Waterloo Road, the setting for BBC One’s school based drama, opens for a new 20 episode term later this week following the devastating fire which gutted half the school at the end of the last series.
Returning for a fourth series, the show started as an eight-week drama back in 2005 since when more than 60 hours have been produced, drawing audience of up to six million.
The series opens with a 90-minute special which Producer Sharon Hughff says “quite literally starts with a bang”.
Hughff says the 20 week run allows the writers to “develop storylines and relationships in a more realistic slow burn way. It also gives us a chance to give every character their own story.”
A number of favourite characters are returning including Head Teacher Rachel Mason (Eva Pope), Deputy Eddie Lawson (Neil Morrissey) and Steph Haydock (Denise Welch). The most notable new arrivals are the Kelly family who, Hughff says “have a far reaching influence across the school and there isn’t anyone who escapes the impact they make.”
Returning for a second year on the show, Pope says her character has big plans for the school “ including a zero-exclusion policy, breakfast and after-school clubs, and adult evening classes – she wants to create a community school, and there’s even a new creche!”
Despite the hint of a spark between Rachel and Eddie last term, it seems the fire has put Rachel off pursuing any relationship and Eddie ends up in a relationship with Rachel’s younger sister Melissa (Katy Carmichael)
But things might not be so clear cut as Hughff promises viewers a “very gripping” storyline centering around “the will they, won’t they of Eddie and Rachel”.
Waterloo Road, BBC One, Wednesday 7 January 2009