Saturday 1 October 2016

Here's how much Fair City actors get paid for a day shift

John Lawrence

Published 12/05/2016 | 07:30

Fair City: That time Jane drugged Paul Brennan and took a selfie, 2013
Fair City: That time Jane drugged Paul Brennan and took a selfie, 2013
Tony Tormey (Paul Brennan), Clelia Murphy (Niamh Brennan) and Richard McWilliams (Michael O'Brien with whom Niamh is having an on-screen affair with) on the set of RTE's Fair City celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the popular soap. Picture Colin Keegan/Collins

They play everyday characters living in Carrigstown, but the stars of Fair City have impressive earning power.

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Actors on RTE's long-running drama earn nearly €460-a-day, but the broadcaster has refused to say how much it pays its leading soap stars each year.

Executives at the national broadcaster have confirmed that the daily shift rate for performers on the soap has remained at €459 for the past four years.

The taxi bill for all staff working on Fair City who are needed early in the morning or late in the evening was nearly €30,000 last year, up from €25,376 in 2014.

It was further revealed that 26 scriptwriters working on a pool system were contracted to the show last year. Fifteen received €3,495 each per episode and nine were paid €1,837.

RTE said the writers were given "an additional 35pc of the basic fee per episode in respect of a further broadcast of the episode within seven days. These are rates agreed with the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild".

Aoibhin Garrihy as Neasa and Sam O’Mahony as Finn in ‘Fair City.
Aoibhin Garrihy as Neasa and Sam O’Mahony as Finn in ‘Fair City.

Despite disclosing pay figures for its most popular radio and television presenters earlier this year, RTE refused to say how much the top 10 highest-paid actors on Fair City receive.

A response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request stated that Fair City actors "are paid fees rather than salaries as they are contracted to RTE. The exact amounts paid are regarded as commercially sensitive".

RTE added that information regarding other allowances such as meals for the performers was also "commercially sensitive".

The broadcaster said 198 episodes of Fair City were filmed last year at a cost per episode of €54,883. This amounted to €10.86m.

RTE would not comment on the 27-year-old soap's continued production, saying every show it makes is in a "constant state of review and renewal".

Fair City faces growing competition from TV3's drama series Red Rock. The latter's broadcast rights have been sold to Amazon Prime and the BBC despite being on air only since January 2015.

RTE said it had not been in a position to sell Fair City to international television markets due to "rights restrictions", but this was an "ongoing process".

It was reported last month that negotiations had been taking place between RTE and Fair City actors and writers regarding payments for online rights.

Up to 220 people work on Fair City in a production week, and the average audience for the programme on RTE One was 448,200 last year, with thousands of additional viewers watching repeat and online transmissions.

The drama was first broadcast in September 1989.

Herald

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