Waterloo Road: I'm the new deputy head

Thursday 12 September 2013, 09:17

Richard Mylan Richard Mylan Actor

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When I was sent the role of Waterloo Road’s new deputy from my agent, I instantly liked Simon Lowsley’s character and set my mind on landing the part.

As luck would have it, the weekend before the audition I came down with the norovirus and was horribly ill for the whole week, wiping out my chances of even trying out for it.  

Just as I started feeling human again, the show called me up – they still hadn’t found the right Simon and wanted me to come in again - and here I am. 

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Nikki makes the effort with Simon but Grantly warns Christine that Simon is after her job.
Obviously it was nerve-wracking joining such an established show but everyone made me feel welcome and as there’s new people coming in all the time, no one ever feels like the new guy for very long.

Simon is a dynamic character to play. On one hand, he’s ruthlessly ambitious, he doesn’t just want to be a head teacher, he wants to be THE head teacher and I wasn’t sure where this would take him. 

There’s a real drive in him that makes all of the other teachers a bit on edge. Or maybe they’re just fed up of him being such a smug git?

I think he’s a good guy. He cares about making a difference and is genuinely interested in the pupils, even if he comes across as a bit of a jobsworth at times.

Playing Simon has been an education in itself. In one scene, Simon has to step up and take control of Sue Spark’s class as she’s completely lost control.

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New teacher Sue Spark struggles to control her unruly class.
It was through this that I learned I have an authoritative side that I’ve actually never had to call upon in my real life teaching (I teach drama to young offenders and at the Prince’s Trust).

I think a pupil/teacher relationship should be one built on trust, rather than fear and this is important no matter who you are teaching. 

I’ve always been of a firm but fair kind of mindset, but if push ever came to shove now, I’d probably just get my 'strict Simon' on.  

I think teaching can be very much like performing drama – enacting a role on stage, like a one-man play. You learn the lines, work on your delivery and make sure it is as engaging as possible so you have a captive audience.

The only difference being the stage is your classroom and you can pause to tell your audience to shut up if they’re not listening!

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The new term: watch the trailer for series nine
One of my old teachers was exactly like this. He saw his class as his theatre and when he read out stories, he put on the different voices and embellished the characters. 

I liked that as he made it so much more interesting and I often think of him when I’m reading over the scripts for Waterloo Road.

Some of my friends are teachers and they love the show because they say it’s a true representation of school life, minus the amount of visits by the emergency services!  

There’s a lot of laughter on set as the cast all get on with one another really well.  Joe Slater (Lenny Brown) and Mark Beswick (Darren Hughes) are currently keeping us all entertained with their funny dance. 

It gets more and more elaborate every time they do it (which is a LOT).

Actually I get on a little too well with Laurie Brett, who plays the head Christine Mulgrew – we’re always cracking each other up during filming. 

In fact, it’s only a matter of time before one, or both, of us get sent to detention…  

Richard Mylan plays Simon Lowsley in series nine of Waterloo Road.
 
Waterloo Road continues on Thursdays at 8pm on BBC One and BBC One HD. For further programme times please see the episode guide.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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