Five fresh faces are set to stir up the tranquil atmosphere of Shieldinch as River City, the acclaimed drama series by BBC Scotland, introduces new characters to its narrative. Filming, which resumed this week at BBC Dumbarton Studios after the summer hiatus, promises an infusion of excitement.
The ensemble includes actors Emma Currie (known for “Crime”), Edward M Corrie (from “Guilt”), Frances Mayli McCann (of “Shetland” fame), George Drennan (from “Dracula Revamped”), and Ahd Tamimi (known for “Vikings: Valhalla”). Their distinct roles will undoubtedly bring heightened drama to the streets of Shieldinch when River City, produced by BBC Studios, returns in its revamped multi-series format on October 23rd. Audiences can catch the show on BBC iPlayer, BBC Scotland, and BBC One Scotland.
Emma Currie steps into the role of Victoria Campbell Baxter, a high-achieving legal advocate and the sister of Andrew (portrayed by Greg Powrie). Victoria, a woman accustomed to attaining her desires, descends upon Shieldinch to provide moral support to her younger sibling in the midst of Lydia Murdoch’s rape allegations against him. Despite her family ties, Victoria exudes an uncompromising demeanour, with her loyalty solely resting upon herself, possibly leading to further challenges for Andrew.
Meanwhile, romance blossoms as Mikey (Darren Brownlie) enters a relationship with his new boyfriend, Jonathon Whitlock (Edward M Corrie). Jonathon, an ardent seeker of love and the elusive “Mr Right,” sweeps Mikey off his feet with unwavering affection. Yet, apprehensions arise within Mikey’s best friend Gillian (Gail Watson), who suspects that Jonathon’s perfection might be a façade.
In a different corner of Shieldinch, Sam’s life (Grant Stott) is upended by the arrival of two family members: his older brother Seb Spiller (George Drennan) and step-daughter Chloe Qi-Lewis (Frances Mayli McCann).
Sibling rivalry reignites between the Spiller brothers. Seb, who doubles as a plumber and a musician, sets the stage for fireworks as the squabbling siblings reunite, amplifying familial discord.
Contrastingly, Sam’s step-daughter Chloe receives a warm embrace as she reconnects with her father figure after hearing him on the radio. An adventurous spirit, Chloe abandoned her life in Hong Kong for a fresh start. Much like Sam, her vivacious nature attracts others to her.
Finally, a new barber comes to town – Armand Ashraf, portrayed by Ahd Tamimi. Establishing his pop-up barber shop in Shieldinch’s novel Merchant’s Yard, Armand swiftly reconnects with his old friend Ash (Brian James Leys) and forges new companionships. Although Armand’s initial purpose is business-related, he finds reasons to stay beyond professional pursuits.
Emma Currie (Victoria Campbell-Baxter) says: “I am very excited about taking on the role of Victoria Campbell-Baxter – for one thing, I get to use my own anglicised Scottish accent! Now, I can enjoy bringing out all the subtleties of a posh Scot who is clearly suffering from a complex family trauma that no doubt has plagued the Campbell Baxter’s from generation to generation. I want to have some fun with her and show that people are never just one thing…we are all capable of wearing many faces. I’m very much looking forward to settling into life in Shieldinch.”
Martin McCardie, BBC Studios Series Producer, says: “Love, family and trendy haircuts. The new members of the River City cast will bring freshness and excitement to Montego Street, there will be marriage proposals, families reunited and of course a murder. We look forward to bringing a new exciting River City, with all the favourite characters that the audience loves to the viewers. We can’t wait.”
Gavin Smith, Commissioning Executive, BBC Scotland, says: “We are delighted to welcome a raft of new faces and characters to River City for the first of our new series as the shape of Shieldinch changes this October. There’s plenty of property on Montego Street to squeeze them in and hope the residents and fans will make them all feel very welcome.”
Filming began this week with the acclaimed drama changing to a new multi-series format. This means that, from Monday 23rd October, River City will air as three distinct series a year with breaks of six weeks in between. Each series will run for 11 weeks, twice-weekly with new episodes premiering every Monday on BBC iPlayer.
River City – which recently won ‘Best Drama’ at the RTS Scotland 2023 awards – also recently launched a new Training Academy based at the BBC Dumbarton Studios. The scheme, which has been created in partnership with Screen Scotland, is the first of its kind for Scotland and the award-winning series, offering training and development opportunities for both external and internal talent across two years. The initiative is part of BBC Studios’ commitment to find, develop and retain the best talent both on and off-screen.
Participants will be given access to classes and workshops, while a filming unit – made up of River City’s technical crew and actors – will work in a no-pressure environment to teach the trainees. Beyond the initial training, on-set opportunities will be offered within their new roles. Applications to register interest for the January 2024 cohort are now open via the BBC Careers website and will see a whole new group of entry-level trainees start their careers in storylining, sound, camera, costume, makeup design and more.