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Waterloo Road (BBC Drama, Jason Merrells, Angela Griffin)



Drama series Waterloo Road followed life for the staff and students of a tough northern comprehensive that is initially on the scrap heap. It can be found very near the bottom of every league table there is. Its despondent teachers have given up trying to make a difference as they struggle to cope with their own personal problems as well as their nightmare day jobs. When the current Headmaster has a nervous breakdown, Jack Rimmer is thrown into the hot seat – very reluctantly. Jack is only too aware of the fate Waterloo Road will suffer if it doesn’t improve – and fast. He takes a huge gamble in recruiting optimistic, educational zealot Andrew Treneman who wants to give up his comfortable private school job to bring the benefits of his elite educational experience to Waterloo Road.

Season two (which ran for 12 episodes – season one was just 8) saw plenty of shocks most notably the murder of leading character Izzie Redpath. Kim Campbell and Andrew Treneman also left the series, their characters going off to Rwanda together.

Season three (a massive 20 episodes) saw the arrival of a new deputy head, Eddie Lawson and a drama teacher with a secret. Later during the season new headmistress Rachel Mason arrived following the resignation of Jack. The big finale for the season was a massive fire swamping the school.

Season Four (again 20 episodes) began with a 90 minute feature length edition with quite a few departing characters and the arrival of some new ones. Interestingly building contractor Stuart Hordley who was trapped in the fire at the end of the previous season was never mentioned! The Kelly family arrive on the scene and immediately begin causing trouble whilst the season opens out even more with the introduction of Rachel’s sister Melissa. Meanwhile two old teachers briefly return (both had gone off to Rwanda) in the shape of Kim Campbell and Andrew Treneman.

Season five (20 episodes) is one of major change with Waterloo Road merging with private school John Foster leading to lots of clashes of ideas and a huge amount of tension with both the teachers and the pupils. This of course once more allows for plentiful new characters to arrive on the scene.

By the seventh season the location had switched to Greenock Academy in Scotland (after the previous location in Rochdale was demolished) and by season 8 the school had gone fully independent and was no longer a comprehensive. The Show’s tenth season was it’s final season and with ratings having dropped substantially the final epiodes played out on BBC Three with a later repeat on BBC One

The episode run increased with the start of the third season to a major 20 per season, the show started out as a gritty take on the English school system but like so many shows which become popular these days, with the longer episode count, drifted off into soapdom territory, piling on the shocks and unrealistic plot developments and somewhat losing sight of its raison d’etre.

Late 2010 (from 19 Nov) saw the arrival of a short 6 part online only spin-off called Waterloo Road Reunited catching up with previous students at the school including Michaela, Danielle, Bolton and Philip. These “webisodes” were only ten minutes long.

important cast members have included
JASON MERRELLS as Jack Rimmer(seasons 1-3); JAMIE GLOVER as Andrew Treneman (seasons 1-2); ANGELA GRIFFIN as Kim Campbell (seasons 1-2 then seasons 4-5); JILL HALFPENNY as Izzie Redpath (seasons 1-2); CAMILLA POWER as Lorna Dickey; DENISE WELCH as Steph Haydock (seasons 1-5); JASON DONE as Tom Clarkson; PHILIP MARTIN BROWN as Grantly Budgen; NICK SIDI as Roger Aspinall; CHRISTINE TREMARCO as Davina Shackleton (seasons 2-4); TOM PAYNE as Brett Aspinall; NEIL MORRISSEY as Eddie Lawson (seasons 3 – 4); EVA POPE as Rachel Mason (seasons 3-5); KATIE GRIFFITHS as Chlo Grainger (seasons 1-4); LAUREN DRUMMOND as Mika Grainger; ADAM THOMAS as Donte Charles (seasons 1-4); CHELSEE HEALEY as Janeece Bryant (seasons 1-4); CRAIG FITZPATRICK as Lewis Seddon; ELLIE PASKELL as Maxione Barlow; HOLLY MATTHEWS as Leigh-Ann Galloway; SADIE PICKERING as Flick Mellor (seasons 1-4); LUKE BAILEY as Marley Kelley (seasons 1-4); SHABANA BAKHSH as Jasmine Koreshi (seasons 1-4); CHRIS GEERE as Matt Wilding (seasons 1-4); TOM CHAMBERS as Max Tyler (from season 5) VINETTE ROBINSON as Helen Hopewell (season 5); WILLIAM ASH as Christopher Mead (from season 5); SARAH JANE POTTS as Jo Lipsett (from season 5); ELIZABETH BERRINGTON as Ruby Fry (from season 5); DEAN SMITH as Phillip Ryan (- season 6); ELAINE SYMONS as Rose Kelly (from season 4); HOLLY KENNY as Sambuca Kelly (from season 4); DANIELA DENBY-ASHE as Lorraine Donnagan (season 7); HEATHER PEACE as Nikki Boston (seasons 7-8); NEIL PEARSON as Vaughan Fitzgerald (season 10); NICOLA STEPHENSON as Allie Westbrook (season 10); LAURA AIKMAN as Lorna Hutchinson (season 10); CHARLOTTE BEAUMONT as Kenzie Calhoun (season 10)

Creators: Maureen Chadwick, Ann McManus / Executive Producers: Brian Park, Annie Harrison Baxter and Anne Mensah (season 2) / Producers: Claire Phillips (season 1), Sue de Beauvoir (season 2)

UK / BBC One – Shed Productions / 1×90 minute episode 199×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 9 March 2006 – 9 March 2015