Saturday 16 December 2017

Fair City to get a new home as RTE plans to rebuild set from scratch

Ciaran, played by Johnny Ward with Katy, played by Amilia Clarke-Stewart in a Fair City scene
Ciaran, played by Johnny Ward with Katy, played by Amilia Clarke-Stewart in a Fair City scene

Darragh McDonagh

It may be staying put at Montrose, but the home of Fair City is to be rebuilt from scratch at a new location on the RTE site.

Tenders have been sought to build a new outdoor set for the long-running soap, ahead of a land sale by the broadcaster.

It will be a carbon copy of the existing streetscape currently used for filming the show.

The move has been prompted by plans to sell nine acres of "under-utilised" land on the RTE campus, which is expected to raise up to €75m, to be used for investment and debt reduction.

The nine-acre site, to the west of the Radio Centre in Donnybrook, incorporates the existing set of Fair City, necessitating relocation to another area of the 32-acre campus.

RTE has reassured viewers that there will be no disruption to the broadcast of show while the new set is under construction.

"As part of RTE's decision to sell a portion of under-utilised land on the Donnybrook site... RTE will also move the Fair City lot to a new location onsite," it said.

"Fair City currently films on a number of indoor and outdoor locations throughout RTE's Donnybrook campus, some of which are situated next to the proposed new location for the set."

A notice was published by RTE on Saturday, seeking tenders for the construction of a new outdoor set for the soap.

Interested parties have until May 19 to respond. It is expected that work on the new set will commence later this year.

A substantial amount has been invested in the existing set of Fair City during recent years, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

In the three years between 2013 and 2016, a total of €775,032 was spent on sets for the programme - more than any of RTE's other in-house shows.

A further €168,964 was spent on wardrobe for the soap's actors during the same period.

"Wardrobe costs for Fair City cover over 220 actors, from main cast to extras and vary year to year," said a spokesperson for RTE. "Similarly, sets are a necessary part of TV production and need to be maintained and updated over the seasons."


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