River City

River City

Infobox Television

show_name = River City

caption =
genre = Drama
creator = Stephen Greenhorn
director =
developer =
presenter =
starring =
voices =
narrated =
theme_music_composer =
opentheme =
endtheme =
composer =
country = flagcountry|Scotland
language = English
num_seasons =
num_episodes =
list_episodes =
executive_producer =
producer =
asst_producer =
editor =
location =
camera =
runtime = 1 hour per episode
network = BBC Scotland
picture_format = 16:9 Widescreen
audio_format =
first_run = 24 September, 2002-
last_aired = Present
preceded_by =
followed_by =
related =
website = http://www.bbc.co.uk/rivercity
imdb_id = 0338653
tv_com_id =

"River City" is a Scottish Drama which first broadcast on 24 September 2002. It is produced and broadcast by BBC Scotland weekly, and is set in the fictional Glasgow suburb 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, Poland and the USA.


The studios are in a purpose-built BBC Scotland set in Dumbarton where the set representing Shieldinch has been built on the site of an old J & B Whisky Bond which, to a large degree, has been modelled on a Glasgow West End scene. Examples of this reproduction include; the red sandstone tenements reflecting 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.

Current Cast

In its six years on air, River City has featured over a hundred main characters, with many more in a temporary or recurring role.

Famous Names

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 Pace and 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 Wicks in EastEnders and Valerie Holden in 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, Bergerac and EastEnders, where she played Rosa di Marco) also joined the cast as co-owner of "Moda Vida" with Shirley Henderson.

* Kari Corbett who played Kirsty Henderson in the original cast from 2002 is now playing Nurse Marian Mckaig in ITV's The Royal and Caroline Cooper in Hollyoaks.

* BBC Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills praised the show highly and was rewarded with a cameo appearance as a DJ at Hazel and Vader's Hogmanay Party.

* Lorraine Kelly appeared 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 Gordon guest starred as hotel owner "Rose" in the 2007 Christmas 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 DJ on the 96.3 Rock Radio weekday breakfast show.

* Natasha Watson (Freya Robertson) is a BAFTA nominated actress.

* 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 Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest in 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 UK soaps. 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 van outside his hospital ward window, while wafting a bottle of Irn Bru and an ice-cream cone under 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 explosion caused 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 controversial storylines, including those relating to children and families. Alice Henderson, when attempting to get revenge on her ex, Graeme MacDonald, downloaded child pornography onto his computer, but was found out and was subsequently prosecuted and jailed. The lifetime of sexual abuse between 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 medication to 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 sharks due 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 murder investigation, DCI Richard Whiteside, is an old-style bigot who despised Eddie for his homosexuality and 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 Kingdom with satellite and cable services are also able to tune in. BBC One Scotland can be found on Sky Digital Channel 971 and Virgin Media Channel 927. Audience figures outwith Scotland may have been helped by 'celebrity-fans' like DJ Scott Mills and Lorraine Kelly who have seen the show on satellite and recommended it to viewers and listeners alike. The show is also available via the BBC iPlayer on 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.


External links

*bbc.co.uk|id=rivercity|title="River City"
* [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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