River City is set in Shieldinch, a fictional district in the west end of Glasgow, which is the largest city in Scotland. Shieldinch was founded in 1860 and was known for its shipyard (the local pub is named "The Tall Ship", which is a tribute to the district's shipbuilding heritage).
Filming takes place on a set built specifically for the soap opera in the nearby town of Dumbarton. Many Other BBC Programs are filmed at the same set during the summer months including Still Game, Millie Inbetween and Shetland
The storylines featured in River City are based on personal relationships and family life. Community involvement and the ability to come to terms with family issues, distress, and disagreements contribute to the development of each character. One of the original families that River City had been centered on was the Hamilton family that included Malcolm Hamilton; his daughters; Eileen Donachie, formally called Eileen Henderson; Gina Hamilton, previously known as Gina Buchanan; Gina's daughters; Ruth Rossi; Green; and Joanne Rossi. Another family that was integral to River City was the Hendersons. Both of these families have grown as the show has gone on. Eileen had two children, Kirsty and Brian, with her husband Raymond, as well as a stepdaughter Hazel who was her second husband Tommy's daughter from a previous marriage. She later had another son, Stuart, with Raymond that happened by chance. Joannne Rossi's son Franco and Ruth Rossi's daughter Ellie also became part of the show.
The Hamilton and Adams-Mullen families were the main focus of the plot for several River City storylines. The Hamiltons played centre stage from the drama's beginnings in 2002, and the Adams–Mullen families from around 2003. Around the start of 2007, the storylines were based around the recently integrated Murdoch clan. In the year 2008 a new couple, the McKees, had been brought into the show when they made a new home in Shieldinch, giving them a big part in several storylines focused on their lives outside Shieldinch and the challenges of coming to a new town. As well as this, 2009 saw the introduction of the students and the hairdressers, consisting of father, daughter and two stylists. The current longest serving character is Bob Adams played by Stephen Purdon who has appeared since Episode 1. He is the longest serving character since Deirdre Davis' (Eileen Donachie) exit in May 2016 (who had also appeared since Episode 1). Sally Howit who plays Scarlett Mullen is the longest serving female character having appeared since 2003.
The series began on 24 September 2002, with the wedding of Eileen and Tommy Donachie, who then owned the local public house, The Tall Ship, with their respective families celebrating coming together. However, Eileen's ex-husband and father of her two children, turned up on their wedding day and it became apparent that he was unhappy, as was Eileen's old flame Lewis Cope, who also turned up on in Shieldinch. Gina Rossi's daughter Joanne had an affair with her sister's Ruth's partner, Cormac, with him making an enemy of Lewis as well as many others. Eileen eventually had a sordid affair with Lewis, which marked the end of her marriage to Tommy. Next came the controversial relationship of an underage Kirsty Henderson with Russ, which made father Raymond livid, and in the same year, Derek Henderson's absent mother Alice turned up after a sixteen-year absence leading to be a real mother to Derek. However, it was soon revealed that George, Derek's grandfather had paid Alice off to leave him for good, and he brought him up instead. The new temptress of Shieldinch, Joanne fell for Nazir Malik, which led to nothing but heartache, however Shieldinch did have a happy Christmas.
nged husband Tommy was knocked dead by the 'Shieldinch Strangler'. The Shieldinch Strangler attacked many residents throughout the series, causing them to fear their lives. Revenge became a big part of everyone's lives as an abrupt Ewan injected Lewis with heroin in order to get his own back, which led to Lewis becoming HIV positive, and having to telling his partner Alice, who had already suffered a lot of misfortune. Young 'Shellsuit Bob' declared his love for Zara Malik who had been getting bullied for her race and her culture's traditions, however it didn't last, but Bob didn't worry about it any longer, as he had big problems when sassy Scarlett Adams rocked up in her ice cream van, causing mayhem among the residents of Shieldinch and ruffled a few feathers to say the least. Joanne after a failed relationship with Nazir, had his child, a baby boy, naming him Franco after her late father. But soon Joanne was in for more heartache when Helen kidnapped baby Franco, and even though Cormac managed to find him, Helen snatched him once again, threatening to jump into the river with the baby, as she was jealous of her husband's relationships with other women, however Ewan managed to persuade her not to do it. Whilst in the same year, Gina discovered that her new love interest, Dr. Marcus McKenzie was a brutal rapist, and soon Gina was one of his unsuspecting victims, leaving her scared for months on end, having to come to terms with her attack, and as well as Gina, Marcus attempted to rape Heather Bellshaw, however she fought back and attacked him, whilst murdering him in the process, leaving Gina's daughter Joanne in the frame. Later in the year, Hazel was kidnapped by a mentally ill Brian Henderson who became obsessed with her.
When 2004 came, Brian's problems seemed to get worse, and when he took his grandmother Moira for a joyride, he killed her in the process, however he walked away alive, and people began to see his problems were worse than they first thought. Hazel who was still kidnapped by Brian was rescued by Vader and they fell in love in the process, and soon trouble arose between Billy Davies and Lewis Cope, when Billy gambled a night with his wife Della, in a poker game but lost too Lewis. Roisin also was revealed to have a secret, a daughter who she had put up for adoption when she was young, Alanna when Raymond orchestrated a reunion sixteen years later! However, troubled Alanna got involved with a married Vader who was just using her, which led to disastrous consequences. Bob fell in love with a scheming Michelle, and her young baby Rochelle, and Eileen had another affair, this time with her sister's partner, Archie Buchanan. New characters the Cullen family turned up in Shieldinch that year, including sisters Zoe and Nicki and their drug addict mother Patricia, and that same year Heather was in the dock at Marcus' trial. Marcus' daughter Steph McKenzie avenged her father's murder by stabbing Joanne who she thought had murdered him, and Raymond remarried, this time to Roisin McIntyre. Dr. Vinnie Shah also committed suicide after being blackmailed from Zoe by giving her drugs to sell to pay for her families rent, amongst other things.
In 2005, when Ruth came back from Italy, she told Robbie Macfarlane she had been married, however he didn't believe her until Marty actually turned up, and they proclaimed their love to everyone. Local hardman McCabe also showed his softer side when his daughter turned up, Natalie Stewart, who had downs syndrome. Bubba Law and Declan Hartley's affair was discovered and wrecked Abbi and Declan's marriage, and Robyn Hunter was left in pieces as her partner Mac got together with a much younger Zoe Cullen. This led to Alice wanting to revenge, and in order to do this she downloaded child pornography on Mac's laptop, leading herself to get six months in prison. Alisha, Vinnie's sister arrived in Shieldinch to carry on the work he did and rebuild both her own and her brother's lives. Alanna had yet more problems as her abusive and alcoholic father, Alex turned up in Shieldinch to haunt her, however the suffering was over when he caused his own death, as his caravan went up in flames, and resulted in Raymond, Roisin and Alanna narrowly escaping it. Soon the devious Archie Buchanan wormed his way back into Gina's life after his affair with her sister Eileen, and Heather got the shock of her life when her estranged husband Duncan turned up with her daughter Freya! Franco's secret son, Luca came from Italy to meet his estranged family but his presence caused a lot of trouble, and he wasn't the only one when predatory Mac turned his attentions to young Nicki, which led to his family forcing him out of Shieldinch for good. Michelle and Kevin took Bob for everything he had, eventually robbing him and escaped Shieldinch to an unknown location with baby Rochelle. Della then gave birth to Lewis Cope's baby, but Billy still wanted to be a proper Dad too him. Terrified Scarlett who was shoved into a van by McCabe, met up with her jailbird son Stevie, and Ruth's mental health took a turn for the worse as she made policeman Harry Black's life hell after making allegations against him and she spiralled out of control after taking things out on those who are closest to her.
Scarlett is diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. Lenny Murdoch returns in 2011 and gets involved in a storyline where his daughter Amber is having money troubles with McCabe which leads to Amber shooting McCabe and McCabe's mother wanting to hunt Lenny down for thinking he killed her "precious" son so she sends her daughter to spy on him as Lenny tries to take control over McCabe's empire. McCabe's mother supposedly died after she failed to set Lenny on fire and her daughter Vivian gives DCI Craig Donald names of contacts her brother McCabe had so that Donald can take them down.
The Lenny Story continues as Gabriel Brodie gets involved and Lenny sends Gabriel to spy on Sean Kennedy by working for him who is pimping out local prostitutes and is supposedly a rival to Lenny's predecessor Thomas McCabe. Sean Kennedy starts to target Michael Brodie who is in jail for killing Cammy who had Michael's daughter Nicole under his grip and Cammy was supposedly one of Kennedy's henchmen. Kennedy is then murdered by Raymond Henderson by a blow to the head with a fire poker after discovering that Kennedy was responsible for hitting Deek with his car and causing him to die later in hospital. Raymond then proceeds to stage a gas leak in the Tall Ship with Kennedy's Zippo Lighter set on the ground alight as the gas leaks in. The gas leak causes the Tall Ship to blow up. in the aftermath Raymond never got arrested but Sean's father Billy starts to turn up having Vengeance on his mind kidnapping Stevie Burns at first and then got arrested then was released and tried to get a new deal out of his son's arch-rival Lenny Murdoch.
The drama is still ongoing in Shieldinch when Stella and Stevie's affair turns from bad to worse, and when Stella's brother Mark turns up, things get hard. Scarlett is worried after she believes her cancer is back which she fought against in 2011. Also babies are being born - Nicole reveals to Stevie that she is pregnant and that the baby is his, yet to find out that the father is actually someone she met in a club. Nicole is going through a tough time but when Young Gareth shows up as Billy Kennedy's Worker but soon Gareth was Determined to get rid of his Scum life with Billy and Start a family with Nicole which means he had to tell the Police everything. After a while Nicole's baby was born but as it was happening Gareth had been found out about his lies to Billy and Grassing to the police, so Billy shot him in the head and he fell into the river. Stevie and Stella are excited as a baby is on the way but when Stella's brother Mark returns, demons head their way, as Stevie sounds fed up with Mark. Mark then causes a fight with drug dealer, Davey in the flat and Stella loses her baby. Stevie blames Mark for everything and when Stevie comes on he sees Mark choking after taking drugs. He went to call his best friend Raymond and they try and save his life.
Zinnie battles Jamie McAllistair to the courtrooms as she tries to put her Hogmanay rapist away forever. Gabriel and Mandy try to keep their steamy liaison from Mandy's gangster husband Billy, but their luck runs out and a dramatic showdown leaves one of them dead. Nicole is at breaking point after losing Gareth and decides to move to Aberdeen for a new start. It's battle stations for Eileen as she tries to fight off the council demolishing the very heart of Shieldinch. Meanwhile, Robbie and Will are giving their relationship another go and decide to adopt. But it soon becomes clear to them, that it is a lot harder than they originally thought. With The Leatherhill Development ongoing in Shieldinch, Murray fears the worst when he believes the local Councilor (Eileen) had been bought off as she soon becomes the center of a plot to make it seem like she had signed the contract that will seal the deal for the development to take place, which is done through fraudulent money to build cheap buildings on land that is not fit for the purpose. As Lenny Murdoch is trying to help Councilor Frank Paton build his new development on a place riddled with toxic-waste. He mentions to Eileen that he knows that it was her who had something to do with Frank Paton's downfall and she had found out he had knocked down beloved Derek Henderson when in 2012 it was one of his schemes that went to far allowing Raymond getting framed for Sean Kennedy's murder and he realises she knows that they tried to cover it up. The Lindsey's arrive in Shieldinch and are the new faces in the Brodie's old house. They start to get heavily involved in some big storylines when youngest daughter Kirsty is caught drinking alcohol in the pub which becomes entangled when she later tells Zinnie lies about her dad Alan. Alan is the Project Manager for the Shieldinch Development and was far from happy when he found out about building on dangerous chemicals. Angus Lindsey has made a deal with Bob to do fake MOT's for stolen cars.
Elsewhere Billy Kennedy gets sent down for 20 years for Killing his Lawyer Paul Maleik and tipping his body on a railway track.
Kirsty Lindsay makes up lies about community man Murray Crozier before the case goes to court she tells everyone she was only kidding and Murray Leaves Shieldinch.
Robbie and Will get a 3-month trial foster son Finn McKay. Finn comes to Shieldinch searching for his sister but he is not allowed to look for her. He gets involved with school girl Kirsty and they both make accusations against Murray Crozier. Finn has a row with Will and Robbie and goes to Robbie's salon and trashes everything after will finding out about it and chasing Finn down the street Finn hits his head against a wooden pole several times and accuses Will of hitting him. Finn eventually decides to drop the charges after his Social Worker, Sandra has a word, and he goes back to stay with Will and Robbie.
Raymond is murdered by Councilor Frank Paton but makes it look like suicide, then DI Donald is soon on his case, leading him to arrest Frank. DCI Rachel Grant returns to Shieldinch.
Eileen resigns from the council department after Raymond's death. Alan Lindsay and Alex McAllister have a fight but soon get on with things as Alan says he wished he had never met him. Kelly Marie finishes her Relationship with Alex after having some home truths from lenny telling her that he knew about the Cancers right from the start of his Dodgy Development. Kelly Marie thinks again and brings Alex back into the family.
Rachel Grant Returns To Shieldinch to take DI Donalds Job and Becomes DCI Grant.
Scarlett throws Wee Bob out of her house after he brings home a few too many friends for a party and he goes to live with his Gran and his Uncle.
Angus and Wee Bob decide to buy a flat together but after paying the deposit they discover they have been conned. Angus tries to resume his relationship with Zinnie but she is not interested.
After the Mini Market goes into admin Scarlett asks Molly to invest her Premium Bond winnings in the shop, leading to a family argument which apparently causes Big Bob to suffer a heart attack. It turns out to be merely a kidney stone but as he had to wait for special ambulances and equipment because of his weight (and was humiliated by some teenagers using their mobiles to film him as he was being carried to the ambulance) Big Bob finally decides to do something about it. Molly instead gives her winnings to him so he can go to rehab and Tom Urie leaves the show. Scarlett is furious as she feels Molly has broken her promise.
Meanwhile, Stevie is struggling to cope after Raymond's death and buys some heroin but Eileen catches him before he can use it. She later lets slip to Stella about it. Stella thinks she is pregnant but it is discovered that she has an ovarian cyst; however she doesn't tell Stevie.
Frank Paton Who Murdered Raymond is let out of the Cells and isn't Charged with the Murder, Stevie Burns finds out and Tries to Kill Him With a Pair of Scissors, DI Donald Stops Stevie in time before he Finishes Frank Off. DI Donald Reveals to Frank that he Still Believes that it was he who had killed Raymond.
The year starts with Scarlett and Jimmy's opening their new business which Scarlett decides to call "Scarlett's One Stop Shop" despite Jimmy wanting to name it "Mullen's". Big Buster the Wrestler (Grado) officially opens the shop and meets his old flame, Ellie McLean (Leah McRae), who is Malcolm Hamilton's new carer. Eileen takes a disliking to Ellie as she believes she doesn't have enough experience. On Ellie's second day she takes Malcolm to Buster's wrestling match much to Eileen's annoyance but Liz returns from her holiday and is delighted to see that Malcolm is very happy after being to see Buster.
Kelly Marie decides to move in with Alex, after he buys a new bed for Callum. Scarlett's Stepson Paddy (Junior) Adams arrives after getting out of Prison, Paddy's Dad Patrick went to Prison when he was Younger and Scarlett had to Put Paddy into Care as she had to look after her own Children. Kelly Marie takes a sudden like to Paddy but it takes bob a while Longer. Molly has put an Advert up for a new Lodger much to Bob's Dislike, She Finds Many people but none she likes, but later when she has a fall over a plug. Ellie McLean and Molly Decide to Go to The Tall Ships Karaoke Night and Molly Decides that her New Lodger is Ellie. Bob and Angus go on a Day out in the Countryside then get Lost but safely Return Home. Patrick takes the news that Bob isn't actually Scarlett's son badly. Buster returns to Shieldinch after being wrestling in America. In his attempts to get Ellie McLean back.
DI Donald's estranged father is found dead in the river, after Donald does some investigating and finds out the hostel that his father was staying in is owned by Frank Paton. Eileen and Craig go up against Paton. Frank attempts to Kill Eileen the same way he killed Raymond but DCI Grant and DI Donald stops him before its to late. Alex try's to go up against Lenny but ends up getting followed and then getting shot.
Kelly-Marie decides to reopen Alex's Club Chrome after he signs it over to her. Alex and his Uncle Billy Kennedy who is currently doing life in prison for murdering his lawyer set up a fake security guard at Chrome but Kelly Marie knows nothing.
Angus Lindsay gets the job of setting up Big Buster a comeback wrestling event but the opponent doesn't show up and bob is forced to jump in the ring with him. Dan and Tatiana are worrying as Tatiana is getting deported back to Ukraine, Christina returns to shieldich to help her mum. Molly is more than pleased that Christina is on her mother's side considering what Tatiana's did to Molly's Son. Tatiana gets deported and Dan is down and depressed and Zinnie is trying to look out for him but Angus seas it as to close to comfort. Dan offers Zinnie Tatiana's job at the health centre which leaves Stevie looking for someone new at the Ship. After Stella's Cancer scare Doctor Dan gives her the all clear and tells her that it is more than likely that she won't get Cancer.
Ellie has concerns about Malcolm's health but Liz chooses to ignore them. After Malcolm's condition gets worse, Ellie phones a care taker and Liz and Eileen are forced to take Malcolm into a care home. Liz Gets Worried because the nurse told her she will not see Malcolm again for 48 Hours. Eileen is trying to help Liz and help her see the bright side of things.
Bob, Ellie, Angus and Zinnie all go to the first every Tall Ship Quiz Night,When they all get drunk, Bob and Ellie walk home as she starts talking about how she thinks Buster doesn't have any time for her and doesn't listen to anything she says Bob kisses her. The Next Day Bob tries to tell Ellie how he feels but will she stick with Buster who wants her to come on a 3-month wrestling trip or Bob is currently there.
Alan begins seeing Grace, Grace who is trying to let her daughter see that the man she is marrying Ewan is not as he seems and has robbed bob and is just around to cause trouble. Ewan asks Duncan his blessing in Marriage, Grace tries to persuade Duncan that Josie deserves better. Ewan takes a picture of Grace and Alan together in the Caravan and begins to Blackmail Grace, he will tell Duncan about their secret relationship if she does not give him and Josie her blessing. To make sure the wedding doesn't go ahead Grace tells Duncan she has been having a relationship with Handyman Alan Lindsay known that Ewan's family would not want him to marry into the Bucknall's.
Gabriel tries to help Kelly Marie down at Chrome much to Alex's dislike. Alex is already involved In dodgy dealings with his security man. Dan is at a low point in his life since Tattie left and needs some pills but in order for him to get enough he uses his patient Stella Adams name on the prescription. Stella agrees to help Dan this one time because she knows what he is going through. Stella begins to try to help Dan. When Zinnie thinks she sees Dan and Stella to close together she tells Angus she thinks there having an affair. Zinnie tells Stevie to talk to Stella about Dan. Alan Lindsey then decides to go in search for Grace, Angus also decides to go with him much to Zinnie's annoyance. Alan tells Angus he has his family in shieldinch and leaves without him. Lenny is trusting new lawyer Ellie Gunn with Cal's trust fund.
Gabriel leaves Shieldinch when Nicole arrives back and confides that she wasn't getting on as well as she thought she was.
Dan offers Zinnie a one-year internship with Peace Doctors in Nepal - unsure what to do, Angus tries to persuade her to stay. At the same time, Stevie is having huge doubts about becoming a Dad or what a lifetime with Stella will entail. He and Zinnie meet at Chrome and kiss. They agree to forget all about it. Zinnie then decides to go to Nepal but in the meantime, Angus proposes to her in front of a packed Tall Ship - she accepts.
Eileen organises the first Shieldinch festival which sees the arrival and AJ and Annie Jandhu. AJ was Eileen's first love at school and he arranges to catch up Eileen, who is then deflated when she realises that AJ is married. Zinnie returns from her parents with a dilemma - she still wants to go to Nepal and is not sure if marrying Angus is the right thing to do. She confides in Stevie, who is still having huge doubts about becoming a father, especially after meeting up with his own father. During a period in which the Tall Ship is closed, both Stevie and Zinnie get drunk and caught up in the moment and sleep together in the Tall Ship kitchen. This is witnessed by Bob who had popped into the Tall Ship to get tin foil for the festival float. Lenny is trying to get his car out of Shieldinch and finds himself with the problem of all the roads being closed. Unknown to him, a mystery figure was spotted hovering round his car by Jimmy earlier. Ellie's sister, Caitlin, jumps in Lenny's car as she is desperate to get out of Shieldinch to meet her secret partner to go on holiday. Whilst driving along the streets, Lenny notices a couple of cables in his car and the ABS light has come on. Realising what has happened, he demands Caitlin to get out of the car and tells everyone to keep back. Sadly, Zinnie has just wandered out of her flat and unable to react in time, gets caught up in the explosion and later dies in hospital. During a stable moment, she tells Angus that she is sorry but he is unsure of what she is apologising for. Lenny is also rushed to hospital and has a heart attack due to complications with his MS but is still stable.
Stevie struggles with his guilt over what has happened. Bob is angry and wrestling with his conscience on whether to tell Angus what he really saw between Stevie and Zinnie.Audience Award was specifically for Most Popular Television Programme.