The last series of BBC One’s Waterloo Road ended with headmaster Michael Byrne (Alec Newman) leading the “core” of his teaching staff north of the England/Scotland border to set up a new school.
When news of the move first broke last year, some fans expressed concern that the show could suffer from being uprooted from its Rochdale setting and the loss of cast members.
According to Eileen Gallagher, series co-creator and CEO of producers Shed, addressing such concerns was a major factor in deciding whether to relocate the show.
“Waterloo Road is a precious commodity and a drama loved by its audience of loyal fans,” she says. “So Shed and the BBC were both agreed we would not move it unless we were sure the show would benefit from any changes.”
Unlike shows such as Hustle and Casualty which relocate production to new cities and pass them off as the old setting, Gallagher says her team “were clear that we wouldn’t just move the physical production to Scotland and in the story keep Waterloo Road school in Rochdale.”
“So we had to come up with a storyline that took headmaster, Michael, his core teachers and some of our most loved students with him.”
That storyline involved former pupil and successful businesswoman Lorraine Donnegan (Daniela Denby-Ashe) poaching Byrne to help set up a new school in Scotland.
Gallagher describes the plot as “true to life and totally in tune with what’s happening in education today – that is, the creation of privately funded schools by benefactors ‘with an agenda’.”
“As a result, the new series of Waterloo Road launches this Autumn as dramatic and exciting as before – and maybe even more so!”
Waterloo Road returns to BBC One and BBC One HD on August 23rd