Emmy winning director Dearbhla Walsh (“Little Dorrit,” “Fargo”) is riding an impressive wave of momentum following today’s Emmy nominations.
Apple TV+’s “Bad Sisters” picked up four nominations for its first season, including Outstanding Casting, Outstanding Writing, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for actress-writer-producer Sharon Horgan, and Outstanding Directing for A Drama Series for Walsh.
“I am thrilled to be one-quarter part of the multi-Emmy nominated ‘Bad Sisters.’ It’s a DAVIDA and the GOLIATH sort of year, but I am honoured to be rubbing shoulders with so many great drama directors that I admire and whose shows I have loved watching this year,” shares Walsh. “I really hope that we all get to meet in person in the room in September.”
This is Walsh’s second nomination for directing, having previously won the Emmy for directing the limited series “Little Dorrit.” Barely in the rear view mirror is the landmark BAFTA win for “Bad Sisters” in the coveted category of Best Drama Series. Walsh accepted the award along with her fellow producers and Horgan, who comically addressed the crowd with a quote from Walsh.
One might imagine that this wave of momentum comes directly from Ireland’s famed Forty Foot, which was frequently highlighted in season one of the Ireland-set series.
Situated on the south shore of Dublin Bay on the tip of Sandycove Point, the frigid water of the Forty Foot serves as a communal location for the Garvey sisters throughout their journey of grief and healing in season one.
For Walsh, it was a chance for an Ireland native to showcase one of Dublin’s historic locales. To Walsh’s surprise, she’s already met fans who ventured to the Forty Foot specifically because they saw the show.
“This lady was coming out of the water and when she spoke I noticed a Canadian or American accent,” Walsh says. “It turns out she was her the way back to Canada, she’d been on holiday and she wanted to swim the Forty Foot because of the show.”
The secret to “Bad Sisters” resonating across continents is undoubtedly its two female-forces-of-nature: Dearbhla Walsh as executive producer and director of the first three episodes and Sharon Horgan (“Catastrophe”) as series star, writer, producer, and co-creator.
Walsh assembled a genius company of actors to play opposite Horgan, including BAFTA winner Anne-Marie Duff (“Suffragette,” “The Salisbury Poisonings”), Eva Birthistle (“Brooklyn,” “The Last Kingdom”), Sarah Greene (“Frank of Ireland,” “Dublin Murders”) and Eve Hewson (“Behind her Eyes,” “The Luminaries”).
Anne-Marie Duff won her BAFTA trophy for portraying Grace on the same evening that “Bad Sisters” won the BAFTA for Best Drama Series.
It should also be noted that Horgan worked closely with co-creators Dave Finkel and Brett Baer to adapt “Bad Sisters” from “Clan,” a 2012 series from creator Malin-Sarah Gozin that aired in Belgium.
Both series are wildly divergent from their initial concepts of a group of sisters coming to the defense of one of their own. In “Bad Sisters,” the five Garvey sisters are bound together by the premature death of their parents and a promise to always protect one another… even if that means murder.
Unraveling the mystery of who killed “the prick” (a deliciously devious Claes Bang) is not nearly as jaw dropping as the lengths that “the prick” will go to in order to torture the Garvey women, not just his poor wife Grace (Anne-Marie Duff).
Walsh, who is known for directing some of the best episodes of “Fargo,” brilliantly balances the series’ dark comedy with the intense psychological and physical trauma depicted in the final episodes of”Bad Sisters” (which she also produces).
Walsh spoke to Awards Focus’ Byron Burton about directing the masterful Easter dinner set piece in episode three, finding inspiration through collaboration, and her ambitions for exposing Ireland to a wider audience.
“Bad Sisters” is available to stream on Apple TV+ and is eligible in all Emmy voting categories.