Waterloo Road

Mar 1, 2021 | Blog Posts

Waterloo Road is an award-winning British TV drama series created by Ann McManus. It first aired on BBC1 in 2006.

The show’s creator was charged with devising a contemporary drama series that depicted the lives of ordinary people in Britain. With a strong interest in education, she developed a storyline based around a modern comprehensive school – and so Waterloo Road was born.

The drama focuses on the daily lives of the teachers, pupils and parents associated with the school of the same name as the series. Many of the storylines address topical issues such as pregnancy, suicide, divorce and child abuse, but the creator wanted to instil the consistent theme that a few good teachers make a big difference, even in the most challenging settings.

Waterloo Road was a big hit with audiences. It ran for 10 series over nine years, covering 200 episodes. The first series aired in 2006, and a second series began a year later. Series three followed in 2007. In 2009, series four and five was broadcast. A sixth series followed in 2010, and a seventh series was aired in 2011. During this time, Waterloo Road was filmed at a school in Rochdale, but following the building’s demolition, the programme was moved to a new filming location at Greenock Academy in Scotland.

At the new location, series eight got underway in 2012. Just a year later, the show returned with series nine. Broadcast in 2014, series 10 proved to be the final for the long-standing drama, with the remaining 10 episodes showing on BBC Three in 2015 due to poor ratings.

On March 2015, the final show was broadcast, marking the 200th episode. In this last programme, the school wins a victory against a potential merger. Various quotes from the characters were broadcast in the exit scenes, with the final quote coming from the longest-serving cast member (149 episodes), Phillip Martin Brown, who played Grantly Budgen – he remarked that he had only come for a week’s cover but had ended up staying for 25 years!

Actor Jason Done, who played Tom Clarkson, also enjoyed a lengthy stint, appearing in 148 episodes. Famous actors to have starred in the show include Denise Welch (Steph Haydock), Adam Thomas (Donte Charles), Jill Halfpenny (Izzie Redpath), Tina O’Brien (Bex Fisher), Angela Griffin (Kim Campbell), Chelsee Healey (Janeece Bryant), Neil Morrissey (Eddie Lawson) and Zoe Lucker (Carol Barry).

Standout episodes include the very first, where the head teacher has a nervous breakdown, leaving the deputy to step in; in 2008 when the school is set on fire; when Lindsay admits to killing her father in a 2010 episode; a tearjerker in 2011, when Sambuca dies from a brain tumour; and in 2014, when Christine arrives at a board meeting drunk, resulting in her resignation.

Whether your school faces as many dramas as Waterloo Road or not, with high-quality school lockers in place from Crown Sports Lockers, you can at least ensure your students’ belongings are kept safe and secure.