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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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Waterloo Road – Eva Pope plays Rachel Mason

l-r Jason Done as Tom Clarkson, Neil Morrissey as Eddie Lawson, Eva Pope as Rachel Mason, Denise Welch as Steph Haydock and Phillip Martin Brown as Grantly Budgen

Describe Rachel and her role at Waterloo Road

As Head Teacher, Rachel demands the best from her staff and is kind, caring and soft-hearted with a wry, sometimes playful sense of humour. Rachel is very committed to her work, which she sees as a vocation. Rachel is also straightforward and doesn't suffer fools. Although Rachel doesn't teach she inspires her teachers and pupils to better themselves. She's introducing new initiatives to involve the whole community with the school, opening it up to adults as well as their children.

What plans does Rachel have for the school?

Rachel has big plans, including a zero-exclusion policy, breakfast and after-school clubs, and adult evening classes – she wants to create a community school, and there's even a new creche!

What do you like about Rachel?

I like her courage and commitment, and her connection with the humanity in people. She has an instinctive ability to bring out the best in people.

What do you like least about Rachel?

Rachel is a loner and needs to open up to people more – share herself.

Do you think you'd like Rachel if you met her?

Yes, very much – she reminds me of me!

Does Rachel have a love interest?

There was a spark between Rachel and Eddie, but she doesn't feel ready to further their relationship because of the after-effects of the fire. Eddie has a relationship with Rachel's sister but watch this space! It's a really interesting storyline.

Which character at Waterloo Road does Rachel relate best to?

Rachel probably relates best to Eddie – he has similar beliefs and morals. But Rachel gets on with them all – except Grantly and Steph, when they are being lazy and doing their jobs badly.

Which school did you go to?

St Peter's in Orrell, Wigan.

Describe what sort of student you were?

As a student I was a nervous, unconfident one, then a rebel.

Did you like school? If so, any one thing in particular?

I didn't like school – I hated it!

What did you like least about school?

There's not one subject I can say I liked least about school, it was almost everything.

What was your first ever job?

My first ever job was working with my dad in his landscape gardening firm.

What was your first professional acting role?

My first professional acting role was playing a ghost in The Turn Of The Screw at the Dundee Theatre.

Which role do you think you're best known for?

The role I am probably best known for is as Tanya Pooley in Coronation Street. Even though I left 14 years ago and have played more than 25 different roles since then (and I was only on the Street for a year).

What is your favourite storyline coming up and why?

My favourite storyline is the challenge of the Kellys, it must be the most powerful in this series.

What have you enjoyed most about recording Waterloo Road?

Working on Waterloo Road I've most enjoyed meeting some great people and loving my character.

Can you remember what your school reports said about you?

My school reports said "could try harder" and "causes trouble".

Did you get good exam results?

I did get good exam results for the ones I turned up to.

Did you go to college – if so, what did you study?

I studied A level Theatre Studies, English Language and English Literature, and then went to drama college for three years.

What sort of teacher do you think you would make?

Not sure I'd make a great teacher.

Did you have an inspiring teacher?

My most inspiring teacher was my drama teacher, Mrs Cathy Jones.

What was your favourite subject?

My favourite subject was drama of course!

What was your least favourite subject?

Maths was my least favourite subject.

What are your plans after finishing filming the series?

After filming I plan to have a rest.

Have you any long term goals or ambitions?

I have millions of long term goals but that's a whole other subject.

Where were you born and brought up?

I was born and brought up on Worthington Farm, Appley Bridge, Wigan.

Where do you live now?

I used to live in London but have returned to Appley Bridge.

Have you picked up a better understanding of teaching since playing Rachel?

Since playing Rachel I'm much more sympathetic to a true teacher's cause, and the difficulties they encounter, but I grew up with a mother who was a teacher so...

Waterloo Road is filmed in Rochdale near Manchester, are you enjoying living and working there?

I really enjoyed living and working in Manchester.

Have you managed to see much of the local area?

Unfortunately I haven't had time to see much of the local area. Bit hard when you work 15 hours a day. Maybe someone could give me a guided tour (limousine please)!

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