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Soap swap Fair City's Sash Bishop to be played by stand-in actress this week

Executive Producer Brigie DeCourcy said that the decision to cast Charleigh was made very quickly

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Sash Bishop will be played by Charleigh Bailey this week on Fair City.  Pictured with Tommy (Geoff Minogue) and Carol (Aisling O'Neill)

Sash Bishop will be played by Charleigh Bailey this week on Fair City. Pictured with Tommy (Geoff Minogue) and Carol (Aisling O'Neill)

Sash Bishop will be played by Charleigh Bailey this week on Fair City. Pictured with Tommy (Geoff Minogue) and Carol (Aisling O'Neill)

Fair City character Sash Bishop is set to be played by a stand-in actress on the soap this week.

Bishop, who is usually played by Stephanie Kelly, will instead be portrayed by understudy Charleigh Bailey on the RTE programme in a change to casting following “extenuating circumstances.”

Soap regular Stephanie was unable to record the show due to illness, with programme executives quickly deciding to put the understudy on screen in the role instead of writing the character out of the show for a few episodes.

Charleigh will appear on the show in the role of Sash Bishop tonight, tomorrow night Thursday, and during a double episode set to broadcast this weekend on Sunday night. Stephanie Kelly has since reprised her role.

Speaking about the casting, Executive Producer Brigie DeCourcy said that the decision to cast Charleigh was made very quickly: “The character of Sash is involved in our main storyline and has significant impact to that story. To write Sash out for four episodes at this stage in the story would have looked very odd to our viewers, sending her on an emergency down the country or what have you,” she explained.

“Charleigh knows the ropes, she’s been with us before, she’s an incredible actor and the cast and crew have been brilliant working with her, supporting her and viewers will see Charleigh fit in as Sash as though she has always been there”.

Charleigh is familiar to the cast and crew of Fairy City having played Kelly Allen between 2011 and 2016.

The character of Sash Bishop is set to be part of the soap’s main storyline as she was recently forced into dealing drugs by Ritchie Lennon. Desperately searching for help, Sash turned to Tommy Dillion, whose son Zak was also roped into dealing drugs. Tommy then heads to Kilkenny in search of a shotgun to protect his family from the gangster.

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L-R:  Sash - Stephanie Kelly, Carol - Aisling ONeill

L-R: Sash - Stephanie Kelly, Carol - Aisling ONeill

L-R: Sash - Stephanie Kelly, Carol - Aisling ONeill

Geoff Minogue who plays Tommy in the soap said: "We know that Tommy disappears for a couple of days down to Kilkenny and he returns with a little shotgun. What his intentions are with that shotgun, people are going to have to make up their own minds.”

The father of two who lives in Stillorgan, South County Dublin has admitted that he has warned his daughters about using drugs as he believes there is a drug problem across the country.

"Wherever you brought your kids and whatever you taught them up to that point is enough... that they have enough savvy to make that decision themselves. But you're not there, you can't make those decisions when they're out and about and you have to just trust,” he said.

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"For some people that's going to work. For some people unfortunately it's not. Then it brings you back to the story [in the soap] what do you do to protect your kids, what will you do?"

"There's people using and involved in drugs in every single town in the country and it's just horrible. There is always going to be an associated criminal element to that because of the misuse of drugs,” he said.

Geoff said that the storyline in the soap prompted a conversation about drug use among the show’s cast.

"A lot of the actors live in different towns and they say in every one of those towns there's an unfortunate group. They are victims and addicts, they become addicted to drugs, and there's a gang on the streets, so it is literally everywhere.”

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