With filming is on hold due to the Coronavirus pandemic, fans can take a walk down memory lane.
On May 18th, BBC bosses screened the final episode they had in the can before lockdown measures were put into place across the UK. However, from next week, BBC Scotland will begin airing classic episodes, with long-running cast member Stephen Purdon – Bob in the regional saga – describing the news as a “great opportunity” for fans to “relive these classic moments and familiar faces from the past”.
“We’ve enjoyed delving into the River City archives and have chosen some of the most dramatic and classic moments from the show’s history – and there’s plenty to choose from! There’s been lots of drama on Montego Street over the last 18 years and we know fans will love taking a step back in time with some of Shieldinch’s most famous residents.” – Kieran Hannigan, Executive Producer
The 10 hours of River City Rewind will feature the following iconic storylines:
Week one (15 June): River City’s debut episode & Bob’s cherry-picker wedding proposal. First up, in the 2002 debut episode, it’s Tommy (Eric Barlow) and Eileen Donachie’s (Deirdre Davis) wedding day – but a happily-ever-after isn’t the order of the day for The Tall Ship’s landlord and his fiancé when Eileen’s jealous ex-husband, Raymond (Paul Samson), turns up. Also featured this week is one of TV’s most memorable moments: Bob’s (Stephen Purdon) 2003 cherry-picker wedding proposal to girlfriend Zara (Shabana Akhtar Bakhsh).
These episodes were first aired on 25 September and 12 August 2003, respectively.
Week two (22 June): Dr Marcus McKenzie meets a bloody fate after raping Gina Rossi. Australian soap star Stefan Dennis swapped Ramsay Street for Shieldinch in 2003 to play Dr Marcus McKenzie. However, his charming façade changed when he raped Gina (Libby McArthur) and her daughter Jo (Allison McKenzie) later attacked the dangerous doctor. Dr Marcus would meet a murderous fate at the hands of fiancé, Heather (Jenni Keenan Green) who stabs and kills him. Jo is left with blood on her hands when she finds his lifeless body.
These episodes were first aired on 6 and 20 November 2003.
Week three (29 June): Liz accidentally kills her villainous son, Archie. Gina and Eileen dispose of his body over a cliff edge. Two of River City’s most iconic episodes, aired as part of the show’s fifth birthday celebrations in 2007, saw murder most foul and an unforgettable cover-up. Disgraced lawyer Archie Buchanan (Gilly Gilchrist) made a dramatic exit after embezzling money from his clients, cheating on his wife Gina (Libby MacArthur) and drugging his mother Liz (Eileen McCallum). In these two episodes, Liz accidentally kills her son, with sisters Gina and Eileen (Deirdre Davis) stepping in to protect her by disposing of Archie’s body over a cliff edge.
Episodes first aired on 14 and 25 September 2007.
Week four (6 July): Ewan Murdoch accidentally falls to his death from scaffolding. Family tensions take a bloody turn for the worse when father and son, Lenny (Frank Gallagher) and Ewan Murdoch (Chris Brazier), clash – with devastating consequences. Emotions run high as Murdoch men argue leading to Ewan’s dramatic, and unexpected, death. As Lenny attempts to make peace with Ewan, his son accidentally trips and falls from scaffolding in front of his father and step-mum, Lydia (Jacqueline Leonard).
This episode was first aired on 9 March 2010.
Week five (13 July): Eileen gives birth on the bathroom floor & Scarlett hides her cancer diagnosis. Heavily pregnant Eileen (Deirdre Davis) has a Christmas Day to remember when she gets locked in the Tall Ship bathroom and gives birth to her son, Stuart. Also in this Christmas special episode, Scarlett (Sally Howitt) refuses to reveal her devastating cancer diagnosis, determined not to ruin her family’s festivities.
The original transmission date for this episode was 21 December 2010.
Week six (20 July): Malcolm and Liz say ‘I do!’ in a wedding day to remember. A beautiful, much-loved episode from 2012 as Malcolm and Liz become Mr and Mrs Hamilton on the banks of Loch Lomond. It’s the day of Malcolm and Liz’s loch-side wedding, but with emotions running high and Malcolm’s illness causing confusion, will they actually make it up the aisle?
Episode first aired on 24 March 2012.
Week seven (27 July): Heroic Gabriel tries to save prostitutes from the clutches of dangerous criminal Sean Kennedy. A proposition from Sean (James Cunningham) leads Gabriel (Garry Sweeney) deeper into his murky criminal world, but could a newfound ally provide him with the get-out he needs? In this dramatic showdown, local hero Gabriel faces up to Sean Kennedy, with both men ending up on the wrong side of the law.
This episode was first screened on 26 June 2012.
Week eight (3 August): 10th anniversary episode with the Tall Ship explosion and Deek’s death. As part of River City’s 10th anniversary celebrations, this dramatic episode saw landlord Raymond (Paul Samson) blow up the Tall Ship pub in order to cover up his murder of criminal Sean (James Cunningham). Elsewhere, after being mowed down by Sean, Deek (Gordon McCorkell) fights for his life in hospital with best friend Bob (Stephen Purdon) by his side. As his nearest and dearest keep vigil over him, Deek dies.
This episode was first shown on 18 September 2012.
Week nine (10 August): Award-winning episode about Bob O’Hara’s emotional battle with an eating disorder. This 2014 storyline centred on the story of ‘Big Bob’s’ (Tom Urie) battle with an eating disorder, highlighting the impact on his health and his family, scooping Edinburgh writer Louise Ironside a prestigious Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award. The episode saw Bob’s mother Molly (Una McLean) face a heart-breaking decision about her son’s future which threatened to tear the family apart, with Bob finally embracing rehab to battle his eating addiction.
This episode first aired on 18 November 2014.
Week ten (17 August): Alex and Kelly-Marie are devastated by the death of their baby, David. With their premature son fighting for life, Alex and Kelly-Marie have a heart-breaking decision to make. Alex remains at his premature baby son’s hospital bedside, clinging on to the hope he will survive. Feeling powerless, he does everything possible to comfort baby David, reading him the story of Peter Pan – the boy who never grew up – in one of River City’s most poignant scenes. Heartbreak awaits when doctors deliver a devastating blow: baby David has brain damage and won’t survive off life-support.
Episode was first aired on 9 February 2016
“Like many productions affected by the Coronavirus, River City paused production in March this year and, as a result, we won’t be seeing new stories from Shieldinch over the summer. Subject to government and industry guidelines, we hope to resume filming and have episodes available in the not-too-distant future. Until then, we’re sure fans will enjoy reliving some of the most-loved moments in River City Rewind.” – Gavin Smith, Commissioning Executive, BBC Scotland