River City has announced that Jacqueline Leonard is returning to the soap as Lenny’s estranged wife Lydia.

Lydia hasn’t been seen in Shieldinch since 2010 when she departed amid concerns that gangster Lenny (Frank Gallagher) would come after her following her attempt to frame him for his son’s accidental death.

However, Lydia is now back as their daughter Amber (Jenny Hulse) is in need of some motherly emotional support.

I had a lovely warm welcome when I stepped on to the set this week – there were some new faces and lots of familiar ones too! It’s great to be back in Shieldinch and I’m so excited to see what storylines await Lydia. Never a dull moment with the Murdochs!”  – Jacqueline Leonard

Jacqueline will commence filming at BBC Scotland’s Dumbarton studios at the end of the month for a June reappearance in the drama. She previously played the role of Lydia between 2007-2010.

Other recent signings for the production include Alex Ferns as Rick Harper, a menacing criminal with no moral code, and Iain Robertson as Stevie Adams, Scarlett’s eldest son who returns with a grudge to bear.

River City characters Amber and Lenny

“We’re delighted to have Jacqueline back on board at River City. She’s part of River City’s rich history and Lydia’s return will no doubt prove unsettling for her stoic estranged husband, Lenny.


“Lydia Murdoch is a force of nature. A powerful woman who was very much the Achilles heel of Lenny. While others feared him, Lydia knew exactly how to keep Lenny in check and manipulate him to do whatever she wanted. They were quite a formidable couple.


“Lydia’s return is sure to cause ructions. While Amber will welcome her mother with open arms, it remains to be seen whether Lenny will forgive and forget or if he’ll have revenge in mind.” – Kieran Hannigan, Executive Producer

Jacqueline has previously had roles in Peak PracticeDoctors, and Hollyoaks, however the actress is probably best known for her mid 1990s portrayal of Lorraine Wicks in EastEnders. 

River City airs on Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC Scotland (Sky channel 951, for the rest of the UK).

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