Former EastEnders actor Alex Ferns has joined the cast of River City, BBC Scotland’s weekly drama.

“I’m excited about my character, Rick – he’s going to bring some heat! He’s old school, definitely not afraid of anybody in any sense. I think he’s going to be quite charming and funny but he can turn violent if he has to. Obviously, I’m nothing like that!.. I love being back in Scotland – I always feel better when I come back, more at home. It’s going to be great working on a show that’s Scottish, made for Scotland. The River City set is incredible and everyone here seems really friendly. I’m a bit like the new boy which is to be expected really!” – Alex Ferns

In the North of the Border serial Ferns takes on the role of new character Rick Harper, a menacing criminal with no moral code. Motivated only by money, status and power, Rick is the illegitimate son of gangster Billy Kennedy who arrives in Shieldinch as a rival to Lenny Murdoch (Frank Gallagher) with his focus to bring down his criminal counterpart. His arrival will cause chaos as the Murdoch family clash with Rick and the community bares the brunt of his ambition – to Rick, nothing and no one is off limits.

Alex played Trevor Morgan in EastEnders, one of the soap’s most iconic baddie characters. Alongside his wife Mo Slater (Kacey Ainsworth), Trevor was at the centre of a harrowing domestic abuse storyline which gripped the nation in 2002. The plot ended with Mo finally standing up to nasty Trev before he perished in a fire. The role bagged Alex a Villain of the Year gong at the British Soap Awards.

Alex (left) as Trevor in EastEnders

Another new face to join River City is star of stage and screen, Iain Robertson who takes on the role of Stevie Adams, the wayward eldest son of Scarlett (Sally Howitt). Fans of the show last saw Stevie in 2005 when he was sent to jail, sacrificed by his mother Scarlett to save him from the wrath of his criminal connections.

A long stint in prison has given Stevie an edge. He’s unapologetic for the way he lives his life but River City viewers will have to wait to see whether his family reunion will be a happy one. Alex starts filming at BBC Scotland’s Dumbarton studios next week for an end of March debut in the drama. Iain makes his first appearance as Stevie in May.

“We are absolutely committed to bringing the best emerging and established Scottish talent to River City. In Alex and Iain we have landed two brilliant actors with a stunning body of work. Shieldinch is buzzing with news of their arrival.” – River City’s Executive Producer, Kieran Hannigan

After leaving EastEnders, Alex went on to star in the highly-acclaimed film Joyeux Noel which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, Golden Globes and the BAFTAs. Iain made his acting debut in the 1996 film Small Faces and went on to star in productions including Shetland, Whisky Galore and Rab C Nesbitt.

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