Much-loved Fair City character to leave the show, after 34 years
"It was a joy going to work each day."
After 34 years in Carrigstown, Bela Doyle is leaving the Fair City.
Doyle, played by Jim Bartley, is bidding farewell to the show after announcing his retirement.
Bartley joined the Fair City cast in 1990 - at the height of this nation's Italia '90 euphoria - and has been a staple character on the show ever since. The arrival of Bela Doyle was actually teed up almost a year in advance, as characters spoke of a galavanting 'Casanova' sort, who was actually married to Rita and father to six children.
According to the RTÉ press release, announcing the news, Bela 'had a string of other dalliances, with countless ladies falling under his spell over the years'. He also fathered a secret love child, was tangled up in a love triangle and had a dalliance with a bridesmaid, at his love rival's wedding.
Bela Doyle and Charlie Kelly started off on shaky ground but the Carrigstown neighbours ended up as fast friends. In the ultimate act of friendship, Charlie invited Bela to move in with him when Bela's kids had deserted him, and he had nowhere else to go.
Jim Bartley bids goodbye to Fair City favourite
As news of his retirement was confirmed, Jim Bartley commented
"After over 60 years of association with RTÉ, firstly on Tolka Row, aged 18, and over 30 years spent on Fair City I have a tinge of sadness bidding this farewell. The time has come to focus on my health.
"I’d like to wish the whole team the very best of luck. To the cast and crew, in particular those who I have spent years working with, it was a joy going to work each day. My heritage goes back through the show, and all the way back to Tolka Row, RTÉ’s first television soap opera, with many lifelong friendships and a lot of special memories created over the years."
Fair City’s Executive Producer, Brigie de Courcy, commented, "Everyone at Fair City is sad to see Jim Bartley leave. He was already an iconic figure in Irish soap when he joined us, and his unforgettable performance as Bela Doyle has been a central part of Fair City for over 30 years.
"As the last remaining member of the Doyle clan, his exit marks a huge shift for Carrigstown. His presence will long be felt, both as a performer and as a kind and good-humoured mentor to many younger cast members through the years. I wish him the very best in his retirement."
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