BBC Studios Continuing Drama announces brand new River City Training Academy

BBC Studios Continuing Drama is launching a brand new training academy for the multi-award winning Scottish drama series River City, it has been announced today.

The scheme, which has been created in partnership with Screen Scotland, will be a first of its kind for Scotland and the award-winning series. It will offer training and development opportunities for both external and internal talent across two years. The initiative is part of BBC Studios’ commitment to find, develop and retain the best talent both on and off screen.

The training academy will begin in August 2023. Participants will be given access to classes and workshops, while a filming unit – made up of River City’s technical crew and actors - will work in a no-pressure environment to teach the trainees. Beyond the initial training, on-set opportunities will be offered within their new roles.

Applications to register interest for the January 2024 cohort are now open via the BBC Careers website and will see a whole new group of entry-level trainees start their careers in storylining, sound, camera, costume, makeup design and more. 

River City already has a rich history of nurturing talent both on and off screen over the last 21 years, including actor Sam Heughan (Outlander), director Lynsey Miller (Anne Boleyn, Deadwater Fell), writer Ciara Conway (Screw, Holby City), producer Jess Connell (Tin Star, For Her Sins) and many more. The training academy will continue to build upon this and not only strengthen the River City team, but also contribute to the rich and diverse skillset within the Scottish television and film industry as a whole.

Kris Green, Training Executive at BBC Studios Continuing Drama, says: River City sits proudly at the heart of the Scottish TV landscape and the joint enterprise between BBC Studios and Screen Scotland means we can bring to life an ambitious training academy that not only trains key talent for the show; but also nurtures the wider pipeline of creative talent in Scotland.”

Martin McCardie, Executive Producer of River City for BBC Studios, says: “Since River City began in 2002 it has always been a gateway into the industry for many, from directors, DOPs, Camera Operators, Boom Ops to 1st, 2nd and 3rd ADs,  all have passed through the doors of BBC Studios in Dumbarton. The Academy will be a game changer in building on our success rate in giving people an opportunity to come into the industry in Scotland, strengthening the pipeline of production talent and delivering even more award winners of the future.” 

Steven Little, Head of Production at Screen Scotland said: “Levels of production for film and TV in Scotland continue to grow. BBC Studios and Screen Scotland are working together here to develop Scotland’s crew and meet that opportunity. The River City Training Academy will provide vital opportunities for people from across Scotland to get their start in the industry whilst at the same time providing invaluable upskilling opportunities for existing crew, supporting Screen Scotland’s aim to build a sustainable, accessible, and diverse screen sector for Scotland.”

River City is a BBC Studios production for BBC Scotland. The Executive Producer for BBC Studios is Martin McCardie, the Series Producer is Kevin McComiskie and the Line Producer is Margaret Mackenzie.

To register for the January intake of the River City academy, prospective applicants can register their interest here:

More information

About BBC Studios Continuing Drama Productions

BBC Studios Continuing Drama produces around 300 hours of scripted drama per year across its four regional production bases in Wales (Casualty, Pobol y Cwm and Anfamol), Birmingham (Doctors, Father Brown and Sister Boniface), Hertfordshire (EastEnders) and Scotland (River City). Our productions engage around 3,000 freelancers each year and continue to train talent as a year-round commitment to the industry.

Over the last 10 years, our programmes have been taken home 170 awards in recognition of their bold, relevant storytelling and their innovative production values. Most recently, River City won the RTS Scotland Award for ‘Best Drama’ for its 20th Anniversary special, while Casualty won the BAFTA, RTS and the Rose D’or. EastEnders won all four popular votes - including ‘Best Soap’ – at this year’s British Soap Awards where Doctors won ‘Best On-Screen Partnership’.

About BBC Studios

BBC Studios is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC Group with sales of £2.1 billion (2021/22: £1,630 million). Able to take an idea seamlessly from thought to screen and beyond, the business is built on two operating areas: the global Content Studio, which produces, invests and distributes content globally and Channels & Streaming, with BBC branded channels, services and joint ventures in the UK and internationally. Around 2,500 hours of award-winning British programmes are made by the business every year, with over 80% of total BBC Studios revenues coming from non-BBC customers including Discovery, Apple and Netflix. Its content is internationally recognised across a broad range of genres and specialisms, with brands like Strictly Come Dancing/Dancing with the Stars, Top Gear, the Planet series, Bluey and Doctor Who. is BBC Studios’ global digital news platform, offering up-to-the-minute international news, in-depth analysis and features.