RIVER CITY star Iain Robertson has a big week ahead of him.

Not only is the Shieldinch favourite preparing for one of the show's most creative episodes yet - he is about to turn 40 on Thursday.

"I am going to be getting the jag two days before my birthday," revealed the actor who plays Stevie O'Hara in the hit BBC soap.

He continued: "I know some people have struggled a bit after getting the vaccine. I am going to hopefully be OK.

"I actually feel a wee bit guilty if I go ahead and celebrate because my two best pals had to celebrate their 40ths in lockdown.

"I did have big plans last year. I thought I spent my 39th alone but at least my 40th I will be able to have a big shindig.

"But my two pals have just turned 40 and we are contemplating maybe having a 120th later in the year when everyone has had their vaccinations and we can maybe get a gathering of 20 to 30 people to celebrate our three 40ths."

He added: "On the actual day itself, believe it or not, I have to go to work.

"But given that so many people like Stevie have seen their livelihoods diminish because of this pandemic, you won't find me complaining."

READ MORE: River city favourite 'Roisin' to return while Grant Stott joins the soap

Glasgow Times:

It is easy to understand why complaints are the last thing on Iain's mind given the current storyline he is tackling in the hit soap.

His character Stevie's difficult year comes to a head as he attempts to take his own life in a special episode which aims to shine a light on mental health awareness and male suicide prevention.

Stevie’s life hangs in the balance as an unlikely ally attempts to save him. That unlikely ally comes in the form of his angel Gabriel Brodie played by Garry Sweeney and the episode takes a fantasy turn as Stevie is left in limbo to look back on the key moments of his life.

"We have done something a bit special, certainly an hour of tele that I am hugely proud of and will be for many years to come," Iain said.

He added: "I am glad that the production team at River City have chosen to tackle this issue which was the biggest single killer of men in the world even before the pandemic. Suicide has overtaken heart disease in that regard and obviously, things are going to be worse with this pandemic we are living through.

"I think it is incumbent that we do tackle issues like this but also applaud the way in which they have done it."

He continued: "I am hopeful, fingers crossed, the River City audience will find it compelling and those who read your article that might not normally watch River City should tune in this week.

"It will give them a good picture of the fact that down in Shieldinch we are trying our best to continue to deliver new and exciting ways of delivering the show to the audience.

"Hopefully people will continue along to see what happens further down the line."

READ MORE: River City to rewind with classic episodes to be aired

Glasgow Times:

The episode perhaps poignantly features the Frightened Rabbit track Death Dream. The band's singer Scott Hutchison tragically took his own life in 2018 aged just 36.

Iain said: "That got me in the gut. It was supposed to be a different song.

"I was waiting for it and I thought oh God that is Frightened Rabbit which just hits home."

Glasgow Times:

Iain joined River City initially four years ago on a three-month contract but has proven to be a firm favourite with fans.

Prior to joining the soap, his previous credits include Small Faces and The Debt Collector which also starred Billy Connolly.

"I have had the best time exploring this character," he beamed.

"I just love going to my work. River City doesn’t shy away from hard-hitting storylines."

Glasgow Times:

The one thing that Iain doesn't shy away from is his roots. A proud Glaswegian, the star grew up in the city's Govan which is something he believes helped him become the man he is today.

"Growing up there put a fire in my belly.

"It kind of gave me a kind of gallusness to think it was alright for me as a wee Govan boy to want to get into that acting and all that," he said.

He added: "Not many days go by when I am in Govan. I am who I am in lots of ways because of where I come from.

"Being from Govan shaped me in life. I am very proud to be from that part of Glasgow."

Glasgow Times:

Rachel Cackett, Executive Director of Samaritans Scotland: “At Samaritans we know the power of listening – and the difference that talking to someone when you are struggling can make. "Every day our volunteers answer around 10,000 calls for help.

"If you’re finding things hard, know that you’re not alone and help is out there. "Samaritans is open 24/7, for free, on 116 123. “And if you are worried about someone else, reaching out can make all the difference. "Of course, if you think someone is immediate danger of harm, then do call 999.

"But if you are concerned someone is struggling, ask them how they are – even if that person isn’t up for talking just yet, they’ll know you care. "The SHUSH listening tips on the Samaritans’ website give some really helpful ideas for how to do this if you feel unsure how to start."

  • Watch River City tonight on BBC Scotland at 10 pm.