'Crazed fan bashed me with handbag over kidnap plot' - Fair City star Johnny forced to flee after attack in petrol station
Fair City star Johnny Ward had to flee from a petrol station after a deranged soap fan attacked him with her handbag.
The woman was so incensed at the storyline of his character Ciaran Holloway kidnapping Katy O'Brien that she launched into him while he was filling up with diesel.
The stunned star had to drive off from the forecourt without paying, returning later to settle the bill.
The actor said it happened after his character had kept Katy, played by Amilia Stewart, prisoner in a secret cell for a year.
Johnny, who has just finished his second stint on the popular soap, said: "It's very funny now looking back on it but I couldn't believe it at the time.
"At first I thought she was joking but then realised she was serious.
"We were doing that storyline and I remember going into the petrol station and topping up with diesel.
"Then this woman said to me, 'Are you your man?' and I said I was. She went back to her car and told her husband, 'It is him'.
"The husband got out of the car and gave his wife her handbag and she started hitting me across the head with it. I thought, 'Oh my God, this woman is crazy!'
"She said, 'I'm sick of that story, I'm sick of it! You have to let that girl go. I used to love Fair City and now I dread watching it because of you. You have turned it into a horror film that nobody wants to watch'.
"I realised the woman was serious and just jumped into the car and drove off without paying. She was very, very upset.
"I waited for about five minutes and made sure she was gone and then went back and paid. The guy behind the till was like, 'Is that woman for real?'."
The actor, who also played gangster Pauley in Love/Hate and was a finalist in Dancing With The Stars, said most fans were very friendly and polite.
He said he was amazed at just how popular Fair City was, especially in the country.
"In Dublin I still very much get recognised for Love/Hate, but my God when I went down to Limerick, Cork and Kerry they are just Fair City mad," he said.
"They are just absolutely obsessed with it while in Dublin it's very much Love/Hate."
The actor hopes fans will now see him in the Specsavers panto Aladdin, at the University Concert Hall, Limerick.
He plays Abanazar in the show, which runs from December 16 to January 5.
"I've never played a villain in panto before so it's something I always wanted to do. In Fair City I kidnapped a load of people and now I'm going to kidnap Aladdin instead," he said.
"I've been doing pantos since I was seven but missed out last year because of Dancing With The Stars.
"I know everyone in there and they're a lovely bunch and I can't wait.
"Pantos are so much fun and I'm really happy and excited to be doing it again this year."
Also starring in the production of Aladdin are Richie Hayes, the star of Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Special, as Wishy-Washy; former Hometown pop star and DWTS semi-finalist Dayl Cronin (Aladdin); comedian Tom O'Mahony (Garda Pong); Myles Breen (Widow Twankey); Richard Lynch (the Emperor); Hayley-Jo Murphy (Jasmine), and Rachel O'Connell as the Genie.