Behind the scenes at Waterloo Road

In our October issue Flic Everett visits Greenock in Scotland, the new home of popular BBC drama, Waterloo Road. Here she adds a little extra insight into her very special school trip.

“Going behind the scenes on Waterloo Road wasn’t like other ‘on set’ visits I’ve done. For a start, the Waterloo Road set was a real school until last year – and all the school scenes are filmed in the actual science lab, canteen or classrooms. The PR lady told me all they’d had to do was cut windows in the corridor walls of classrooms so they could film through them.

I thought it would be full of teenage extras, but unless there’s a huge scene being filmed, they only use a few actors at a time and the main cast consists of pupils over 16, so they’ve left education. It was just like being back at school – I even felt a bit nervous before meeting headmaster Michael, played by Alec Newman! He really looks the part in a sharp grey suit. He told me that sometimes he yells “Silence!” just like a real headmaster, and all the ‘kids’ jump to attention.

I thought the cast and crew might be furious they’d had to decamp to Scotland to film the new series, but I hadn’t realised that Greenock has a gorgeous beach. And Jodi Allen, who plays Scout, told me they have a lot of fun going out in Glasgow at the weekends.

Waterloo Road

The best bit for me was seeing the props department. Tina, the prop lady, is basically in charge of a room like the Room of Requirement in Hogwarts. If they need family photos, ornaments, furniture or gadgets, it’s Tina’s job to find them – she admitted she spends most of her time at car boot sales. There’s even a woodwork shop next door where, on the day I visited, they were preparing props for a very dramatic scene later in the series – let’s just say, I hope they were flameproof

Everyone was really welcoming, but I did make one beginner’s error. Keen to look professional, I wore high heels, not realising that when you’re filming in tiled, echoing corridors, the noise of high heels clicking along is a director’s worst nightmare. I spent most of the day on tiptoe – but luckily everyone was kind enough not to mention it. I had a really fun day back at school, and the teachers were a lot nicer than I expected!”

One Response to Waterloo Road

  1. Margaret Richardson says:

    Love the series especially now it is filmed in Greenock as I used to attend ‘Waterloo Road’ when it was a real school, Greenock Academy. Many happy memories, and beautiful views from the top floor of the River Clyde.

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