'I can't wait to get back to Fair City and stir up trouble as Nicola', says Claudia Carroll
Fair City couple Niamh and Paul Brennan are in for a shock in the coming weeks following the return of Carrigstown "b***h" Nicola.
The feisty ex of car salesman Paul is on her way back to soapland for a brief stint - and it means trouble is brewing for Paul and wife Niamh.
Manipulative Nicola - played by author Claudia Carroll - left the show back in 2007 with her and Paul's son Oisin for a better life in Cork. Claudia said she can't wait to reprise the role of meddling Nicola.
"Nothing is ever straightforward with Nicola, and the new storyline is just fantastic. I'd play that b***h forever," she said with a laugh.
But Nicola, who left the show after discovering that husband Paul had been having an affair, is not the only familiar face.
Son Oisin, played by a different actor, is all grown-up and he and Nicola devise a plot to get as much money as possible out of rich dad Paul.
Now in his early 20s, Oisin is jealous of Paul's relationship with daughter Rachel and the fact that he bought her her own hostel to run.
After plotting with his scheming mother, Oisin arrives in town with a sob story that she has kicked him out and immediately starts to cause trouble between Niamh and Paul.
"They play Paul and Niamh into a situation where they have no choice but to take Oisin in," said Claudia.
Wife Niamh, played by Clelia Murphy, does not trust Nicola and is not sure about letting Oisin move in.
Claudia said she relishes the role and being at loggerheads with Niamh, given her and Clelia's close relationship outside of the show.
"If Nicola had her way, Niamh would be gone out of that house and she'd be in there queening it over everyone," Claudia said.
"There is an automatic rivalry between them because Niamh is young and beautiful. Really, Clelia is my best friend in real life."
Despite their tumultuous relationship in the past and the fact that he chose Niamh over her, Claudia reckons that Nicola still sees Paul as her one true love and never got over him.
"Nicola knows exactly what she's doing - she tells Paul that Oisin needs a male influence, a strong man. She charms him and flatters his ego," said Claudia.
"Niamh knows that Paul has a blind spot when it comes to Nicola and that she is manipulating him," added the actress.
A well-known Dublin author, Claudia is now on book number 14 - but said she enjoyed returning to her former role.