Soap favourite, and acclaimed theatre star, Shobna Gulati has joined the cast of River City, BBC Scotland’s popular weekly drama, taking on the role of new character Farah Khurana, a blast from AJ’s past (Sanjeev Kohli). Shobna (Coronation Street, In The Club) plays the character of Farah, a fun-loving former university friend of AJ’s who returns to Shieldinch with him after meeting him on his travels around India. However, her unexpected arrival will prove unsettling for Ellie (Leah MacRae) as Farah unwittingly becomes her love rival in a battle for AJ’s affections. Shobna says: “I’m absolutely delighted to join the talented cast and crew of BBC Scotland's flagship drama, River City. O” Shobna started filming at River City’s BBC Dumbarton Studios this week and will make her debut in the drama later in the year. Another new face debuting in River City is Scottish comedian and actress Karen Dunbar for a special one-off appearance. Karen (The Karen Dunbar Show, Shakespeare Trilogy) will play Francesca Simpson, estranged wife of Pete Galloway (Andy Gray). On the surface, Francesca seems fun and friendly but Pete and Caitlin (Gayle Telfer Stevens) will quickly see she’s shrewd and calculating and the quickie divorce he wants might not be that straightforward afterall. Other new cast set to make their way to Shieldinch over the coming weeks and months include Stewart Porter (In Plain Sight, Shetland) as new cabbie in town Dougie Paterson, Adiza Shardow (Waterloo Road) as Shelley Belmont sister to Jules (Aisha Toussaint) and Frank Gilhooley (Guardians Of The Galaxy, Outlander) as John McLean, who’ll shake things up in the McLean family when he arrives later this year. River City’s Executive Producer, Kieran Hannigan is delighted to see new faces join the cast: “Having grown up watching Coronation Street, I love Shobna from her time there as well as in In the Club and the brilliant Dinnerladies. I am delighted she’s joined our fantastic River City cast and as Farah she is going to set the cat amongst the pigeons and stir up some exciting drama and heartbreak not least for AJ and Ellie. “Bringing Karen Dunbar to the show is also a huge thrill and I am sure our audience are going to love her character Francesca in her special one-off appearance next month. “Alongside Shobna and Karen, we’ve got some of the cream of Scottish acting talent in Adiza, Frank and Stewart who join an incredibly strong cast already doing us proud on River City. I am genuinely in awe of the acting talent we are working with at the moment and thrilled our audience continue to embrace the weekly drama we bring from the heart of Shieldinch.” A BBC Studios production, River City is part of BBC Scotland’s commitment to produce distinctive Scottish output and complements productions including Ordeal By Innocence (BBC One), Trust Me (BBC One), BAFTA Scotland award-winning Shetland (BBC One), Still Game (BBC One) and Two Doors Down (BBC Two).