Verdict due in River City Jamie's rape case

IS HE innocent or guilty?

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Jamie goes to court
Jamie goes to court

Charges of rape have been hanging over Mark Rowley's character Jamie in BBC Scotland's River City since the start of the year and it all comes to a head when the case goes to court this week.

It has been a trying time on an emotionally charged set but Mark laughs when he tells the story of going to the doctor's surgery a couple of days ago where a woman recognised him.

"She said, I hope you're not guilty, you're really nice," he says.

"This storyline has certainly got everyone talking."

In Tuesday night's episode the rape trial dominates as Zinnie, played by Nalini Chetty, and Jamie face each other in court.

In preparation for the trial Jamie's lawyer, Lucy Galbraith, urges him not to take the stand.

Despite his brother Alex's doubts, Galbraith reveals she plans to prove Jamie's innocence by depicting Zinnie as a money-seeker and prostitute who alleged rape as an act of vengeance.

Here lies the heart of controversy surrounding the much-talked about storyline that has had fans on Facebook debating the issue for weeks: Zinnie was an escort girl not a call girl, will be jury understand the difference?

"What is good about this storyline is that viewers didn't actually see it happen so it makes the viewer almost like part of the jury," explains Mark. "It's the perfect drama and that's what makes people talk about it."

The tension in Shieldinch is palpable.

"We were aware that it was a delicate subject so we did a lot of research before we went into it," says Mark.

"A specialist came in from Police Scotland and talked about the subject and she had some interesting facts: most of the time these incidents take place within the home, it's boyfriends and husbands not strangers who are rapists."

Flirtatious bar manager Jamie is cheeky and fun-loving and, most importantly, convinced he hasn't done anything wrong.

As the evidence unfolds, viewers are likely to be as intrigued and puzzled as the jury until it is time for the final verdict.

"What hit me was thinking about the circumstances of someone being presented with an accusation of rape, which is so severe and destructive it can take someone's life away," admits Mark.

"His life, and hers, will never be the same again."

A big hit with staff and customers at the pub, Jamie hasn't always made the best decisions.

Viewers will remember that he agreed to let Lenny Murdoch launder his dirty money through Slate.

Filmed at Dumbarton Sheriff Court, the scenes weren't the happiest couple of days of filming.

Mark says: "When you are standing in the dock and have people around you who have the power to put you down, your imagination goes a wee bit mad, you feel so vulnerable."

The Paisley-born actor who trained at the RSAMD in Glasgow says he found the relationship between brothers Jamie and Alex particularly intriguing.

Jamie hero worships big brother Alex but he seems more concerned with protecting his own reputation, then he sees the destructive effect the trial is having on Zinnie.

"It wasn't complicated to begin with between them but as the storyline has progressed it has become more complex.

"I have a brother, so I know there is always that sibling rivalry, but at the end of the day they just love each other and are looking out for each other. Alex will take the stand for Jamie and I think anyone would."

Jamie is open and has no agenda other than to have a good time. His flirtation with Zinnie took a dark turn on Hogmanay and resulted in Jamie being charged with rape.

Impatient and impulsive, he is determined to prove his innocence even if it means going against the advice of the expensive lawyer Alex has hired.

How will it end?

River City, Tuesday, BBC Scotland, 8pm.

angela.mcmanus@eveningtimes.co.uk

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