Thursday 27 June 2019

'Fair City will not be outsourced from Montrose' - channel boss

Fair City actors Rebecca Grimes (left), Tony Tormey and Clelia Murphy Picture: Collins
Fair City actors Rebecca Grimes (left), Tony Tormey and Clelia Murphy Picture: Collins
Sean Gallagher interviews Larry Bass of Shinawil Productions.

RTE has moved to reassure staff that Fair City is staying in Montrose amid speculation it would be outsourced.

RTE One and Two channel controller Adrian Lynch has quelled fears the soap favourite would move from its home on the extensive D4 campus.

"Fair City is not going to be outsourced," he said in an interview on Radio 1's Drive-time.

The state broadcaster shocked staff earlier this week when it said that, in a move to cut costs, young people's programmes would no longer be made in-house.

The station is reviewing other output but it seems the popular soap, which recently celebrated its 4,000th episode, will remain in-house.

However, Larry Bass, the founder of production company Shinawil, which produces other shows for RTE, said a number of Irish stations outsource their flagship dramas.

"Red Rock is made by an independent company for TV3 and Ros na Run is made by an independent company for TG4. Coronation Street is also outsourced.

"A lot of the key production know-how is in the independent sector," he told the Herald.

Bass believes if the long-running series was to be moved to an independent company, it would give RTE the chance to spend money elsewhere.

"Fair City going out would probably answer a number of issues for RTE in terms of making space available in Montrose. Maybe to sell and invest in other capital projects," he said.

The seasoned producer, whose company is behind shows such as The Voice Of Ireland and the upcoming Dancing With The Stars, said a career in television was not for those looking for a "job for life".

"The sector is tough and anyone working in the industry needs to be flexible. If people want to work in television, they have to understand that you have to be very mobile. You're not going to have a job for life. That's just not the business, whether you work in TV or film.

"The day and age of doing the same job forever is over."


The producer insisted those working in television should welcome the changes the move by RTE will bring, adding that people can either choose to look at it in a positive or negative light.

"It's very freelance and a very fruitful career path but you have to be prepared to move and look at your career and see where you want to go.

"People can look at this as glass half empty, doom and gloom, or they can look at it as, 'we can go to the independent sector and make our mark and build a career'."

RTE confirmed that there may be other cost-cutting decisions if the fall-out from Brexit continues.

Commercial income at the station has dropped in the wake of the shock vote.

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