- River City
show_name = River City
country = flagcountry|Scotland
language = English
runtime = 1 hour per episode
picture_format = 16:9 Widescreen
24 September, 2002-
last_aired = Present
website = http://www.bbc.co.uk/rivercity
imdb_id = 0338653
"River City" is a Scottish
Dramawhich first broadcast on 24 September 2002. It is produced and broadcast by BBC Scotlandweekly, and is set in the fictional Glasgowsuburb of Shieldinch. Although mostly set in and around Greater Glasgow, "River City" also includes characters from other parts of Scotland and further afield, such as Aberdeen, the Western Isles, Ireland, Italy, Polandand the USA.
The studios are in a purpose-built
BBC Scotlandset in Dumbartonwhere the set representing Shieldinch has been built on the site of an old J & B WhiskyBond which, to a large degree, has been modelled on a Glasgow West Endscene. Examples of this reproduction include; the red sandstone tenementsreflecting Partick, a Subway station similar to those found in urban Glasgow and also the 'Oyster Café', which is modelled on various Scottish/Italian cafés found throughout the west of Scotland, including the University Café on Glasgow's Byres Road.
In its six years on air, River City has featured over a hundred main characters, with many more in a temporary or recurring role.
For a fledgling soap, "River City" has attracted various familiar faces on a permanent or temporary basis. Actors such as
Stefan Dennis(known to viewers of " Neighbours" as Paul Robinson), Gray O'Brien (formerly of "Casualty", " Peak Practice" and now " Coronation Street"), Juan Pablo Di Paceand Lorraine McIntosh(of the Scottish band " Deacon Blue") have played various parts in the soap. Eileen McCallum, who played Isabel Blair in the now defunct soap opera " Take the High Road" on stv, plays the mother of lawyer Archie Buchanan. More recently Jacqueline Leonard(who played Lorraine Wicksin EastEndersand Valerie Holdenin Hollyoaks) and David Paisley(who played Ben Saunders in Holby City) have joined the cast as mother and son Lydia and Rory Murdoch. Later in 2008, Louise Jameson(who is most noted for roles in Doctor Who, Bergeracand EastEnders, where she played Rosa di Marco) also joined the cast as co-owner of "Moda Vida" with Shirley Henderson.
Kari Corbettwho played Kirsty Hendersonin the original cast from 2002 is now playing Nurse Marian Mckaigin ITV's The Royaland Caroline Cooper in Hollyoaks.
BBC Radio 1DJ Scott Millspraised the show highly and was rewarded with a cameo appearance as a DJ at Hazel and Vader's Hogmanay Party.
Lorraine Kellyappeared as herself, an old schoolmate of Billy's, in June 2006 during Gina & Archie's wedding episode. She talked about her role in the episode while appearing on Channel 4's The Paul O'Grady Show.
* Veteran Scottish actress
Hannah Gordonguest starred as hotel owner "Rose" in the 2007Christmas episodes of the show. She was manager of the hotel the Adams family visited for Christmas, only to discover that Archie Buchanan was working there, though under the guise of "Douglas" as he claimed to have suffered memory loss and had been taken in by Rose when she found him.
* Kieron Elliott (Duncan Robertson) is a
DJon the 96.3 Rock Radioweekday breakfast show.
* Natasha Watson (Freya Robertson) is a
Paula Sage(Donna McCabe) starred in the Scottish film "Afterlife".
* Laura McMonagle and Jade Lezar (Zoe Cullen and Alanna McVey) sang together as
City Chix, one of the acts vying to represent the United Kingdomat the Eurovision Song Contestin 2006. Despite their entry "All About You" receiving the maximum 12 Points from the Scottish vote, they finished third overall in the Making Your Mind Up programme.
* Laxmi Kuthuria, now a doctor at Yorkhill Royal Hospital for Sick Children, appeared in the first months of River City as Jamilah Malik.
* Johnny Wu, the owner of the now replaced 'Wok My World' takeaway, was played by veteran Hong Kong and Asia movie star
Richard Ng(known as "Richard Woo" in the UK).
Initially the series was criticised for its poor plots and low quality acting. However, as the series has become more established it has produced mature and realistic storylines on a par with the national
UKsoaps. These have included;
* The death of Dr Marcus McKenzie, a respected
surgeon, after he raped Gina Rossi and attempted to rape fiancée Heather Bellshaw. During the attempted rape in Marcus's office, Heather fatally stabbed him with his letter opener. Gina's daughter, Joanne, was initially arrested and held on remand for the murder, but was eventually pivotal in Heather's acquittal - Joanne had been granted immunity from prosecution if she testified for the Crown, but during her cross-examination, she dramatically announced that she had murdered Marcus. With Joanne immune from prosecution, the jury awarded Heather with a "Not proven" verdict, allowing her to walk free.
* One of the show's best-loved characters, Robert "Shellsuit Bob" Adams, was revived from a coma in a comedic style not normally associated with life or death situations in soap operas. Bob had fought with his best friend, Derek Henderson, and fallen down a flight of concrete stairs during the tussle. While in hospital, the doctors broke it to Bob's mum, sister and brother (Scarlett, Kelly-Marie and Stevie) that Bob had fallen into a coma and it was unclear if and when he would regain consciousness. The family decided to try and revive him by recreating a scene from his childhood which Bob had told them was the happiest moment of his life. This involved playing the chimes from the family-owned
ice-cream vanoutside his hospital ward window, while wafting a bottle of Irn Bruand an ice-cream coneunder his nose. Miraculously, Bob's eyelids flickered open to the tinny strains of " Popeye the Sailor Man", and minutes later was seen sitting up in his bed, laughing and joking with his family.
* The entry of a new character, Shona, and her subsequent relationship with Raymond Henderson, caused upset on Montego Street. She is the sister of Roisin McIntyre, who was in hospital after a gas
explosioncaused by her daughter's abusive adoptive father. Her husband Raymond was left to look after all of Roisin's businesses that she acquired when she won a small amount on the lottery. Shona turned up to find out what was happening and was shocked at the state of affairs. Raymond had allowed "The Montego Deli" to close and she at first thought there may be something going on between Raymond and Eileen Donachie while Roisin had been in hospital. However, when Shona and Raymond formed a relationship of their own and got 'married', it transpired that Shona had not divorced her first husband, Tony, or two other flings that she had married while working on cruise ships.
* The show is not afraid to tackle
controversialstorylines, including those relating to children and families. Alice Henderson, when attempting to get revenge on her ex, Graeme MacDonald, downloaded child pornographyonto his computer, but was found out and was subsequently prosecuted and jailed. The lifetime of sexual abusebetween Alanna McVey and her stepfather Alex was also portrayed in a way which highlighted the psychological manipulation as well as the physical aspects of such abuse. A recent storyline saw teenager Paul Hunter becoming physically abusive to his mother, Tina, who lacked the courage to control him. And Joanne Rossi knowingly entered into a sexual relationship with her half-brother, Luca, although he was later exposed as lying about his biological relationship to her.
* Ruth Rossi suffers from
Borderline personality disorder, and her illness is treated as a constant factor rather than a temporary plotline. Flare-ups of her mental illness have seen her becoming violent towards her mother Gina and former partner "police officer" Harry Black, being jealously possessive of her best friend Scott, and facing the consequences of going off her medicationto help her attempts to conceive. Her obsessive tendencies, which included buying baby things even before she had conceived, drove her husband, Marty, into the arms of another woman, Iona, and the shock of the discovery caused Ruth to miscarry.
* A recent plotline saw the takeaway owner Johnny Wu fall in debt to violent
loan sharksdue to his gambling habits. To help pay off his debts, his daughter Susie began managing a ring of escorts and call girls, including the Polish girl Lena Krausky, who operated from the legitimate store front of Lazy Ray's tanning salon until their 'business' was discovered by their landlord, Derek Henderson, and they were evicted.
* In 2007, DCI Eddie Hunter was shot dead at his front door only days after coming out as gay to his colleagues on the police force. The "whodunit" was "perhaps" answered with the return of Lenny Murdoch, who had been presumed drowned after a botched police sting sent him into the River Clyde. The detective in charge of the
murderinvestigation, DCI Richard Whiteside, is an old-style bigot who despised Eddie for his homosexualityand is deliberately stalling the investigation. The actual murderer of DCI Hunter is still a matter for discussion, and this plotline remains unresolved.
The show is broadcast terrestrially in Scotland, initially with two 30 minute episodes a week (Tuesdays at 8pm and Fridays at 8.30pm) it has moved in 2007 to one weekly 60 minute episode broadcast on Tuesdays at 8pm. However, viewers in the rest of the
United Kingdomwith satellite and cable services are also able to tune in. BBC One Scotlandcan be found on Sky Digital Channel 971 and Virgin MediaChannel 927. Audience figures outwith Scotland may have been helped by 'celebrity-fans' like DJ Scott Millsand Lorraine Kellywho have seen the show on satellite and recommended it to viewers and listeners alike. The show is also available via the BBC iPlayeron demand throughout the UK.
The omnibus edition is also broadcast, usually sometime on a Sunday afternoon, on BBC One Scotland. Virgin Media On Demand shows the week's episodes on its TV Pick of the Week section for free.
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/search/?q=river+city River City - BBC iPlayer] (only available to United Kingdom users due to copyright reasons)
* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0338653/fullcredits "River City" Cast] The "River City" cast list from the
Internet Movie Database
* [http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/rivercity/ "River City"] at Digital Spy
* [http://www.joycefalconer.com/ Joyce Falconer's Official Website]
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