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Family affair Fair City kiss between Fr Liam and Carol was staged by actor Phelim Drew's real-life wife

Not just in Carrigstown, all the soaps must clean up their acts

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Fr Liam and Carol stick to guidelines

Fr Liam and Carol stick to guidelines

Fr Liam and Carol stick to guidelines

A steamy kiss to promote a sex scene between bedhopping priest Fr Liam Plunkett and Carol Foley for last Sunday's Fair City was actually staged in real life by actor Phelim Drew and his wife Sue Collins.

RTÉ bosses insisted on ­extra care because of Covid-19 when filming intimate scenes between Fr Liam (Phelim Drew) and Carol (Aisling O'Neill).

Sue donned a black wig to make it look like she was Carol in the show, but insiders reveal her snog never made it on to TV.

"Viewers might have twigged it was someone else in the actual scene, if the kiss had made it to air, so it ended up on the cutting room floor," an RTÉ mole tells us.

But the insider added: "There's a caressing scene on the sofa between Fr Liam and Carol, after they apparently had sex, but the hand that rubs over his face is actually that of Sue, and only the back of her head is shown."

In real life, Phelim and Sue are married with four children and live in the Liberties area of Dublin.

Fair City was off air from April to September last year because of the pandemic, and then strict rules were brought in for the cast.

The only genuine 'lovey-dovey' scenes allowed are between Bob Charles and Renee Phelan, who are real life couple Brian Murray and Una Crawford O'Brien.

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Overcome with desire Liam and Carol kiss.

Overcome with desire Liam and Carol kiss.

Overcome with desire Liam and Carol kiss.

Soaps such as Eastenders and Coronation Street have also brought in partners to film intimate scenes.

In some instances clever angles have been used to give the impression characters have kissed or being tender with each other.

Phelim, son of the late Dubliners legend Ronnie Drew, first began dating Sue when he met her in his local in 1999.

"And believe me, the last thing I thought was going to happen was I'd meet my husband that night," Sue once said laughing.

She had gone for a drink ­after rehearsals with ­colleagues from her comedy troupe, The Nualas.

"We were introduced and I was instantly taken with him, to be honest," she recalled. "He was very quiet and gentlemanly, and I was kind of intrigued by him."

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Phelim, who grew up in Greystones, Co Wicklow, says his first impression of Sue was that she was all of the things you could want in a partner. "She was very funny and interesting," he said "and of course, she's beautiful."

The couple, now in their early 50s, married in Kinnity Castle in Co Offaly a year and a half after they first met in 2001.

As well as being a founder members of The Nualas, Sue is one half of the YouTube comedy sensation The Dirtbirds.

She has also appeared in Fair City, playing Erica's mother last Autumn. Dublin born actress Aisling O'Neill, who plays ­Carol Foley, lives in Gorey Co ­Wexford with her teenage son.

Viewers have seen Fr Liam finding out recently that he is the father of Hayley Collins, who was the product of a one-night stand he had with Ger Lynch.

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Phelim Drew and his wife Sue

Phelim Drew and his wife Sue

Phelim Drew and his wife Sue

Last Sunday fans saw him give in to temptation when he bedded Carol. After a fiery row, Fr Liam called to Carol's house and admitted that he could not get her out of his head.

They threw caution to the wind and ended up in each other's arms.

The scene cut to a break and then viewers saw Fr Liam's face being caressed on the sofa by a hand, which was supposedly Carol's. They made it clear to viewers that they had sexual relations.

In the next episode, Fr Liam went into Carol's bar wearing his collar for the first time, causing Carol to be alarmed as she felt he was drawing a line between them.

In scenes to be screened next week, Fr Liam confides in colleague Father Art, admitting he may be in love with Carol. Father Art advises him to think outside the (Confession) box, ­consider life as a layman and talk to Carol about his feelings.

Fair City bosses were forced to issue an apology to a 'heartbroken' priest after airing a controversial Confession scene last month.

An episode showcased Ger ­asking Fr Liam to hear her Confession, before going on to make the shock revelation that he is the father of her daughter, Hayley.

To add more 'hurt' to the wound, the episode was broadcast on Divine Mercy Sunday, which focuses on the sacrament of Confession.

Kerry priest Fr Kevin ­McNamara blasted the event as "disrespectful" and "hurtful" and said it "broke his heart" to see the scene.

The Listowel-based priest told the Sunday World last night he has not watched the series since the episode, despite once being a regular viewer.

"I don't know the storyline and if the storyline is that he's fallen in love or he's done something whatever, it's human nature, I've no quibbles with whatever way the storyline has gone," he said.

"If they want to bring in a ­storyline with his own difficulties and he has a crisis with his sexuality, I wouldn't be the one - it's the modus operandi, for instance if he was doing things like that, making love with his vestments on or doing something on the altar.

"But whatever way they've dealt with the storyline, again that's the scriptwriters and if they think that's popular, I don't have an issue with this storyline.

"I would have sympathy for people in real life situations. But I pointed out before, I don't think they do it with other religions."

He has now switched off from the soap.

"I used to watch it and I thought the acting was good," he explains. "I had come in that evening from hearing Confessions in the car park, social distancing, on Divine Sunday and I was absolutely ­flabbergasted," he said.

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