THE cast of River City returned to filming today - and one of the characters is expected to be gripped by the coronavirus.

The BBC soap was one of many TV productions which was forced to halt filming when the UK went into lockdown back in March.

Now with five months of experience in a new pandemic world, the writers have introduced the storyline of 2020 - Covid-19 - into Shieldinch.

Glasgow Times:

Actors Bob O’Hara (Stephen Purdon), Lenny Murdoch (Frank Gallagher), Caitlin McLean (Gayle Telfer Stevens), Alex Murdoch (Jordan Young), and Scarlett O’Hara (Sally Howitt returned to set in Dumbarton to help create the Covid-inspired plot, working under new social distancing measures.

On set, the show is filmed with two reduced crews and a maximum of four cast per unit working in ‘filming pods’.

These smaller cast and crew teams will have staggered start and end times, ensuring that there is no overlap between the pods.

Glasgow Times:

BBC Studios Series Producer Martin McCardie explained: “While working with one-way systems, COVID pods and doing their own costume and make-up, the actors from River City are back.

“Alongside a fantastic crew who are working with strict safety protocols they are combining to bring some of the best drama yet to River City fans.

“All the emotion, heartbreak and loss that people endured during lockdown happens on Montego Street but our characters also find happiness, humour and love and are looking forward to sharing those moments with our BBC Scotland audience.”

In early episodes, River City fans can also expect lots of dramatic moments including the stalker storyline, the funeral of a local and the return of a River City regular.

READ MORE: BBC reveals when River City filming will begin and dates fans are likely to see new episodes

Glasgow Times:

Gayle Telfer Stevens said: “I feel so excited to be back doing what we all love doing and meet our characters again.

“It’s a sheer mix of emotions from gratefulness, delight and nerves all mixed into one.

“We’ve been off air for so long we all can’t wait to get up and running again.

“Fans can expect the same level of dramatic storylines, glamour and Shieldinch social distancing all rolled into one!”

Glasgow Times:

The return of the show is highly anticipated with actor Stephen Purdon explaining he has been asked non-stop about when River City is likely to be back on our screens.

Glasgow Times:

He joked: "People I have not spoke to for five years have randomly messaged me saying, 'alright mate, how you doing? Sorry to bother you but it's just my missus wants to know when River City is back'.

"Going to shops, so many people have asked me about it."

The popular weekly soap will initially return as a half hour programme from early October instead of its usual hour-long episode.

The BBC said this is a temporary plan until social distancing measures are relaxed.