TV drama Waterloo Road is set to be revived on BBC One after six years, the corporation has announced.
The high school show will focus on the challenges teachers, parents and pupils have been facing during the pandemic.
Series 11 will be filmed in Greater Manchester, constituting the new long-running drama series from the North of England that was promised by the BBC’s director general Tim Davie in March.
Cameron Roach will also return as the programme’s executive producer.
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“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,” said the BBC’s director of BBC Drama, Piers Wenger.
“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.”
What was Waterloo Road about?
The drama, which aired from 2006-2015 on BBC One and later BBC Three, chronicled life in schools in Rochdale (for the first seven series) and then Greenock.
It helped to launch the careers of Bridgerton stars Rege-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor, as well as Emmerdale’s Adam Thomas and Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman.
Despite its absence from the TV schedules, the programme found a new audience after the boxset was released on BBC iPlayer in 2019. The corporation said the show was particularly popular with younger and more diverse audiences.
The BBC is set to reveal another new drama series from the nations [Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales] soon, as part of its pledge to move more programmes outside of London.
While some people, like the actress Shannon Flynn, have said they are “excited” about the return of Waterloo Road, some TV critics expressed scepticism about it being considered a new show for the North.
The Guardian’s Jim Waterson tweeted: “So this is the ‘new long-running drama series’ set in the north of England promised by Tim Davie in March that they axed Holby City to fund?”
It was announced in June that Holby City, the long-running BBC medical drama, was to end after 23 years in order to create new opportunities elsewhere.
“Meet the new BBC Northern continuing drama. Same as the old BBC Northern continuing drama,” joked Nick Walker, creator of the Daytime Snaps account on Twitter, which often goes viral with its humorous television screengrabs.
TV critic Scott Bryan noted how Waterloo Road previously “had moved to Glasgow – before the show was axed in 2015”.
Executive producer Roach, who has also previously worked on another BBC drama series Life on Mars, said he was “thrilled” to “re-ignite 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,” he said.
Great news hearing Waterloo Road is making a return. I had a blast with my years on the show and the platform it gives young actors is rarely matched in British television!
Actor Shane O’Meara said: “Great news hearing Waterloo Road is making a return. I had a blast with my years on the show and the platform it gives young actors is rarely matched in British television!”