Friday 14 December 2018

Fair City's Niamh bids goodbye to Carrickstown after 22 years with 'surprise twist' - but won't rule out return

Clelia Murphy
Clelia Murphy
Clelia as Niamh with actor Tony Tormey in Fair City
Tensions will run high between Niamh and love rat Paul. Image: RTE/ Fair City
Niamh and Nicola.
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

Fair City actress Clelia Murphy has hinted at a return to the RTE soap at some stage in the future.

As her character is one of the longest-established characters in the show, the weekend news that Clelia was quitting after 22 years caused shockwaves among fans, who are already lamenting her absence.

Speaking for the first time about her surprise decision to leave, Clelia (41), who plays Niamh Brennan, said it was “my honour and indeed my privilege” to portray the character for so long.

An RTE insider told the Herald that Clelia is leaving for a “big opportunity” – a top-secret project not with the national broadcaster.

She has been part of some of the most explosive storylines in the show’s history, with her fatal attraction to Tony Tormey, who plays Paul, providing some of the key drama.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have been part of some of Fair City’s most exciting and challenging storylines,” said Clelia.

“Everything from being draped on the bonnets of cars to sparring with the indomitable Nicola to portraying a young terrified girl who had to take the boat to England.”

She cited the soap’s first two-handed episode –with Toremy – as one of the stories she will remember most fondly.

“A highlight was without doubt the first ever soap two-hander episode, which Team Fair City shot this year,” she said.

The dramatic episode saw Niamh smash a whiskey bottle over Paul’s head as their ill-fated romance came to a violent conclusion.

A huge ratings winner for RTE, it pulled in nearly 450,000 viewers.

“Being part of that was my fondest and proudest moment,” she said.

“What made it so special was bearing witness to the hard work and the excitement that was displayed not only by our writers and directors but also by RTE’s superb crew.

“Watching the team come together to do justice to the storyline was a thing of beauty – as was the support they gave to us, the actors. It’s something I’ll never forget.”

Clelia joined Fair City in 1995 and has been one of its main characters over the past two decades.

She paid tribute to the soap’s loyal army of fans, which she said was the “cherry on the cake” for her as an actress.

“Fair City officially has the best and most dedicated fans,” she said. “Without them, the show wouldn’t exist.

“The outpouring of love on social media has been overwhelming and genuinely humbling.”

However, this may not be the last we’ve seen of Niamh. She ended by saying she “hopes this isn’t the end for Niamh Brennan – only the next chapter”.

Clelia has already filmed her character’s final scenes in the show.

Producers have revealed they have a “surprise twist in store” for Paul.

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