River City wins award for ‘harrowing’ episode featuring eating disorder

Molly and Bob O'Hara, aka Una McLean and Tom Urie. Picture: BBC
Molly and Bob O'Hara, aka Una McLean and Tom Urie. Picture: BBC
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An episode of Scottish soap River City, which dealt with a character’s emotional battle with an eating disorder, has won its writer a prestigious industry award.

Writer Louise Ironside was presented with the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award for the “harrowing” episode, which was broadcast in November 2014.

The River City episode centred on the story of Bob O’Hara, played by Glasgow actor Tom Urie, and highlighted the impact of the character’s eating disorder on his health and family.

It saw Bob’s mother Molly, played by veteran Una McLean, face a heartbreaking decision about her son’s future which threatened to tear the family apart, with Bob finally embracing rehab to battle his eating addiction.

Sara Harkins, BBC Scotland’s creative director for River City, said: “We’re so glad that Louise’s brilliant writing talent has been recognised in this way. It’s lovely for all at River City to see her writing and the show honoured at this prestigious event.

“This award highlights the depth of writing and creative talent in Scotland and rightly recognises River City’s status as one of Scotland’s most-loved dramas.”

The programme won the “Best long Running TV Series” category ahead of episode’s of Holby City and Emmerdale at the awards, which were held at the RIBA in London.

Edinburgh-based Louise, who has also worked as an actress and playwright, said she was “overjoyed” with the accolade after getting her writing break on River City. She has since written for a series of radio and television dramas.

She said: “River City gave me my first job writing in TV, so to get an award for this show is just so special and absolutely amazing. It’s a show I’m immensely proud of.”

The WGGB Awards also saw Doctor Who and Queer As Folk writer Russell T Davies given the coveted Outstanding Contribution to Writing Award.

Other winners on the night included Armando Iannucci’s Veep which won Best TV Situation Comedy.