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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 17 September, 2002, 13:37 GMT 14:37 UK
Scottish soap aims to shine
River City set
Shieldinch is based on several parts of Glasgow
Scotland's answer to Eastenders will create a "star factory" in writing, directing and acting, according to the BBC.

River City, which will be screened for the first time on Tuesday 24 September, will revolve around four families.

The twice-weekly peak-time soap opera is set in a Glasgow community on the banks of the River Clyde.

The soap's regular cast of 23 combines well-known actors such as music hall stalwart Johnny Beattie with newcomers and younger actors.


River City taps into a Glasgow that is real

Barbara McKissack
Executive producer

The Hamiltons, Hendersons, Donachies and Maliks will be joined by characters Lewis Cope, Scott Wallace, Lily Fraser, Russ Minto and Cormac O'Sullivan.

The huge outdoor set built at the disused J&B Whisky bottling plant features three sandstone tenement buildings.

The locations will include the Shieldinch Boatyard, the Oyster Cafe, a tanning salon, a trendy design firm and the Tall Ship pub.

Long-term aim

Ken MacQuarrie, BBC Scotland's head of programming, said he hoped the soap would appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

He said: "Getting people to watch the programmes you make is what television is all about.

"But the soap is more than just a tactic to get a higher audience share.

River City set
The soap will revolve around four families

"What we are effectively doing here is developing a star factory, a long-running project that gives a boost to the wealth of talent that we've got here in Scotland, whether it is writing, directing, acting - and which we want to see develop and grow."

He added that while there would be undoubted interest in the initial viewing figures, the main aim was to attract a long-term audience.

Actress Allison McKenzie, who plays Joanne Rossi, said she was looking forward to her role.

She said: "She is definitely a man-eater and a good-time girl.

"She loves clubbing it, meeting new guys and drinking - basically everything that a 21-year-old loves."

Executive producer Barbara McKissack said the area of Shieldinch was based on a number of different areas in Glasgow.

'Great platform'

But she said the soap would ring true for people living in any city in Scotland.

She said: "We chose Glasgow because it is a big city and it gives us a great platform to get a cross-section of people.

"River City taps into a Glasgow that is real, the Clyde has always been a very much important part of the city life and it's very much a part of the new Glasgow that's emerging too."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
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See also:

06 Aug 02 | Scotland
06 Nov 00 | Business
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