Every Tuesday night, my husband goes out and I indulge my secret shame.
I pull down the blinds, unplug the phone, pour a glass of red wine . . . and watch River City.
While not all the storylines float my boat, there's just something about that show. I'm not the only one smitten. This week Superfan Annabel Goldie led a Member's Debate at the Scottish Parliament celebrating the 10th anniversary of the BBC's Scottish soap.
Cynics might deem this too trivial for parliamentary debate but its importance to Scotland's film and TV industry cannot be over-played. What with the near demise of Taggart, where else do young Scots actors go to hone their skills? Likewise for seasoned home talent such as Una McLean, Johnny Beattie and the splendid Eileen McCallum – it has been a Godsend.
What's more, it is very watchable and delivers what few other soaps can; genuine humour. The pithy one-liners and withering put-downs characteristic of West Coast banter are captured perfectly.
The current gangster storyline does nothing for me, but the development of the character Ruth's long struggle with mental ill-health was refreshing in that it actually tackled surrounding issues instead of associating mental illness only with the comedy villian.
Likewise, Bob O'Hara's character having to untangle his web of macho excuses and face up to his obsesity could not be more relevant and is a brave step away from jolly fat gags which are often the lot of the over-sized actor. Soaps are a powerful medium. While a documentary can be thought-provoking at best, preachy at worst, soaps portray accepted social mores and can influence in a far more subtle way by inserting opinions into the mouths of "folk like us".
But before we get carried away, River City is an entertaining hour on a Tuesday night when you're meant to be walking the dog.
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