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Fair City

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Fair City's biggest storyline of the year is coming to a fiery end. Bill arrived onto the scene as Annette's new husband not too long ago, but the smooth talking American had more planned for her than just happily ever after. Over the past few months we have seen Annette and Seamus getting sucked in to Bill's dark plan, and last week saw the culmination of his evil efforts.

Today, we're joined on the couch by Pat Nolan (Barry) and Jonathan Ryan (Bill) and Rebecca Smith (Annette) from the cast of Fair City to talk about their latest burning storyline!

The Storyline that Everyone is Talking About..
Since Bill arrived on the scene 8 weeks ago, he pretty much instantly targeted Annette, placing her in the centre of his circle of crazy scams. Once he had figured out that Barry and Seamus were old time enemies, he used their position as Annette's friends to get what he wanted. Seamus is still mad about Annette and would do anything for her - even paying Bill €100k to call off his attack on her to murder her.

During this time, recovering alcoholic Annette was being encouraged to 'get back on the wagon' by Bill. He told her friends in confidence now and then, painting a story that he cared for her and she was getting out of control. He staged a car accident complete with a bottle of vodka on the front seat outside the Free Legal Clinic she had just set up. Everyone was now ashamed of her, and Bill promised he would mind her, all the while threatening to Seamus he would kill her if he didn't get his money. Seamus tried to tell Annette of Bill's plans to kill her if he didn't keep giving her money, and that he had given €100,000 so far.

Barry told Annette not to believe Seamus' conspiracy theories. Annette discovers the cash in an envelope proving Seamus was telling the truth. She confronts Bill and everything turns nasty. Bill hits her over the head with a vase and when she regains consciousness, she is bound and gagged. Once Seamus enters the office, Bill beats him unconscious and ties him up too. They are kept for days in the office, When Bill bumps into Barry on the street, he asks questions of concern about Annette and it makes Bill uncomfortable. Barry voices his concerns for Annette's safety to Christy. He tries to call Seamus' phone but it's out of service. Meanwhile, Bill forces Annette to drink some vodka and take some pills that make her seem insanely drunk. He gets her dressed and sends her to find Barry. She does and tells Barry that Bill is trying to kill her. Bill shows up and expresses fake concern for Annette and offers to take her home. Barry doesn't believe Annette and lets the two leave.

Back in the apartment another day passes, and Bill drenches the place in lighter fluid. Seamus tries to attack Bill, but fails and Bill sets the apartment on fire. Annette hits Bill over the head with a vodka bottle, knocking him out. They try to make their getaway but are consumed by the flames. The attention of Carrigstown is now focused on the Annette's burning offices, and Barry rushes to help. Him and Paul rush upstairs and save Bill, and presume there is no one else in there until Paul spots Seamus. Once outside, Seamus tells them Annette is still inside and at that moment, the office explodes and everyone is left knowing no one could have survived. Bill dies later in hospital, leaving Barry racked with guilt for not paying attention to Annette's call for help.

Pat Nolan (Barry)

Pat has been with the soap since it began in 1989. He won the Rose d'Or for Best Performance in a Soap in 2005 for his role as Barry in Fair City. He found the story line just gone to be one of the most fun so far, though he's sad to see Rebecca go. He loves those types of storylines where the audience is always one step ahead of the character. The action scenes were his favourite at the end, where they rescue Seamus and Bill from the flaming offices.

He says acting in soapland is weird because you don't rehearse and rehearse and it's always ongoing. You put your heart into it one day and then forget that info and move onto the next.

Since Annette arrived in 1996, Pat has always had some link with her in his storylines from romance to her looking after him when he was released from psychiatric care. Her exit from the show to him feels like a death in the family, they are all very close.

His background with Jonathan goes way back to The Abbey in 1983 when they acted in Hamlet together. Pat had a small role and Stephen Brennan played Hamlet.

Next up for his character is a small escape down the country to be alone with his thoughts, giving Barry a couple of weeks off our screens and Pat the chance for a rest.

Rebecca Smith (Annette)
Rebecca first appeared in Fair City in 1997. She was Paul's solicitor when he was divorcing Nicola. She says her character has covered a wide scope of storylines from IVF treatment to corrupt criminal law, Annette's morals were always a little flexible. She can't say this was her favourite storyline, because it ends with her exit, but it has definitely been one of the most dramatic storylines she has ever done, and if she was ever going to leave, she's glad it was with a bang!

The whole storyline she found quite intense, they would film all day in a small set that was the office she was held hostage in, so she really felt claustrophobic after a time.

She loved working with Pat from day one and will really miss their banter. She enjoyed her weeks with Jonathan too. She says he's a very funny man, he can do a lot of funny voice impressions.

Jonathan Ryan (Bill)
Jonathan's episode started with Fair City 8 weeks ago. People may remember Jonathan as one of the presenters of Bosco. He's also referred to as the voice over king. He really enjoyed his stint on Fair City. He knew from the start it would be an 8 week storyline for him, and he grew quite close to the rest of the cast. He's always wanted to play a bad again, and he's looking forward to his next project.

Character profiles

Barry O'Hanlon (first appearance, 1989) was born and bred in Carrigstown. He has an obsessive personality which can sometimes get out of control and he has spent some time in a psychiatric institution. A man of principle and ironically an ex-school principal, Barry has since turned his hand to journalism and is now the editor of the Northside Post. He has become fixated on telling the truth, no matter who gets hurt. His boss, Seamus McAleer is constantly undermining Barry's authority at the paper but Barry cannot afford to lose the only opportunity he has ever had to be (in his eyes) someone of importance.

Barry has a disastrous relationship history (including his fiancé Niamh Cassidy running off with his best friend Paul Brennan) and it's not going any better now as his job caused major conflict with his girlfriend, Annette Daly, the alcoholic solicitor who had a one night stand with his nemesis Seamus McAleer. These revelations and Annette's resumed drinking led to the car accident that killed Gina. Barry's world had caved in as he was plagued by guilt, ostracized by the community and faced a jail sentence.

Annette Daly has a legal practice in the middle of Carrigstown and has mediated between many of the community's disputes and separations. Annette thought she had found contentment in her relationship with Barry, but his crusade for the truth regardless of the consequences to their friends and neighbours began to make her question the man she thought she knew. After all, when they got together, Barry was just out of a psychiatric unit and, taking pity on him, she gave him a menial job in her office. Annette is used to being the one in control and Barry's independence made her uncomfortable.

An alcoholic, Annette hit the bottle again recently when the pressure became too much. This led to a one night stand with McAleer. The truth got out and the subsequent fall out resulted in Barry driving the car that killed Gina while over the limit. Their relationship hung in the balance, as did Annette's sobriety.

From California to Carrigstown - Like a bat out of hell: Bill Taylor's arrival to Carrigstown 8 weeks ago is bound to ruffle some feathers. Annette's new husband's past is as dark as the oil on his well worn jeans. Bill has ridden his Harley down route 66 and back, clocking up as many women as miles. A reformed alcoholic and born again Christian, Bill has a way with words that can get him out of any situation.

He's a Hells Angel but is he as saintly as some would like to believe? Bill revs up and rides hard, leaving a trail of dust and destruction behind him.