As it celebrates its decade on the small screen a regular half-million viewers watch the antics of BBC Scotland's Shieldinch 'family.'
The first episode was on September 24, 2002 and since that history-making moment viewers have become engrossed in the adventures of Shellsuit, Scarlett and Co.
The series – originally screened as two half-hour episodes per week before moving to an hour slot on Tuesday – captures a slice of life in a fictitious Clydeside town of Shieldinch - or rather a slice of very heightened reality.
Since the series began, costing around £10million to launch, viewers have wallowed in 19 deaths, 32 affairs, 11 murders, 13 weddings, 28 proposals and at least three kidnappings.
But at one stage, life for the regulars of The Tall Ship, looked pretty precarious.
The opening episode drew the curious, those wondering to see what the £10m fuss was all about; would they be watching an urban High Road or something grittier?
And a healthy 720,000 viewers tuned in. But in the weeks ahead that number fell to just 170,000. Was River City about to become the new El Dorado?
It was clear the show needed a lift and producers chose to parachute in a series of well-known names such as Aussie actor Stefan Dennis ex-EastEnders Jacqueline Leonard, Deepak Verma and Lorraine McIntosh.
The plan worked. And Scots began to appreciate writer Stephen Greenhorn's creation had a mix of gritty realism and light comedy.
But what it lacked, it seemed, was an injection of glamour, the Hollyoaks content.
As a result, a clutch of attractive young people such as Jade Lezar and Laura McMonagle were hired and the viewing numbers rose.
However, the soap's success is down to storylines that can pull viewers back to BBC 1 each week.
River City offers up a mix of character-based plot, whether featuring Big Bob's love life, or the beating to death of druggie lowlife.
River City also features very dark tales such as the revenge attacks featuring injections of heroin.
And of course there are the shockers, the Who's-The- Daddy storylines, or Dumped- Kids-Who-Turn-Up-Out-of- the-Blue storylines.
Viewers delighted in discovering Shellsuit's auntie was his mother, that Roisin was revealed to have a secret daughter who she had put up for adoption when she was young.
And didn't Heather get the shock of her life when her estranged husband Duncan turned up with her daughter Freya?
But to make storylines work, the characters have to be entirely believable; the sort of people who could be found shopping in Asda.
It doesn't matter if Jo Rossi was once Alison Mackenize who then morphed into Lisa Gardner. Both gave convincing characters of a she-devil.
And that brings us to Women. Strong female characters are of course the backbone of any soap. River City's amazons include Libby McArthur's Gina, Eileen McCallum's Liz, and Deirdre Davis' Eileen.
Indeed, pub boss Eileen gets a great deal of the heavy lifting to do, carrying off the sex scenes or providing the requisite Niagara of tears when a husband has his windpipe crushed. And let's not forget Jo Rossi, a woman with the morals of a starving alley cat.
But you certainly can't have a soap without its comedy moments.
And the light has often come from characters such as Shellsuit Bob (Stephen Purdon), Scarlett (Sally Howatt), Roisin, (Joyce Falconer) and Kelly Marie (Carmen Pieraccini) a time-bomb in a mini-skirt.
"Perhaps the funniest moment was during Shellsuit's first proposal, when he asked Deke to put him in a cherry picker to propose through the flat window, but Deke kept moving the cherry picker," said a River City spokesman.
But there have also been some wonderful illness storylines. Soaps need illness, preferably terminal, as a means to exit characters because either characters can become too difficult to develop; actors may look to leave for a better option; or actors may want too much cash.
Illnesses have an added benefit; they help soap producers in their social partnership remit, allowing them to act, from time to time, as a Government information agency.
In this way, viewers get to enjoy a plot line featuring racism, sexuality, drug abuse, domestic violence, or, as is the case currently, Malcolm Henderson's Alzheimer's decline.
Mental illness featured back in 2003 when Hazel was kidnapped by a mentally ill Brian Henderson who had become obsessed with her.
As a result, the soap runs a Helpline number while viewers enjoy having their heartstrings tugged to breaking point.
Bullying is almost a guaranteed ratings winner. Viewers can empathise and the media invariably pick up on such stories because actors will often reveal their own real-life tales of being bullied. All the boxes are ticked.
Yet, where would soap be without bad boys - and bad girls. What self-respecting soap can exist without its resident terrorist?
The current River Star star gangster is Lenny Murdoch, 5ft 6in of evil. In his time, less than lovable Lenny has managed to drown Shellsuit, kill Archie and blackmail everyone but Alfie, Jimmy's dead dog.
And as for McCabe? Satan with a Glasgow accent.
With such a mix, it's set to run another 10 years.
lRiver City, BBC1, Tuesdays at 8pm.
TOMORROW: LIFE AFTER DEEK