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Karen Byrne makes Fair City debut as she reunites with DWTS pal Ryan

As one of the best-known professionals on Dancing with the Stars, Karen Byrne is well used to showing various celebrities and soap stars the ropes when it comes to the tricky world of ballroom dancing.

But this evening, it's her turn to go completely out of her comfort zone when she makes her debut on RTÉ soap Fair City.

While the glitter and glitz Sunday night show may be off the schedule next January, TV viewers will at least get a fleeting dance performance from Karen tonight.

HILARIOUS

The 27-year-old from Ballyfermot will take on the role of Claire, the love interest of Sean Cassidy (Ryan Andrews). Ryan became pals with Karen while competing on the last season of Dancing With The Stars.

Dubliner Karen said it was her agent who originally suggested the part to her and when the offer came about, she thought it was "hilarious".

"Obviously, I would have watched it growing up. My mam and dad watch it all the time.

"I suppose it was more so the fact that I had never acted before, I have never done anything like that. I said yes straight away, because it was Fair City," she said.

"Then I kind of went, 'Hang on a minute, I'm after saying yes to something I've never done in my life.'"

In tonight's episode, Sean has been taking dance classes during lockdown and is progressing on to teaching - which allows him to show off the skills he learned while on DWTS.

Karen's character is coming out of the newsagents when she sees a few Carrigstown regulars egging on Sean, asking him to do a dance in the middle of the street. Unknown to him, she has been watching him perform on Zoom.

"I kind of go, 'Ah come on, let's do it for the craic,' and we danced a jive together," she explained.

Karen said that it was "a bit surreal" to see all the actors in real life.

"I was obviously used to Ryan, having hung out with him on DWTS. But I had to pinch myself when I was buzzing off someone like Maclean Burke for the first time, having seen him for years on the programme," she said.

"Everyone on the show was very warm and welcoming. It was weird, because I felt like I knew them, even though I didn't know them."

She is set to make a big splash when she makes her debut on tonight's show, but she will not be seen for a while on set again.

Producers are teasing the possibility of a romance between the pair but viewers will be left guessing as to whether there will be a spark between Karen and Ryan, who are both in serious relationships in real life.

The RTÉ soap has recently returned to the small screen, having taken an extended break during the crisis in order to work out how to socially-distance the actors and get everyone back on set in a safe manner as they enter the next stage of filming.