Waterloo Road

The popular BBC drama series Waterloo Road was set in a comprehensive school. It ran for nine years and won a host of awards until it came to an end in 2015. First broadcast in March 2006, it went on to run for ten series, comprising 200 episodes and attracting an average 4.5 million viewers.

Waterloo Road

The plot of the first series didn't bode well for the future when head teacher Brian Vasey suffered a nervous breakdown and his replacement Jack Rimmer (played by Jason Merrells of Emmerdale fame) faced an uphill battle after the governors threatened to close the school because of falling pupil numbers and a history of bad behaviour.

However, assisted by deputy head Andrew Treneman (Jamie Glover) and teacher Kim Campbell (former Coronation Street star Angela Griffin) he managed to turn the school around and stave off the threat of closure. In 2007, Neil Morrisey (of Men Behaving Badly fame) joined the cast as the new deputy head teacher.

Although the school survived, it continued to have its fair share of traumatic events over the years. In 2006, pupil Adam Deardon died in a car crash, while troubled student Lewis Seddon attacked the head in his office and tried to set him on fire, only for French teacher Steph Haydock (played by former Coronation Street star Denise Welch) to save the day.

The series tackled plenty of hard-hitting issues, such as one pupil's struggle against Asperger syndrome, bullying, accusations of assault, a scandal when the PE teacher gives a young boxer performance-enhancing drugs, a fatal shooting, illegal drugs, violence and even a hopeless teacher bribing the pupils to be on their best behaviour. Handling them sensitively, the show wasn't afraid of tackling storylines that were controversial.

Waterloo Road went on to receive many television awards including Best New Drama in 2006, Best Family Drama in 2009 and Most Popular Drama in 2011, 2013 and 2014. Individual actors and actresses have won awards too, with Jill Halfpenny winning Best Actress award in 2007 for her performance as head of drama Izzie Redpath and Denise Welch winning Best Actress in 2009 and 2010 for her role as Steph Haydock. The series was nominated for a further 10 TV awards during its run.

Speculation was rife that Waterloo Road was to be resurrected in May 2017, after viewers saw TV adverts for a new Channel 4 programme, Ackley Bridge - a drama series about two schools merging into one and the ensuing teenage angst. Viewers thought one of the schools looked like Waterloo Road and speculated it was changing its allegiance from the BBC and featuring in the new drama.

However, producers dashed their hopes when they confirmed there were no plans to bring Waterloo Road back at present and Ackley Bridge's resemblance was just a coincidence.

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