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We only had one chance to capture the car smash...’

Things are about to get explosive in Fair City — Jim Gallagher speaks to producers, the cast and members of the fire service about putting together this week’s thrilling episodes of the show

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Some of the cast and crew on set for the upcoming dramatic episodes.

Some of the cast and crew on set for the upcoming dramatic episodes.

Cast and crew set the scene for the dramatic episodes.

Cast and crew set the scene for the dramatic episodes.

Setting up for the upcoming dramatic episodes.

Setting up for the upcoming dramatic episodes.

The crew set up for for the a dramatic scene.

The crew set up for for the a dramatic scene.

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Some of the cast and crew on set for the upcoming dramatic episodes.

Blockbuster television comes to Carrigstown this week when a massive explosion puts the lives of some of our favourite Fair City characters at risk.

Several regulars, including Carol, Leo and Tommy, have to flee for their lives when a gangster throws a petrol bomb into the office of Carol’s Cabs.

And Dolores, who is driving past, is knocked off course by the blast and ploughs into a skip with her car bursting into flames.

The sleepy fictional suburb has not seen action like it for years…and Magazine+ was there to witness every bit of the non-stop drama.

We watched the extraordinary preparations that went into the explosive storyline with real life Dublin fire officers on hand in case of emergencies.

Top special effects company Team FX - fresh from working on the Hollywood film Disenchanted with Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey - were brought in to oversee the action.

We watched as they installed detonators to blow out the office windows and a fire canon brought in to create a 15ft fireball without actually destroying the building.

The previous day they had helped to film the dramatic car crash along with experts from Total Stunts.

“There is a lot of planning for action of this scale. It’s super exciting,” said show director Jason Branagan.

“You can only crash a car once so you have to make sure all the cameras are in the right place. But Team FX and Total Stunts are phenomenal at what they do.

“You have to let them do what they do best and I make sure I do my part by covering it all properly with four cameras and a go-pro.

“When it all comes together it will be very exciting. We have two days for all the stunt stuff which is brilliant but screen time for all the action will probably amount to just 30 seconds.”

The drama begins when a thug working for local drug dealer Ritchie throws a Molotov cocktail through the window of Carol’s firm to warn her to stop interfering in his business.

He has forced Tommy’s son Zak to work for him and he is not happy when Carol stands up to him.

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Actress Aisling O’Neill, who has played the popular cab owner since 1999, was relishing being in the thick of the action.

“It’s really exciting and I love it. I’ve had some great storylines in the past but something as dramatic as this hasn’t happened in a long time, especially with Covid,” she said.

“It’s really great to feel we are getting back into the swing of things and getting some real excitement back into Carrigstown. It just feels like the good old days are back.”

Executive producer Brigie DeCourcy told Magazine+ that huge preparation went into the new dramatic episodes.

“We had to get all the right people in place and we’re bringing back a character. It’s going to kick off in a totally different direction which is completely unexpected so it took about 12 months planning.

“The car crash and the explosion are stunning. It takes a long time, a lot of work but it looks fabulous.

“Audiences love a big explosion but the storyline that comes after it is the main thing and it’s a humdinger.”

The producer wasn’t the only one enjoying the day on set. Fireman David Connolly, of Kilbarrack fire station, volunteered on his day off.

“We are Dubliners so when they ask for a bit of help of course we will give it,” he said.

“It’s great to see what happens behind the scenes. Even simple things take such a lot of time. But there are loads of layers of safety and we are very impressed.”

Colleague Maria Partridge, from Swords station and a lifelong fan of the show, said: “It’s exciting to see these people and you think you know them. I watched the show from the start in 1989 with my granny and when she passed away I carried on watching it.”

  • Fair City is on RTE One tonight and from Tuesday to Thursday at 8pm.

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