9 years ago today, I was bored and channel flicking because there wasn’t anything on TV. Accidentally, I stumbled across a program called Waterloo Road. From the first episode, I was hooked. The gripping story lines tackled real-life issues from a broad range of perspectives, focusing on the lives of teachers and pupils within a rough school in Rochdale.
There were characters to fall in love with, characters to despise, and characters you wanted to hate but secretly loved. There were some clearly broken relationships, and pairings that were clear from the very beginning. Watching Tom marrying Lorna in that very first episode, my heart was crushed for Izzie, and then watching how their friendships and relationships progressed over the next 2 series meant you couldn’t take your eyes of the screen. My heart had so many feelings for Kim and Andrew, watching them every single episode waiting for the moment that they finally realised they’d been falling in love all along… Series 1 and 2 were the heart of the TV show for me personally. The show forced you to be emotionally invested in every single character, from Jack to Steph to Grantly to Chlo and Mika, Donte, Janeece…
The third series brought about the reign of Rachel & Eddie, and from then on in we saw a multitude of new characters, each bringing their individual traits and story lines to the show. Now with all the one-shot characters, there were several blips in continuity - pupils jumping into different year groups, but it didn’t matter too much because the show was still as gripping as ever.
In series 4, the Kelly family were introduced - soon to become one of the best families within the show. When Earl shot Maxine, my eyes were stinging from the tears.
After the merge with John Fosters (that’s a blast from the past), the dealings with Max Tyler, and Lindsey’s trail, series 6 happened. We saw new characters such as Ronan Burley, Jonah Kirby, and Cesca Montoya (we all know what happened there - ey)! We saw Karen Fisher take over the headship as the Fisher family had a variety of story lines, from Harry’s bulimia, Jess’ love triangle and Bex’s disappearance and sex tapes! Josh Stevenson turned up, letting the world know that Tom Clarkson was his father (something no one would be ashamed of)!
Series 7 brought Waterloo Road back to the really gripping days. Personally, the storyline with Sambuca’s brain tumour was one of my favourites throughout the whole 10 series. It had me in floods of tears every week as we slowly had to deal with her inevitable fate, watching the impact it had on all the different characters.
After the move to Scotland, some say the show went downhill, and others said that it returned to its best. It allowed so many new characters to be welcomed into the show - Christine and Connor Mulgrew, Imogen Stewart, Audrey McFall, Rhiannon Salt, the Barry family and so many more! I really enjoyed following all their stories, but the ones that affected me most were that of Tom & Grantly’s death. For me, they’re the characters who have been in the show from the very first episode - the characters who I felt the strongest attachments to, and the characters who I firmly believed the show would end with. I cried buckets of tears at their death scenes, and I can’t imagine ever becoming so attached to fictional characters again. They were Waterloo Road. Tom sums it up when Grantly’s in hospital: ’We’re the only ones left you and me; Waterloo Road as was’.
I’ve grown up with Waterloo Road. It’s been there for the past nine years, and life without new episodes is going to be strange. It’s the TV show that I first got seriously hooked into, and I’m forever grateful for all the wonderful memories it’s provided me with, and all the people I’ve had the pleasure of talking to whilst it’s been on.