Sunday 11 December 2016

Fair City's Aisling O'Neill: 'People admire Carol ... she's just so feisty'

Sean O'Grady

Published 20/09/2016 | 08:02

Jim Bartley (Bela) is congratulated by Rachel Pilkington (Jane), Aisling O'Neill (Carol) Una Crawford O'Brien (Renee)
Jim Bartley (Bela) is congratulated by Rachel Pilkington (Jane), Aisling O'Neill (Carol) Una Crawford O'Brien (Renee)
Actors Don Baker, Aisling O'Neill and Karl Shiels in a scene from RTÉ soap opera 'Fair City'

She has played Carol Meehan on Fair City for 17 years, but Aisling O'Neill has said that despite what fans might think, she doesn't share may qualities with her character.

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Although she reckons she is similar to Carol in some ways, she's not as outspoken as the character she plays.

"People get confused sometimes. I think there are parts of her in me, of course. I'm certainly a very different person. I would be more sensitive," she told the Herald.

"I think people admire Carol. She's just so feisty, she's like everybody's alter ego because she says what we would all love to do in real life.

Actors Don Baker, Aisling O'Neill and Karl Shiels in a scene from RTÉ soap opera 'Fair City'
Actors Don Baker, Aisling O'Neill and Karl Shiels in a scene from RTÉ soap opera 'Fair City'

Read more: Happy 4000th episode Fair City! Here are the top 21 moments that got the nation talking

"People like her because she's honest and she's got a great heart and she's outrageous," she said.

As Fair City marks its 4,000th episode, Aisling is celebrating a recent surge in popularity herself.

"I'm delighted. It's a real testament to the popularity of the programme that we have reached this - 27 years. I've been on it since 1999," she said.

The actress has been widely praised by viewers for her performances in recent weeks after it emerged that Carol was sexually abused as a child.

The character shocked audiences in a powerful scene in August as she revealed she was abused by her father's friend, who she knew as Uncle Mika.

"I remember him saying to me, 'Where's my hug?', and I had to hug him. The stink off him.

"I was scared. I was only 11. He said he'd kill Denise if I told anyone," she said in the shocking scene.

Viewers then watched the shocking scenes on Carol's wedding day where her father Trigger attacked his daughter in a bid to ruin her marriage to partner Robbie.

Aisling admitted filming the hour-long episode was one of the highlights of her almost two-decade long run.

"The wedding episode was amazing, it was wonderful," she said. "It is one of my best memories from Fair City."

Aisling's performance on the show in recent months has impressed critics and viewers alike. She has been nominated for Best Female Performance at this year's Ifta Gala TV Awards, which take place in October.

"It's wonderful. I'm really excited. I was chuffed when I heard about it. This is my first time, I'm delighted," she said.

Herald

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