Fair City celebrates 30 years with 'air of sadness' following passing of Tom Jordan and Karl Sheils

Fair City celebrates 30 years with 'air of sadness' following passing of Tom Jordan and Karl Sheils
Tom Jordan as Charlie Kelly and Karl Shiels as Robbie Quinn.

Fair City is celebrating 30 years on Irish TV this evening.

The show will celebrate with an hour-long special on RTÉ tonight.

The soap is the longest-running in Ireland having first aired on this day in 1989.

Of course, it wouldn't be soapland without trouble and according to RTÉ, there will be plenty of it.

The broadcaster says that "Ciarán and Barry turn Carrigstown upside down."

RTÉ Entertainment teased the episode saying:

"Previously missing, presumed dead, Ciarán has returned to Carrigstown for reasons yet to be revealed - how long will it be before Katy discovers he's back?

"With Nora and Decco already telling Barry that his card is marked, there's further drama when he is attacked by a mystery assailant."

Tony Tormey, who has played Paul Brennan since day one of the show, told RTÉ that he never thought the show would last.

"I remember sitting in the dressing room and saying to a couple of people, 'Do you think this is going to last?' But then we had another season and then it was taken off - it was gone," said Tormey.

"I got a call from my agent and they said, 'Listen, that's gone'. So I went, 'Ok, fair play' and you just moved on. And then I think six weeks later I got a phone call: 'Do you remember Fair City? Yeah... It's back on again'."

He added that: "It's weird being with something 30 years. I'm not even married 30 years!"

However, there will be some familiar faces missing from the celebrations following the deaths of cast members Tom Jordan and Karl Sheils this year.

Jordan famously played Charlie Kelly for three decades and he died peacefully at home last July.

Shiels, who played Robbie Quinn in the soap, passed away at the age of 47 this summer.

Shiels' final scenes were shown in August with fans describing them "poignant" and "heartbreaking".

Series producer Shirley Dalton said that as the soap celebrates, the two former cast members will be fondly remembered.

"There's definitely an air of sadness around that they can't be with us, to celebrate with us."

Ms Dalton said that team will have their own "little gathering" to raise a glass to 30 years but added that "there will be a big gap there".

"Cast and crew miss them hugely."

Fair City airs tonight on RTÉ One at 8pm.

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