YOU fire a shot at Jordan Young, River City’s sensitive and misunderstood young gangster, and he’s more than happy to take it on the chest.

Here’s the bullet; does he ever panic his storylines are too good, in the sense they are so extreme, so heightened, that his character Alex, having being involved in so much mad stuff, (he’s now on the run from prison) leaves him vulnerable to being exited?

After all, there are only so many times you can have affairs (Annie and Lydia) or plot the demise of your dad, or be framed for murder?

“All the time,” he grins. “Well, panic is maybe the wrong word. But there is a real awareness that the character I play is operating in a murky world of danger.

“And when you have Lenny (his less than sympathetic father) wanting to kill you all that time, how long can you go on?”

The Fife-born actor adds; “I’ve been really lucky they’ve kept me in the show to this point. If you are playing a safer character, more comedic or ‘normal’ if you like, then you may have a longer shelf life.”

But having said all that, just because your dad wants you dead and you’re a fast-improving gangster yourself, doesn’t automatically mean your destined to be swimming with the Shieldinch fishes?

Producers know where the heat is. And the heat between Lenny and Alex could power the Clyde grid.

“No, that’s right,” says the 39 year-old, grinning. “I can remember watching Neighbours – lunchtime and the evening repeat - during the Harold Bishop years away when suddenly he walked back out of the sea. And if Harold can come back then anything is possible.

“But having said that, I would always want to be kept on because the producers have something interesting to do with the character, not for the sake of it.”

Jordan Young, as always arrives at an interview his pockets full of amazement and delight. The actor, who also stars in returning sketch series Scot Squad, and is a top-league panto performer, can’t quite believe his fortune.

The very fact he can convince as a gangster Alex reveals his talent. You’d imagine as a schoolboy he never even once nicked a Crème Egg out of Woolies.

“I’m too goofy to be a gangster,” he says, laughing. “But the reason people become actors is the chance to play these extreme characters.

“Every character has to have a tiny bit of you to make them believable, but it’s role play. We’re kids who have grown up continuing to play with guns, living out fantasies. And we happen to get paid for it.”

Jordan Young’s immersion in acting was precipitated by the very worst of reasons. His dad was killed in a motoring accident when Jordan was 14.

“It was 25 years ago yesterday,” he says in soft voice. “When my dad died I really threw myself into it. I wasn’t in any drama clubs but at school it was the one thing I really enjoyed. I had real passion for it.”

When Jordan was 16 his drama teacher suggested he could make a career of this. “But it’s a bizarre career. And when you’re from a normal, non-arty family, no one really understands what being an actor entails.

“I remember getting my first job at the Lyceum, and it was amazing, being part of a Shakespeare, but my mate’s sister said to me; ‘Yeh, but are JJB Sports going to let you off?’

“I had worked at the shop as a student, and she couldn’t comprehend that this was my career now, that I would actually make money from it.”

There’s a sense Jordan Young couldn’t quite believe it was happening either. But does this mean if the school drama teacher hadn’t planted the seed he would never have considered acting as a career?

“I would never, never have done it,” he says in emphatic voice. “But apparently my dad had said to my mum, which I learned when I was much older, ‘He’ll be on the stage one day.’

“I hate to think I was one of these show-offy, precocious kids, but it’s true I always liked doing funny voices. And I loved to get up there and entertain. When I was younger.”

Curiously, the longer Jordan Young has been an actor, the less self-confident he’s become. “It’s not nerves as such but I’m much more self-conscious. I like to hide behind a character even more. If you play someone or you’re funny up there on stage or on television with that comes an expectation. And I find it harder to see myself as a successful actor.” He asks rhetorically; “What is success?”

It’s two TV series, a major panto and the chance to appear in great theatre over the year, Jordan. “Yes, but for everyone who thinks I’m a good actor there will be 10 folk who think I’m the worst actor in Scotland. And this isn’t self-deprecation. It’s the way I feel.”

It’s perhaps not a bad way to feel. If Jordan Young were less self-aware he would be less good at acting.

“I know I’m lucky,” he says of his career. “I say to my wife (Karen) I adore what I do with a passion. But I also know there are great actors struggling to be seen. And sometimes luck can kick in.”

Luck, he says, plays its part because there are no filming overlaps between River City and Scot Squad. And he’s free to appear in panto. But hard work can play a part. Jordan worked in a range of jobs for years, call centres, bars, before moving up the acting gears. He was even a binman for a while.

“My brother’s best mate owned a waste recycling company in Edinburgh. I was up at quarter to five every morning and I had some of the best laughs ever. The banter was amazing. And I was great at the radio competitions we used to have, Guess The Year sort of thing.”

Yet, he nevertheless revealed the talent required for theatre plays such as Black Watch. “I try hard,” he says. “But the most important thing in this business is not to be an a*******. You need to be a good company member. And what I lack in ability I make up for in being nice to people and having a laugh.

He adds with big laugh; “Hopefully, there’s some ability in there as well.”

Scot Squad, BBC Scotland, April 4 at 10pm and BBC 1 Scotland, April 8 at 10.35pm.

River City, BBC Scotland April 8 at 10.00pm, and BBC 1 Scotland, April 9, 8.00pm.