Nancy Harris: ‘Going on dates and not drinking was really challenging’

Creator of RTE’s new series The Dry speaks to The Women’s Podcast

Listen | 47:23

When screenwriter Nancy Harris decided to give up drinking for a year, her sobriety was met with mixed reactions.

“Going on dates was really challenging, within a second people want to know why you’re not drinking,” she says.

Some people “had no problem with it at all”, while others took issue with her decision. Although, “the people that tended to have a problem with it, often had problems themselves,” she explains.

Speaking on the latest episode of The Women’s Podcast, Harris shares her observations on the role that alcohol plays in Irish life, that inspired her to write The Dry, a new eight-part series on RTE One.


This new comedy-drama tells the story of 35 year-old, Shiv Sheridan, who is struggling to remain sober after packing in her party lifestyle in London. Having returned to live with her parents in Dublin, Shiv tries to navigate a new life on ‘the dry’, but it’s a lot harder than expected.

For Harris, who is the daughter of journalists Anne and Eoghan Harris, writing the series was “a rich opportunity to look at family, drinking and addiction in a lot of different ways”.

“It was something that had affected my life… I’m from a family where there was quite a lot of addiction,” she adds.

Reflecting on her nerves ahead of the release, Harris reveals “I feel a bit of a responsibility in terms of wanting to tell the truth about the experience of recovery and the experience of addiction, but to also tell a story that is not depressing to watch”.

The Dry airs every Wednesday at 9:35pm on RTÉ One, or you can watch all eight episodes on the RTÉ player now.

Suzanne Brennan

Suzanne Brennan

Suzanne Brennan is an audio producer at The Irish Times