Monday 17 June 2019

RTE spent €173,000 on taxis, airfares, make-up and wardrobe for Fair City cast and crew last year

Wayne tries to help Karen but fears she is dead. Fair City, RTE One
Wayne tries to help Karen but fears she is dead. Fair City, RTE One

Sean O'Grady

Cash-strapped RTE forked out more than €173,000 in 2017 on transport, clothing and make-up for the cast and crew of Fair City.

The soap has long been a staple in the broadcaster's line-up and RTE hasn't been afraid to splash the cash to keep things running smoothly.

The bill for transport for all of the show's cast and crew came to €94,776.95 last year, which amounts to €473.88 per episode.

The figure includes taxis, airfares, mileage and car hire and covers a 50-week production schedule, six days a week.

Kerri Ann finds out she's pregnant. Fair City, RTE
Kerri Ann finds out she's pregnant. Fair City, RTE

Speaking about taxis, an RTE spokesperson said: "These are used only when necessary and only in accordance with pre-approved RTE guidelines."

"RTE has internal systems in place which control all travel costs, including the usage of taxis, and the approval of all travel is limited to authorised staff."

According to figures given to the Herald under the Freedom of Information Act, the soap spent a hefty €72,203 on wardrobe for the cast.

The outlay, which equates to €361.01 per episode, includes the cost of all clothing and accessories for the cast and extras.

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

The cost of hair and make-up for 2017 came to €6,588, or €32.94 per episode.

The figure includes the cost of make-up products, make-up tools, consumables and hairdressing for cast and extras.

Read more: Revealed: how much RTE spent on Ireland's Eurovision entry

The total bill for transport, wardrobe and hair and make-up for the year came to €173,567.

The soap's wardrobe bill of €72,203 was a notable increase from 2016, when €63,875 was spent on kitting out the cast and extras.

However, RTE did manage to cut down hair and make-up costs, which were €8,085 the previous year.

Fair City produces around 200 episodes a year and films 15 scenes per day, six days a week.

Around 18 characters feature in each episode, although this can be bumped up to as many as 35 for special episodes like weddings or Christmas episodes.

Around 120 extras are used each week with "special extras" including doctors, nurses, postal workers and gardai all having access to make-up, hairdressing and wardrobe.

An RTE spokesperson said the figures represented less than 1pc of the overall episodic budget for Fair City.

They also noted the show's endearing popularity with viewers since it debuted on television in 1989.

"Fair City is the longest-running Irish soap opera and is currently in its 29th series," the spokesperson said.

"The average annual viewing figures for Fair City in 2017 were 415,000 viewers with a 30pc audience share.

"There were over seven million streams of Fair City including extras on RTE Player in 2017."

The show has had the nation hooked with many dark storylines in recent years.

Fans were enthralled by the Katy kidnapping storyline, which saw the teenager held hostage by crazed Ciaran for more than a year, with most of those episodes airing in 2017.

More recently, everyone became a suspect after Karen was found murdered in cold blood, with seemingly sweet Kerri-Ann eventually revealed as the killer, while she was pregnant with her first child.


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