Wednesday 17 January 2018

Fair City's Catherine reveals dyslexia battle

Catherine Byrne
Catherine Byrne
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

Fair City’s Catherine Byrne has spoken of her daily battle with dyslexia.

The actress, who plays Dr Judith Dillon, is involved in one of the biggest storylines in the RTE soap this week.

Now Catherine, who has loads of lines to learn every week, has told how she overcomes her dyslexia.

“If you suddenly handed me something, the situation would unnerve me,” she said.

“Even at the read-through on Mondays I stagger through, but everyone in the room knows. I don’t mind - I’ve told everyone. Everyone knows, so that doesn’t bother me. Learning isn’t a problem, it’s just actually sight-reading. I think it’s just nerves.”

The cast have a gruelling schedule, often filming for 16 or 17 weeks on the trot.

Catherine says she has no difficultly learning lines.

“Once I’ve learnt them, I can relax,” she said.

Asked about the tough schedule, she said it was “exhausting but very exhilarating”.

“You could have 36 scenes in a week. Friday comes when you’ve done all that and there’s four more scripts sitting on the kitchen table. It’s like training for a marathon,” she said.

“People don’t understand what it’s like doing four episodes a week, until they come in and go, Oh my God, how do you guys do this?’”


Catherine told the John Murray RTE radio show that there was no comparison between theatre and shooting for Fair City.

Her character, a separated doctor with four children, first came into the soap four years ago, and she said it was “terrifying” when she began.

“I suppose I felt for a couple of weeks, I’m never going to be able to do this’. But you do. Judith came in first and we didn’t know anything about her,” she said.

“So that was a lovely breaking-in period for me. I was able to creep my way in.”

This week saw Catherine involved in one of the most dramatic scenes yet.

Viewers watched as Judith’s obsessed, estranged husband Tommy held her and boyfriend Bob at gunpoint.

Catherine said her real family get a “bit of skit” out of her character: “They find all the snogging ridiculous!” she said.

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