy she doesn't know how to use it." McSweeney says.

It seems like McSweeney has plenty of similar experience in real life "It's not that I'm technophobic, I've got no interest in technology," she says. "as an actor you have to do self-tapes... that involves having to press play, getting the lighting, it's an absolute disaster, so I literally outsource it. If I can wind up (the camera) rather than plugging in, I'd be much happier."

If she could choose though, McSweeney would like one of the other powers from the show. "I love Kash's ability to turn back time… I'd love to time travel because I'm an old-fashioned girl, I wouldn't travel to the future at all." 

The phrase 'turn back time' reminds us both of a certain singer and McSweeney suggests an alternative power. "Could I be Cher? Is that a superpower? I could just straddle a cannon on top of a navy ship." 

On Derry Girls

Sister Michael in Derry Girls

(Image credit: Channel 4)

Of course, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to discuss the smash hit Channel 4 series with one of its stars.

Certainly, the general public hasn't missed the opportunity either "I have met people in the past who think I'm a nun, which is very confusing. I don't know if they expect me to be sister Michael but they often want me to say something like her."

Both Mar and Sister Michael are quite strong-willed and stubborn characters and McSweeney can see a certain similarity between them too. "I loved playing her but I get to play Mary now and I always think of them, of all my characters, like sisters, hanging around together. They probably wouldn't get on, but there's definitely a family resemblance. They're both not shy going into any room."

I had to ask if we could maybe see more of everyone's favourite nun if the opportunity ever arose but McSweeney was understandably philosophical. "I don't see it happening in the near future. Who knows?" 

On Pottery

Always busy, McSweeney is also the host of the reality show, The Great Pottery Throw Down. Did she have any advice for aspiring potters?

"I'm the wrong person to ask that. I keep trying, it's too hard. Our potters are extraordinary, they're the real superheroes! My only trick is manipulating the judges so they make things for me." 

While there is limited pottery in Series 2 of Extraordinary, I have to see in my mind it has retained its status as the jewel in the crown of Disney+ and I would highly recommend tuning in yourself. 

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer

Andy is T3's Tech Staff Writer, covering all things technology, including his biggest passions such as gaming, AI, phones, and basically anything cool and expensive he can get his hands on. If he had to save one possession from a fire it would be his PlayStation 5. He previously worked for Tom’s Guide - where he got paid to play with ChatGPT every day. When it comes to streaming, Andy will have his headphones glued in whilst watching something that will make him laugh. He studied Creative Writing at university, but also enjoys supporting his favourite football team (Liverpool), watching F1, teaching himself guitar, and spending time with his dog.