Waterloo Road, the school-set soap opera that first aired in 2006, returned to BBC One for a new series in January 2023. The BBC announced the revival (not a reboot) of the series in 2021, responding to the success of the show on iPlayer during the pandemic.
The show is once again set and filmed in Greater Manchester, where the first seven seasons of the show took place before production moved to Scotland. A number of cast members from the original run of the series are set to reprise their roles - including Angela Griffin, Adam Thomas, and Katie Griffiths - alongside a host of new students too.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new series of Waterloo Road ahead of new episodes airing in May 2023.
What is Waterloo Road about?
The official BBC One synopsis for the upcoming batch of episodes reveals that “Andrew Treneman - the ex-deputy head, English teacher, and former flame of Kim Campbell - will return to Waterloo Road, but is Mr. Treneman back to help a struggling Kim take control of the school, or is he back to stir things up?”
The previous synopsis, which introduced the episodes that aired in January, revealed that “Waterloo Road’s teachers and parents have to learn on their feet as they try to navigate the ever changing social landscape - from teen homelessness to the cost of living, being LGBTQ+, racism, sexism, mental health and everything else facing young teens today.”
“Amongst the chaos, the students, faculty and parents still make time for friendships, fun, and a few romances. The pupils have a lot to contend with this term, but they will learn to lean on one another to survive the year and try to stay out of detention as much as possible. Riots, scandals, fractured families and challenging kids – for Headteacher Kim Campbell and her team, fire-fighting is a way of life. Who said education was easy?”
Who stars in Waterloo Road?
Angela Griffin will return as Kim Campbell, now the headteacher at Waterloo Road. After appearing in the original run of Waterloo Road on and off between 2006 and 2010, Griffin went on to appear in the crime drama Lewis. You might also recognise her as one of the original cast of Holby City, where she played nurse Jasmin Hopkins, or as Fiona Middleton in Coronation Street.
Jamie Glover is set to return as English teacher and former Waterloo Road deputy head Andrew Treneman. You’ll recognise Glover from things like Holby City, The Crown, Agatha Raisin, and Doctor Who biopic An Adventure in Time and Space. You might also know his parents, Game of Thrones’ Julian Glover and House of Cards’ Isla Blair.
Returning for another term will be Adam Thomas (Emmerdale) as Donte Charles, Kym Marsh (Coronation Street) as dinner lady Nicky Walters, Vincent Jerome (Wonder Woman 1984) as deputy head Lindon King, James Baxter (Still Open All Hours) as deputy head Joe Casey, Jo Coffey (Eastenders) as Kim Campbell’s PA Wendy Whitwell, and Shauna Shim (The Worst Witch) as music teacher Valerie Chambers.
They're joined by Neil Fitzmaurice (Peep Show) as history teacher Neil Guthrie, Rachel Leskovac (Coronation Street) as head of English Coral Walker, Katherine Pearce (Rules of the Game) as newly qualified teacher Amy Spratt, Ryan Clayton as Mike Rutherford, and Sonia Ibrahim (Coronation Street) as social worker Jamilah Omar.
Additions to the cast this series include Paul Bazely (Benidorm, Black Mirror, Cruella) and Jenny Platt (Coronation Street, The Bay) as new parents of pupils. Olwen May (Coronation Street, Happy Valley, Emmerdale) and James Quinn (Early Doors, Coronation Street) will also appear in Waterloo Road.
Who will play the students?
Waterloo Road's class of 2023 includes Adam Abbou (Time) as Danny Lewis, Priyasasha Kumari (You Don’t Know Me) as Samia Choudhry, and Noah Valentine (The Bay) as Preston Walters.
They're joined by Adam Ali (Little America) as Kai Sharif, Alicia Forde as Kelly-Jo Rafferty, Francesco Piacentini-Smith (Masters Of The Air) as Dean Weever, Liam Scholes (Coronation Street) as Noel McManus, and Lucy Eleanor Begg as Caz Williams. Fellow student castmembers includes Summer Violet Bird playing Tonya Walters, Ava Flannery as Verity King, Thapelo Ray (Doctors) as Dwanye Jackson, Inathi Rozani (Biff and Chip) as Zayne Jackson, and Chiamaka Ulebor as Shola Aku.
Two notable cast members include Sahil Ismailkhil as Norrulah Ashimi, and Scarlett Thomas as Izzie Charles (daughter of fan favourites Donte and Chlo Charles). Ismailkhil was cast by a talent scout who visited schools in Leeds, while Thomas is related to former Waterloo Road cast members Adam Thomas and Tina O’Brien.
Is there a trailer?
Yes, there is! You can see a brief teaser trailer for the new series right here.
When will the new series of Waterloo Road start?
Waterloo Road is going to return for new episodes on Tuesday 16 May 2023. Technically speaking it's not a new series, just more episodes of the same series that began in January (24 were commissioned at once), but that's probably getting needlessly pedantic.
Like last time, the series will find a broadcast home on Tuesday nights and be made available as a boxset on BBC iPlayer as soon as the first episode airs.
Where will it be set?
Famously, Waterloo Road was set in Rochdale for its first 7 seasons, before the school moved to Scotland (somehow with most of the staff and pupils coming along with them).
The new series will once again be set in Greater Manchester. How they’ll address the school moving to Scotland and then back again remains to be seen.
Why is Waterloo Road coming back?
There’s a couple of reasons for that. Part of it is because of the BBC’s obligation to make drama that reflects (and is produced in) all areas of the UK – with two hospital dramas set and made in the South of the UK, new Director General Tim Davie emphasised a need to make more drama in the North of the UK.
As a result, Holby City has been cancelled – its last episode aired in March – and Waterloo Road has been brought back. The new series of Waterloo Road will be made in Manchester, which is where the show began (before moving to Scotland for the last couple of series).
The reason why Waterloo Road in particular has come back, rather than a different new or returning drama, is because it was hugely popular during lockdown. Waterloo Road was the sixth most streamed show on iPlayer during 2021, with 45.3 million views – putting it ahead of Doctor Who, Death in Paradise, The Serpent, and Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
Why should I watch Waterloo Road?
It's one to check out if you enjoyed the original series, and want to see it updated for a new generation.