Friday 24 May 2013
BBC One's award winning school drama series Waterloo Road is to re-locate to Scotland.
Made by Shed Productions, the popular drama series, which is currently filming its seventh series and regularly attracts over five million viewers, will move its production to Scotland as part of the BBC's move to increase network programming from Scotland and the other nations of the UK.
Moving to an as yet unidentified location in Scotland from April 2012 to film an initial 50 one-hour episodes over two years, Waterloo Road will provide a significant boost to the Scottish creative sector. A dramatic and explosive storyline will be played out at the end of series 7 (to be broadcast on BBC One this Autumn and in Spring 2012), which will see a number of current teachers and pupils setting up a new independent school in Scotland. The drama will be executive produced by Shed Productions Head of Drama, Cameron Roach, and Gaynor Holmes for the BBC.
Set up by Eileen Gallagher, Brian Park, Maureen Chadwick and former secondary teacher Ann McManus in 1998, Shed Productions have been responsible for a number of high-profile dramas including Footballers' Wives and Bad Girls. In 2008 they established an office in Glasgow's Media Quarter, where last year they launched the online spin-off, Waterloo Road Reunited, which followed the post-school lives of some of the show's regular characters.
Shed also recently helped establish a TV fiction scriptwriting postgraduate course at Glasgow Caledonian University, and are keen to greenlight a number of production training programmes in Scotland to tie in with the arrival of Waterloo Road.
Waterloo Road is part of BBC Scotland's thriving drama department, which recently made Case Histories for BBC One and currently has a second series of Lip Service filming in Scotland for BBC Three. A new series based on vet James Herriot's student days, Young Herriot, is transmitting in the Autumn on BBC One. The department's in-house team are also responsible for BBC Scotland's popular weekly soap, River City, which films in Dumbarton.
Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, says: "As part of our ongoing commitment to establishing a drama base in Scotland I asked Shed whether they would be interested in relocating future series of Waterloo Road to their home country. Whilst sad to leave Rochdale they immediately saw the potential of the new stories they could tell, as well as being excited about putting down roots in their native Scotland. I am sure fans will love what Shed have planned – it will remain the show our audience love.
"Alongside River City, the arrival of Waterloo Road establishes Scotland as a home of mass drama production and I am excited about the many new Scottish developments coming down the track.
"I would like to pay tribute to Rochdale and the local community who have taken the hit series to their hearts over the past seven years and saw it triumph at this year's National TV Awards to win most popular drama. Getting drama right in the North is hugely important to me and next year demonstrates this commitment and investment with five new BBC One titles launching – The Fuse, Syndicate, Prisoners' Wives, Anthony And Cleopatra and Savage – plus a second series of Jimmy McGovern's Accused."
Talking about the move Shed's CEO Eileen Gallagher says: "Waterloo Road has had an incredibly happy six years in Rochdale working with one of the best TV crews in the country. But now we have outgrown our present site and we couldn't resist the BBC offer to take the show to Scotland.
"Shed has a great relationship with BBC Scotland who have executive produced the show since its inception. The inspiration for Waterloo Road came from its creator, Ann McManus, who spent several years teaching in Glasgow secondary schools.
"It now seems fitting that Waterloo Road has come full circle to be made in Scotland. But the essence of the show will remain the same – a drama about the highly topical issue of how families and schools help children reach adulthood."
Donalda MacKinnon, Head of Programmes and Services, BBC Scotland, said: "This is excellent news for BBC Scotland and for the wider creative sector in the country. We have a strong track record of productions with Shed and we are delighted they can bring Waterloo Road to Scotland. It is another milestone in the development of BBC Scotland as a significant and sustainable centre of distinctive drama production and is a welcome addition to our portfolio of programming for the network."
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