River City gears up for the Commonwealth Games

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SCOTTISH soap opera River City will run a storyline connected to the Commonwealth Games as part of BBC Scotland’s coverage of the international athletics event taking place in Glasgow next summer.

The head of drama at BBC Scotland told Scotland on Sunday that both River City and Waterloo Road, the BBC One schools drama which last year relocated to Greenock, will show characters getting involved in Glasgow 2014.

Last year EastEnders enjoyed a ratings boost by featuring an eight-minute live section in which one of the characters, Billy Mitchell, played by Perry Fenwick, ran with the Olympic flame past Albert Square landmarks such as The Queen Vic pub. During the Games, lines of dialogue were re-written at the last minute to allow characters to praise the success of Team GB. By comparison Coronation Street was criticised for failing to include any mention of the Olympic Games.

Christopher Aird, head of drama at BBC Scotland, said: “We will pick up the Commonwealth Games more directly in River City and Waterloo Road. It is all up in the air at the moment, but I’m sure we will have at least one storyline that ties more directly to the Commonwealth Games in those shows.”

Aird said he was developing a number of dramas he hopes will run in 2014, the year of the Commonwealth Games and the independence referendum.

“Next year is clearly a massive year up here and all eyes are going to be on Scotland,” he said. “It reminds me of that time in the mid-90s when Danny Boyle’s movies Shallow Grave and Trainspotting came out and there was a head of steam with Scotland culturally on the map. It will be interesting to see if we can hit a similar vein.”