School drama Waterloo Road is to return to the BBC.
After nearly 7 years off air Waterloo Road is being revived by the Beeb who note that the new incarnation will be an outlet for ‘entertaining and gripping human stories’ while also covering ‘important issues of the day’.
“The spotlight on education is more intense than ever before, with awareness of the challenges that teachers, parents and pupils face even more pronounced amidst the ongoing pandemic.” – BBC Press Office
The return of Waterloo Road – set in the North of England – sits well in the corporation’s plans to ‘better reflect, represent and serve all parts of the country’ via its drama output.
The BBC recently called time on hospital drama Holby City to reduce the number of titles it makes in the South – Waterloo Road is one of two long-running network drama productions that it is hoping to launch in its place.
“Waterloo Road is the perfect lens through which to explore post-Covid Britain, from the perspective of those who have arguably been affected most: young people in education. “We are thrilled to be returning to this brilliant format – its thrills and spills, unmissable characters and high drama – at a time when audiences across Britain need it most – and to be collaborating with the brilliant Cameron Roach and Wall To Wall on its return.” – Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama
BBC One aired ten series of Waterloo Road between 2006 and 2015 – for most of its run the series performed well in the ratings. It brought to screen a number of topical issues including teacher-pupil relationships, teenage pregnancy and immigration.
Regular roles were portrayed by Jason Merrells, Jill Halfpenny, Denise Welch, Eva Pope, Philip Martin Brown and Amanda Burton to name a few.
However, the show’s popularity began to falter when the production – and on screen location – was changed from Rochdale to Greenock, Scotland at the end of series seven in a move many deemed implausible.
The Beeb opted to premiere new episodes on BBC Three during the tenth series with a late-night repeat on BBC One. However, it is noted that interest in the show has been high since it was uploaded to BBC iPlayer as a boxset.
“I’m really thrilled to be working with the BBC and Wall To Wall, in re-igniting the iconic brand of Waterloo Road. The vital and urgent stories that are playing out in schools across the UK provide incredible and emotionally powerful themes, that we’re excited to bring to a new generation of fans.
“Waterloo Road will continue its reputation for kickstarting, supporting and enabling careers both in front of and behind the camera, in a truly inclusive way, from our base in Greater Manchester.” – Cameron Roach, Executive Producer
The new series of Waterloo Road will be produced by Wall To Wall in co-production with Rope Ladder Fiction, the Manchester-based label from Cameron Roach, who executive produced the previous series in both Rochdale and Greenock.