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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Waterloo Road: new faces – cast biographies

L-R back row: Ruby Fry (Elizabeth Berrington), Tom Clarkson (Jason Pope), Jo Lipsett (Sarah Jane Poots), Steph Haydock (Denise Welch), Helen Hoyle (Vinette Robinson), Christopher Meade (William Ash), Grantly Budgen (Philip Martin Brown); front row: Rachel Mason (Eva Pope), Kim Campbell (Angela Griffin) and Max Tyler (Tom Chambers)

Max Tyler – Executive Head Teacher

New Executive Head Teacher Max Tyler is a driven, highly ambitious man with a hard-working ethos who measures schools' achievements via league table success. For Max, children need boundaries, discipline, a sense of purpose and respect for others.

Max believes social disadvantage shouldn't hold children back nor should pupils be able to use their circumstances as an excuse for bad behaviour. If a pupil with talent isn't prepared to push themselves, Max will do it for them.

Max's role is as Executive Head of four schools in the area, but as the ex-Head Teacher of John Foster's, his ties to Waterloo Road are strongest and he finds it hard to focus on other schools on his patch.

Max quickly persuades the LEA to position him at Waterloo Road full-time, where his educational ethos clashes spectacularly with Rachel's as they fight a subtle turf war in the staffroom.

Christopher Mead – Deputy Head

Max's Deputy Head is Christopher Mead. In his early thirties and born and bred in Cheshire, Christopher is the son of self-made working class parents.

Ambitious and attractive, Christopher followed his parents' example on leaving school and won himself a high-powered job in the city, where he excelled at chasing big bucks.

When he lost his job Christopher turned to education as a stopgap, but discovered his true calling as a science teacher and is one of the most popular members of staff – especially among the female pupils.

Jo Lipsett – Head of Modern Languages

Head of Modern Languages at John Foster's (and Steph's new boss) is Jo Lipsett. Jo's in her early thirties, she's determined, spirited and brings talent to the staffroom with a true enthusiasm for her subject.

Jo has worked hard to become Head of Languages at the tender age of 31, but behind the youthful veneer is an old-style school teacher who exudes confidence and authority and is respected by staff and pupils alike.

Jo is a lesbian which she neither denies nor flaunts.

Ruby Fry – food technology teacher

Ruby Fry is in her late thirties. She is airlifted in by Max to teach the kids how to cook because it's now a compulsory part of the curriculum.

She's passionate about food and cooking but is an outright snob and looks down her nose at both the Waterloo Road pupils and staff alike.

Ruby's job allows her to indulge in her favourite pastime, which is showing the plebs how it's done. And she's not above dispensing advice in areas outside of cooking, if she believes her expert guidance is necessary.

Helen Hopewell – English teacher

New English teacher Helen Hopewell is just 23 and in her first year as a qualified teacher. She is enthusiastic and shiny-eyed but ,unfortunately, incompetent and weak-willed.

Quickly nicknamed "Hopeless Hopewell" by the pupils, Amy and Michaela in particular grind Helen down and, while Tom does his best to take her under his wing, Helen doesn't seem to be improving. Instead she blames all her failures on the "savagery" of the Waterloo Road pupils.

Lindsay James – age 16, Year 12 pupil

New lower sixth John Foster's girl Lindsay James is the daughter of fairly well-to-do parents and a hard nut to crack. Lindsay has traditionally been a model student, but after her mother, Marion, is arrested on suspicion of murdering her father, Lindsay explodes like a rocket at the smallest infraction.

Unable to face the enormity of events at home, she throws herself aggressively into the growing gang war and soon finds herself at the head of the John Foster's girls. And the only time we ever see her let down her "hard as nails" persona is when she's looking out for her little sister, Em.

Em(ily) James – age 12, Year 8 pupil

Emily James is in Year 8 and is Lindsay's younger sister. Em is a vulnerable and sweet girl who is hit hard by her mother's imprisonment and is easily upset by any comments or digs about her family. Unlike Lindsay she wears her battle scars on the outside, but then she knows her older sister will always protect her, no matter what. She is possibly the only person that Lindsay actually cares about, apart from their mother.

Ros McCain – age 16, Year 12 pupil

In the lower sixth is bookish Ros McCain, the surprise child of slightly older parents. Growing up with these two as her main influence, Ros has always had an "old head on young shoulders" and is an able and trustworthy student. She is often relied on by staff to help out with school projects or give advice to younger pupils in trouble.

Luke Pendle – age 14, Year 10 pupil

Year 10 boy Luke Pendle is an attractive student; he's always up for a laugh and is an immediate hit with both the lads and the ladies. But Luke's only interested in one girl – long-term girlfriend Siobhan. Together they make a popular, good-looking couple, but Luke's cavalier persona is hiding a secret about his background that even Siobhan doesn't know – he lives in a care home.

Siobhan Mailey – age 13, Year 10 pupil

Siobhan Mailey is a well-off, good-looking girl who initially looks down her nose at Waterloo Road. Siobhan's no pushover, but is impressionable when it comes to the iron will of best friend Amy, and she quickly becomes embroiled in the girl gangs, doing things she'll learn to regret.

Essentially, Siobhan just wants to fit in but when she tries to leave her gang, life gets tough. The girl gang also puts a strain on her relationship with boyfriend Luke – if her mates all think the Waterloo Road pupils are scuzzers, then what must they say about him?

Amy Porter – age 14, Year 10 pupil

Siobhan's best friend Amy Porter is from a loving, warm, but strict home. She's a natural leader with a rebellious streak and loves the drama of confrontation. There isn't an argument Amy will shy away from or an opportunity she'll miss to take offence.

Amy is wilful, spiteful and prepared to get creative if it means getting her own way – her Machiavellian resolve often lands Amy and best mate Siobhan in difficulty. Amy clashes with Michaela not just because of the gangs but also over her crush on Michaela's boyfriend, Bolton.

If there's trouble brewing anywhere, Amy's likely to be involved at the heart of it and while she is often sorry for her actions, she sometimes repeats her mistakes.

Josh Stevenson – age 14, Year 10 pupil

Josh is a fairly average lad. He grew up with his mother Georgia and their status as a single-parent family has made Josh fiercely defensive of her, perhaps rendering him a little over-sensitive to ridicule.

Josh rejects more macho pursuits like sport and football in favour of music and is a capable, if not utterly dedicated, student. He carries a secret chip on his shoulder and can't help but feel resentful towards the father he believes abandoned Georgia when he found out she was pregnant. But he is about to discover that his absent father is closer to home than he thinks.

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