Waterloo Road

Rachel Mason (Head Teacher) played by Eva Pope

Head Teacher Rachel has never been afraid to take risks to deliver quality education to the poorest sectors of society – and she has a passion for transforming the lives of working class kids. However, scarred physically and mentally from the fire at the end of the last term, and having faced a co-ordinated campaign from parents and the Governing Body to oust her following the revelations about her past, Rachel’s had to battle – once again – to prove her worth. Rachel likes to keep her private life private but she was starting to let her guard down with Deputy Head Eddie Lawson. However, she rejects him – no-one’s going to be getting close to her scars, whether external or internal anytime soon.

Waterloo Road, made by Shed Productions through BBC Drama Scotland, returns to BBC One for a new series on Wednesday 7 January 2009.

Set in a fictional school in Rochdale, the drama features good and bad teachers and pupils, although at its heart is a message that a few good teachers in one school can succeed in achieving the near impossible.

Waterloo Road is a long running drama with mass appeal to a wide-ranging audience. Originally commissioned in 2005 for eight episodes, the series has grown over the years and is now enjoying a fourth series.

In total, 60 hours have been produced – a testament to its popularity with viewers, which peaked at six million in March 2008.

Waterloo Road has featured actors such as Angela Griffin, Jason Merrells, Jill Halfpenny, Eva Pope and Neil Morrissey.

Series four sees the return of Head Teacher, Rachel Mason (Eva Pope), who nearly died at the end of series three, after being trapped in the school as a fireball ripped through it.

Deputy Head, Eddie Lawson (Neil Morrissey) is back, and from episode 11 we see the welcome return of Kim Campbell (Angela Griffin).

Rachel is more determined than ever to get the school back on track and introduces challenging new initiatives, a zero-exclusion policy, breakfast and after-school clubs, and adult evening classes.

However, her plans are dealt a severe blow with the arrival of the Kelly “family from Hell”.

Gaynor Holmes, BBC Executive Producer for Waterloo Road, said: “I’m delighted that Waterloo Road is returning in January to BBC One. BBC Drama Scotland is extremely proud of the series which has proved extremely popular with viewers, especially younger audiences. Shed has produced another series brimming with exciting, action-paced stories and stunning cast performances.”

Part of the Shed Media Group, Shed Productions is an independent UK television production company, specialising in contemporary, original drama programming and content. Shed has recently completed filming a new eight-part peak time drama, Hope Springs, for BBC One.

Waterloo Road continues in the footsteps of distinctive drama made through BBC Scotland, including Hope Springs (BBC One), PA’s (BBC Three), Wallander (BBC One), Fiona’s Story (BBC One), God On Trial (BBC Two), Zig Zag Love (BBC One Scotland) and BBC Scotland’s popular continuing series, River City, amongst others.

*Spoilers*

Waterloo Road is open again for a brand new term, repaired and restored following the devastating fire which gutted half the school.

Rachel Mason (Eva Pope), the Head Teacher, herself still suffering physically and emotionally from the fire’s effects, is more determined than ever to get the school back on track.

Rachel’s beaten her critics for the time being, including most of the school’s governing body who wanted her out following the revelations about her scandalous past, but she finds herself again fighting tooth and nail to prove her worth.

She continues to spearhead the school’s vocational education, and business and enterprise drive, and now she’s bravely going to open the school to the community, much to the misgiving of her staff.

Rachel doggedly introduces challenging new initiatives, including a zero-exclusion policy, breakfast and after-school clubs, and adult evening classes – although some of the adults prove more of a problem than their own children. There’s even a new creche for the next generation of pupils.

However, Rachel and her staff find themselves facing an even tougher problem in the new nightmarish “family from hell” – the Kellys.

Deputy Head, Eddie Lawson (Neil Morrissey), is hoping to build from where he left off with Rachel, they were becoming close weren’t they?

Unfortunately, Rachel’s not having any of it and it’s not long before Eddie finds romance in the shape of Rachel’s sister Melissa (Katy Carmichael), the newly appointed Head of External Services, but is this blossoming relationship all that it seems?

Following a gun incident in the school, Rachel appoints a new security guard Dave (Tim Healy), who takes a shine to French teacher Steph Haydock (Denise Welch). However, Steph rebuffs Dave’s advances; he’s not in her league.

Jasmine Koreshi (Shabana Bakhsh), however, finds love in the shape of the new PE teacher Rob Cleaver (Elyes Gabel).

Jasmine’s not the only person in Waterloo Road to catch Rob’s attention. Fired by his conviction that the boys can be kept out of trouble by diverting their energies he sets up a boxing class, and is especially impressed with Bolton Smilie (Tachia Newell), who’s showing a real talent for the sport.

Grantly (Philip Martin Brown) is having a mid-life crisis and decides to improve his image although the way he tackles this doesn’t get the reaction he intended.

Tom (Jason Done) and Davina’s (Christine Tremarco) relationship is stronger than ever after the shock of the fire, and they’re now happily living together in Tom’s house. With Mika away at university, and Chlo and Donte reunited, and determined to find a place of their own – even if this means Donte maxing-out their credit cards – Tom and Davina are looking forward to a quiet life, but their peace is soon shattered, when they find they have new neighbours, the Kellys.

The dysfunctional Kellys wreak chaos wherever they go, and Rachel decides that she needs more than just zero tolerance to tame them.

Enter the return of Kim Campbell (Angela Griffin), to focus on pastoral care for all the pupils. With Kim firmly back in her old role, the school confronts the challenge of modern day pressures on today’s kids.

The worlds of advertising, music, television, film, beauty, and obsession with the cult of the celebrity, exert pressure to conform, and although there are similar pressures on both boys and girls – everyone has to have the latest gear and gadgets – there are more demands for girls to fit into particular stereotypes.

Kim finds that her work is cut out for her when she learns that Janeece (Chelsee Healey), unhappy about her body, reacts to the images she sees in the lads’ mags and makes plans to have a “boob job”.

Janeece’s decision divides the pupils and staff and Kim struggles to stem the tide of sexual innuendo, the proliferation of Page 3 “stunnas” and lads’ mags as the school becomes a battleground of the boys versus the girls.

It’s not all textbooks and white boards at this comprehensive – the personal lives and loves of the teachers and pupils are what make the drama of Waterloo Road.

Waterloo Road is back for a new term – starting Thursday 11 October at 8pm on BBC One

Introduction

Waterloo Road is back on BBC One for a brand-new term, and the school is firmly in the spotlight following the murder of drama teacher Izzie Redpath (Jill Halfpenny). Although head teacher Jack Rimmer (Jason Merrells) won a national bravery award, he secretly blames himself for Izzie’s death.

This, together with his drive and determination to improve exam results, leads Jack into taking a high-risk approach to secure the school’s future success. It’s with the love and support of Davina Shackleton (Christina Tremarco) that Jack’s able to strive – until he pushes that love one step too far.

Meanwhile, Tom (Jason Done) is reeling from the loss of Izzie and also blames Jack for her death, whilst struggling to maintain a normal life playing single dad to Chlo (Katie Griffiths) and Mika (Lauren Drummond).

To add to his problems, Chlo and Donte (Adam Thomas) are set on tying the knot – the beginning of a testing journey which leads to a trail of broken hearts.

New Deputy Head Eddie Lawson (Neil Morrissey) and French teacher Steph Haydock (Denise Welch) have two posts to fill following the departure of Kim Campbell (Angela Griffin) and Andrew Treneman (Jamie Glover) to Rwanda. Steph, promoted way above her abilities, steps into Kim’s shoes as Head of Pastoral Care.

Waterloo Road is on mission to embrace its policy on inclusion: no matter the circumstances or abilities, all kids are welcome at the school – resulting in a host of new faces among the pupils including Karla Bentham (Jessica Baglow), who has Asperger syndrome (a form of autism). Karla has an uncanny knack of creating mayhem and Grantly Budgen (Philip Martin Brown) is first to be on the receiving end.

Davina Shackleton, now a teaching assistant, has the task of supporting Karla and taking time to understand her needs. Unfortunately, not everyone in the school, both pupils and teachers, are as tolerant.

The new Deputy Head, Eddie Lawson, is an excellent teacher who earns the respect of nearly all of his colleagues. Eddie’s desire to do things by the book soon brings him into conflict with Jack, however, who has a reputation for cutting corners. Eddie is now single, following a recent divorce, but, with the arrival of a new member of staff, sparks are soon starting to fly.

Elsewhere, new drama teacher Matt Walker (Chris Geere) plans to grab the headlines with the school’s first musical, Park Side Story. Matt’s popular with staff and pupils, but he has a secret which he feels he can’t divulge. However, following an incident that leaves him hospitalised, he has no option but to reveal all.

In her new role, caring, but inept, Steph Haydock continues to lurch from one gaffe to the next, although her heart is in the right place. Steph is still trying to find love, and has her sights set on both Jack and Matt.

Meanwhile, work-shy Grantly is delighted to have new rookie Jasmine Koreshi (Shabana Bakhsh) to foist his dirty work upon. He also has several problems at home that eventually spill over into his working life.

Waterloo Road is back for the start of a brand-new term and, for a rundown inner-city school, staff shortages, bullying and truancy are all high on the agenda. With its failing results, can Waterloo Road survive in its present state or will it need the support of private money?

The school is launching its first sixth form with financial support from former pupil and entrepreneur Roger Aspinall (Nick Sidi). Roger wants to go one better in return for a seat on the governing body – he wants to build Rochdale’s first City Academy.

But with Roger’s investment comes a list of changes which wreak havoc across the school. Jack Rimmer’s (Jason Merrells) role as Head Teacher is under immediate threat, while Roger sets his sights and targets any other teacher who doesn’t see eye to eye with him.

Meanwhile, teachers Izzie (Jill Halfpenny) and Tom (Jason Done) are happily living together and expecting a new addition to their family. Even Izzie’s daughters, Chlo (Katie Griffiths) and Mika (Lauren Drummond), have adjusted to having a man around the house.

But the couple are in for a shock on the first day of the new school term when they see Lorna (Camilla Power) has not moved abroad but has returned. Lorna seems relaxed but Tom is unsettled; he’s certain they can’t trust her – she’s definitely up to something.

Kim Campbell (Angela Griffin) is determined to put her traumatic experience with ex-student Lewis Seddon (Craig Fitzpatrick) behind her and focus on her job. Meanwhile, Kim continues to fight her feelings for Andrew Treneman, but will the chemistry prove too much for them both?

New student Brett Aspinall (Tom Payne) is breaking hearts on his first day at school. He’s quick, intelligent and determined to give the teachers a run for their money. Mika takes an immediate shine to him but she has a fight on her hands when her best mate, Leigh-Ann (Holly Mathews), stakes a claim.

New PA Davina Shackleton (Christine Tremarco) makes a huge impression on her first meeting with Jack Rimmer; there’s definitely chemistry between them. But Davina is Roger Aspinall’s appointment – could she be a spy in the camp?

Eagle-eyed Steph (Denise Welch) spots competition in the sexy Davina straight away. She may have met her match but she resolves to reel Jack in – though she clearly has her work cut out.

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1