Notice anything amiss in 'Soapland'... the first ever absence of Fair City since this column commenced in 2008, perchance? Easter Sunday was the show's inadvertent 'finale' courtesy of Covid-19.
We knew this day was nigh, when there would be zero action from Carrigstown, but it doesn't make it any easier for its hundreds of thousands of fans. We were only getting used to it being reduced to two episodes a week since our lives changed immeasurably a month ago.
This was to ensure the 300,000-plus viewers, who usually tune in four nights a week, would only endure a short gap in transmission, until filming resumed. As for when that is? Nobody knows. Understandably, RTÉ's priority is ensuring HSE guidelines are adhered to; protecting the health and wellbeing of all crew. For now, producers can only see how the situation progresses and align accordingly. Back on October 18 of last year, Fair City celebrated its 30th year on our screens, with over half a million people viewing the anniversary episode. No one could have envisaged it would be taking an impromptu hiatus less than six months later.
There is hope, though. The press office confirm they are "preparing new scripts for when production resumes" that will "reflect life in Ireland with Covid-19". At the time of going to print, Fair City fan sites were launching petitions to have RTÉ air the show from the beginning.
One can only hope.
Asha has been through the wringer this past week. Having an intimate video of you circulating in a state of undress would be horrifying at the best of times; add being a teenager to the mix and it's tricky to see how things could get worse... then your dad signs you up to partake in Mary's youth volunteering group tidying up Victoria Gardens. Yes, things do end badly. On a positive note, Corey apologises to Asha for filming her without consent. The downside is that said recording winds up on the internet. Ken finds proof that Charles has been siphoning funds from Stillwater, yet Claudia wants to stay put; Geoff tries a different form of control with Yasmeen after reading her domestic abuse pamphlet, and will Johnny get away to France scot-free?
Leo's mum, Michaela, has been busy - mostly online. Whitney notices everyone staring at her on the Market and, despite Sonia and Chantelle's efforts at keeping it a secret, she sees Michaela's posts. Whitney is left crushed, and clutching her passport. Keegan is at breaking point thanks to Tiffany's wanting to move back in with Jack, and general life at chez Taylor. After a bruvvahly heart-to-heart with Callum, Stuart is inspired to propose to Rainie again (who, technically, is still married to Max), while Ash and Iqra sort things out in spite of Suki. Elsewhere, Ms Watts leaves Phil feeling seriously deflated.
It's Vanessa's first day of chemo, yet she urges Charity to stay home and look after a sick Moses. At the hospital, Vanessa prepares to start treatment alone, when Kerry just happens to be wandering past and decides to keep her company - which isn't at all weird considering Kerry and daughter Amy were indirectly involved in the death of Vanessa's father, Frank, and then extremely involved in the cover-up surrounding said death. Things go from bad to worse when Charity makes it to the hospital and starts shouting the odds at Kerry. In short, everyone is exceedingly stressed. Dawn continues struggling with Lucas's behaviour, while Paul (AKA Tina McIntyre's disastrous dad) works at the scrapyard, right under Vinny's nose.
Ros na Rún
Briain discovers who Nathan really is; Vince ponders if he's made a mistake, and will Mack find the DNA results?!