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Fair City finally reaches RTÉ Player after negotiations with union

The soap has been running for so long that actors’ contracts did not include the possibility of showing it online.

Image: Screen grab via RTE.ie

RTÉ’s FLAGSHIP SOAP opera Fair City has made its delayed debut on RTÉ Player after the broadcaster reached agreement with actors’ and writers’ unions.

The State broadcaster had been in negotiations with Equity and the Irish Playwrights’ and Screenwriters’ Guild over rights to show the soap online and on new cable channel RTÉ One+1.

Last night’s episode became the first to go out on the new platforms after agreement was reached.

Previously, Fair City could not be shown online – in contrast to other original shows such as Raw and The Clinic – because RTÉ only had the rights to the initial televised broadcast of the actors’ images, and not any subsequent or online showing.

“There has been immense input and imagination from all parties to the negotiations to make this work,” Jane Gogan, RTÉ Drama Commissioning Editor, said.

As audiences look for new ways to view programmes RTÉ, Equity and the Irish Playwrights’ and Screenwriters’ Guild have reached agreement bringing Fair City to the Player and RTÉ One+1.

A spokesperson for the broadcaster told TheJournal.ie that the Fair City situation was unique as the show has been running for such a long time that the relevant contracts were drawn up before online broadcasting was considered an issue.

“Fair City predated any of those shows [like Raw],” the spokesperson said. “New contracts for actors would include provisos for use on the internet and so on, but because Fair City has been running for 23, 24 years the contracts don’t include any of that.”

Actor Bryan Murray, who plays Bob Charles in the soap, welcomed the agreement. He said:

As Ireland’s premier and most-watched drama, Fair City’s place is on the RTÉ Player and the cast are very happy that negotiations have been concluded successfully between Equity and RTÉ management.

More: RTÉ to cut top presenter pay by at least 30 per cent>

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Michael Freeman

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