Saturday 17 March 2018

Cash-strapped RTE spent €10.7m on filming Fair City last year

Fair City: Katy is discovered on the street
Fair City: Katy is discovered on the street

Sean O'Grady

Cash-strapped RTE spent more than €10m on filming Fair City in 2016, the Herald can exclusively reveal.

The national broadcaster has a budget of €53,500 for each episode of the long-running soap, which totalled about 200 episodes, or €10.7m spent at the end of the year.

The show films 15 scenes per day, six days a week, with the budget costs including direct production costs, programme labour and facilities and operations costs.

An RTE spokesperson noted the cost of producing the series was "down slightly on previous years" and pointed out the show's budget is significantly smaller than some of its British counterparts.

Fair City
Fair City
Fair City set

"The Fair City budget is significantly lower than its UK competitors," said the spokesperson.

"For example, EastEnders' cost per episode is approximately €240,000, while smaller soaps such as Doctors cost approximately €86,500 per episode."

They added the budget covers scriptwriters, hair and make-up, and location costs.

"As with all our productions, RTE strives to deliver the best value for money," the spokesperson said.

The Carrigstown set of RTE soap Fair City
The Carrigstown set of RTE soap Fair City

"Fair City also provides RTE with an important platform to develop and nurture Irish talent, including scriptwriters, actors and production crew, with up to 220 people working across the show on a weekly basis."

In figures released under the Freedom of Information Act, the broadcaster spent €30,126 on taxi fares for cast and crew in 2016.

This cost covers a 50-week production schedule, six days a week, and is for both actors and crew members who are required to be on set for early starts or late finishes and other special circumstances.

Meanwhile, RTE spent a combined €71,960 on hair, make-up and wardrobe costs for the show's cast. In addition, €63,875 was spent on wardrobe and €8,085 went on hair, respectively.

There are approximately 18 characters featured in each episode, which can rise to 35 for special episodes such as weddings or Christmas episodes. A total of 120 extras are used every week, including "special extras" such as doctors, nurses and postal workers.

It comes after RTE bosses applied to move the Fair City set to a one-acre site adjacent to Nutley Road, which has been approved. A tender process is under way to find the company that will start construction of the new set.


Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment