Tom Payne plays Brett Aspinall
How would you describe Brett, the newest pupil at Waterloo Road?
"He's confident, troubled and aloof. He's left a public school to do his A-levels at Waterloo Road and he's one of the first students in the sixth form because it's brand-new this year."
What do you like about Brett?
"I like his independence, his fieriness and youthful arrogance, although he is a bit spoilt. He is yet to discover what is really important in life but he has a strong sense of what he believes to be right and wrong and is not afraid to question things.
"I also like his car – he's got this great American jeep! I don't drive myself, although I'm thinking about taking my test next year. I am not normally a fan of 4x4s but the one Brett drives is great."
What do you like least about playing Brett?
"It was strange having to go back to wearing school uniform!"
Do you share any characteristics with him?
"I definitely had a touch of his blind confidence and changeable emotion at school but never had the same conflicts with my family."
What goes through your mind when you think of your own school days?
"I miss not having any responsibilities but I don't miss people telling me what to do and expecting me to do it without question.
"I was a headstrong student. I loved the social life and I loved the inspiring drama teachers, but I hated having to do subjects that I wasn't interested in."
When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
"I don't think there was a particular defining moment. My first encounter was when I was about seven years old and I was dragged into a classroom to audition for the school play. I ended up playing an elf and I loved it! I think they had recognised I had a loud voice and was quite confident. I carried on acting in all the school productions and then, when I realised I enjoyed acting more than anything else at school, I decided to carry on. I auditioned for drama school and went to the Central School of Speech and Drama."
Is this your first big TV role?
"It is. After I left drama school, I got a role in Journey's End in the West End for five months, which was an amazing training. I was also in Shrieks Of Laughter at the Soho Theatre with Imogen Stubbs."
What have you enjoyed most about filming?
"I love filming in Brett's den. He's got this room with all his stuff in it, where he likes to hang out – and it's my favourite place. It's really cosy and he's got great stuff – I love looking at it all. He's got a full bar, stocked with alcohol, and old back issues of Q magazine, so I like reading up on loads of bands. It's a great space and I wish I'd had something like that when I was growing up but, mind you, it would have made me look very spoilt!"