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River City is a Scottishmarker television drama series created by Stephen Greenhorn. It is produced and broadcast by BBC Scotland weekly, and is set in the fictional Glasgowmarker suburb of Shieldinch. Although set in and around Greater Glasgowmarker, River City also includes characters from other parts of Scotland and further afield, such as the USAmarker. The show will be rolled out to a British audience on BBC Two, expected in 2010.

Setting

The studios are in a purpose-built BBC Scotland set in Dumbartonmarker 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 Endmarker scene. Examples of this reproduction include; the red sandstone tenements reflecting Partickmarker, 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.

Cast

In its seven 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 Streetmarker), 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 Kingdommarker 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).


Production

Format change

In August 2008, it was announced that River City's format would change from a twice-weekly 30 minute soap to a weekly, hour-long drama format with 'very little referring to earlier storylines' and an emphasis on the newly-established Murdoch family. However, there has been criticism from loyal fans that the quality of characterisation and storylines have slid and that established characters such as the Rossi/Hamilton, Henderson and Adams/Mullen families have been sidelined.

Broadcasts

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 Kingdommarker with satellite services are also able to tune in. BBC One Scotland can be found on Sky Digital Channel 971. 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.

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