River City: Edinburgh soap star brings a smile to tribute episode dedicated to the memory of Andy Gray
Holy soap stars, Batman! Grant Stott's become River City's very own caped crusader for a special tribute episode remembering actor and Edinburgh panto favourite Andy Gray, as his Shieldinch character is given a grand Montego Street send off.
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The episode, which will be aired on BBC Scotland on Monday, January 17, at 10pm, and repeated on BBC One Scotland the following evening at 7pm, was filmed as a special tribute to Andy who passed away on January 18 last year.
Andy had been a regular in the continuing drama since 2016 and was, in life, a great fan of Batman.
The episode finds Maggie, played by Pilton-born Kathryn Howden, responding to the devastating news of Pete’s death by preparing a community tribute, against her daughter Caitlin’s wishes, just as a new doctor arrives in Montego Street.
Stunned by news of Pete’s sudden death, Maggie is shocked at Caitlin’s reaction. Determined to mark Pete’s passing, she organises a community memorial but Caitlin’s grief is overshadowed by her anger towards her ex-husband.
As Maggie tries to make Caitlin recognise the good times they had together she admits she’s scared Caitlin will refuse to mourn her when the time comes just as she’s rejecting Pete. A pained Caitlin relents but stubbornly refuses to be involved.
When the community gather to pay their respects, some much-needed light-relief comes when Sam Spiller, played by Grant Stott, misunderstands Maggie’s ‘hero’ theme for the memorial - enter Batman.
And as Shieldinch residents fondly remember their friend, a heart-broken AJ struggles to read the eulogy for his best friend so Sam steps in, capturing the essence of how loved Pete was by all. As Caitlin watches on, she decides to bid her own emotional farewell to the love of her life, Pete Galloway.
Stott, who joined the soap last year and classed the late Andy Gray as his best friend, says, “I was really quite emotional when I first found out about the tribute episode, the timing of it’s broadcast and my role in it, then reading the script and all the little touches they had put in for Andy set me off again. I’ve seen it and was in bits, it’s so lovely.
"Filming that episode was very, very special with some very fitting touches of comedy; the reason I’m dressed as Batman is a result of a misunderstanding between Stevie and Scarlett about the ‘dress code’ which Sam tries to help out with in an effort to bond even more with his son.
"And to top it all off, this episode has my first scene with Jordan Young in it too - we’ve been desperate to do something together since I started on the show and for the producers to make this episode the one where Alex and Sam meet makes it even more special. It’s a wonderful send off for Pete and a lovely tribute to Andy.”
Another Edinburgh actor makes their debut joins the cast in the tribute episode, Gail Watson plays Shieldinch's new doctor Gillian Gibson, who arrives with her assistant Mikey Duffy. A larger than life pair, they make quite an impact but misinterpret Sonny’s talk about a community party... little realising it’s actually a memorial.
River City's Andy Gray tribute episode goes out Monday, January 17, BBC Scotland, 10pm and Tuesday, January 18, BBC One Scotland, 7pm.