They Cannae Cut River City!

Spending reviews in Scotland have concluded that 16 million pounds is to be taken from the budget of BBC Scotland. It is predicted that 150 jobs could be lost, 10% of staff. Twenty percent of each programme budget will be cut. Stephen McGinty of Scotland on Sunday reported that cuts could see a the doing away of overnight shows on Radio Scotland and losses to factual programmes, sport and entertainment. Sixteen percent savings have to be made on whole. However despite this gloomy overhang the people of Scotland have cried out over one programme rumored to be axed. River City.

The show which has run from 2002 is the only soap to be filmed in Glasgow and whilst it may not create the waves that Coronation Street or Eastenders do it still proves to be a comfortable staple of BBC Scotland with a  solid 500, 000 viewers each week. The real appeal of a soap opera is the relatable nature of it all. They’re not glamorous in their setting. Often the more ridiculous the plot line, the more unsuccessful it is with catching viewers (i.e. the ridiculous ‘baby stealing’ plot from Eastenders). So because of that it’s important that Scots have our own wee cut of the soap opera niche. It’s not big budgeted or expansive but it’s a slice of Glasgow that half a million followers can connect with.

With the spending cuts looming there have been several rumors of BBC Scotland dropping River City away from the scedule. With the show costing seven million pounds a year to produce it must have seemed like a temptation to cut away. Such hypothetical measures have caused a real stir amongst Twitter trends.

It’s not for everybody. The show produces a real Marmite effect. Very love/hate. This has been perfectly shown by the #RiverCity on social networking giant Twitter. Some users have cried out for the Glagae slang soap to be saved. “If River City were to go then that would mean the end of TV Drama in Scotland. Sad times if true” Voiced one opinionated Scot. On the opposite end of the scale a not so drawn in soap lover adds “If River City gets axed, the set should be kept as a reminder that such horror must never be allowed to happen again.” @GaryRBrown tweets “Ok so I don’t even watch it but River City has to be saved. It’s a national treasure love it or hate it. Scotland and Glasgow deserves better”.

BBC Scotland has recently dismissed the rumours and decided to keep the Clyde capers soap opera. But the Social Media battle may just have caused just the right buzz for River City. Perhaps these Twitter blow ups could see a new serge in viewership. Whatever the debates on its quality. Whatever the budget considerations my be. River City is here to stay.


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