School-based drama Waterloo Road comes to
BBC ONE, Thursday 9 March 2006
Jason Merrells plays Jack Rimmer
Give a description of the character you play:
Jack is hastily promoted as the new headmaster at Waterloo
Road following the nervous breakdown of the previous one. He is divorced
and disillusioned but still commands some respect by his gruffness.
Describe your character in three words:
Bullish, frazzled and
What do you like about Jack?
like the fact that Jack has flaws, flaws are more interesting to play
generally. Jack is a good man at heart.
What do you like least about Jack?
What are Jack's life values and do these differ from your
Jack tells himself he wants things smooth - the quiet life.
But underneath he wants to make a difference. Too much comfort makes
How are you similar to Jack?
We look similar and share a collar size.
Does your character have love interest?
Apart from a quick slice with Steph which is a
mistake, I don't know. Jack
is seduced by Steph, but realises immediately
this is a mistake.
Why do you think they are attracted to this person?
A moment of madness.
Which character at Waterloo Road does Jack relate
Jack initially relates best to Kim
whose much more motherly style of teaching he secretly admires.
soon this includes Andrew all
three are determined to take on the
school and make it better.
Do you think you would make a good headmaster?
I admire teachers enormously
but I'm not sure I'd have the dedication.
What school did you go to?
Buckhurst Hill Country
High School for boys (Comprehensive).
Which aspect of school did you enjoy the most?
Finding some escape
for it - it was tough.
What was your favourite subject?
Art and English.
What was your least favourite subject?
What were your school reports like?
I can't really remember my school reports. I am sure I would
have been described as being lazy quite frequently though.
Did you have to wear a uniform? If so what was it
Did you have an inspiring teacher?
My English teacher, Mr Patrick was really inspiring. He
showed me through literature how everything is connected; arts, politics,
Have you ever had the opportunity to teach?
I have been able to give some drama classes which I really
you think you could teach?
I could teach certain things. I like
to direct which is not dissimilar still.
What sort of student
Have you continued to study in any form?
I study life drawing and I love reading. Life is study for
me and think you should never stop learning.
How did you do at school?
Five O Levels and Three A Levels.
Any funny or interesting
school days stories?
In the first week, Donaghue, the evil school
skinhead was lining up little first years to be whipped with sticks
and generally abused.
I was only saved
at the last minute by one of his henchman recognising me as "Little
Do you still keep in touch with anyone
you were at school with?
There are four of us who are still close.
you ever been a victim of bullying?
I wasn't a specific victim
but I did have a couple of nasty fights but mostly managed
to avoid it.
Any words of advice to kids who are victims of bullying?
If you can stand
up for yourself do. If you can't, run.
If you have kids
of your own do you take a keen interest in their education?
Were you good at sport at school?
How do you keep in shape nowadays?
What do you think about school dinners?
It's crazy to feed kids worse food than we feed ourselves.
Where were you born and brought up?
Where do you live now?
North East, London.
If you had to teach what subject would you like to
What were your first impressions of arriving at the
Waterloo Road set?
It was surprising to see how authentic the location
was, quite grim but perfect for the story. It didn't really remind
me of my school.
Do you see similarities between Waterloo Road and
a school you know or attended?
I went to a comprehensive so yes,
but the buildings were quite different.
Describe the staff room at
A room with chairs.
Do you think Waterloo Road is a realistic portrayal
of a school?
Yes. It deals with serious social and educational issues.
The school isn't a convenient backdrop, it's an integral part
of the story.
How did you spend your school holidays?
around with friends, reading.
Did you have a Saturday job?
I worked on Saturdays at Wimpy for a while.
Do you have brothers and sisters and were you at school
I was at a school with my big brother. He was a godsend
in many situations but annoying in others.
Did you ever go on a
France bangers mayhem.
Were you naughty at school?
I had my fair share of detention and I got the
slipper and the cane a couple of times.
What was the worst thing you did and did you get caught?
We had a school disco in '83 which turned into
a riot. We never had another! We all thought we were little punks at
What age did
you leave school?
I left school at 18 and went
to art school.
What was your first ever job?
My first job after school was labouring.
What was your first professional acting role?
Oliver in 'As You Like It'.