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Drama (2006-2015) set in a dodgy version of The Good Old British Comp.

The new headmaster of Waterloo Road, a failing comprehensive in Rochdale, Lancashire, has to turn the school around. He does so, but has to resign over financial irregularities.

Things are a little bit crazy here. So far- see the recap.

It should be noted that we only actually see a few of the teaching staff and everything seems to happen to them. And a disproportionate number teach English. It's not specified what size Waterloo Road is (it's filmed in an old primary school, considerably smaller than most high secondary schools in the UK) but there are probably many more we haven't seen. There's no visible PE teacher for a start.

  • There is now a Head of PE for Season 4 and he's definitely the competitive type - he's brought in full-contact boxing and considers that the girls' football team is not trying hard enough if "it's not the winning that matters". He then abolishes said football team and replaces it with a cheerleading squad.
  • 5.11 mentions 650 kids, which is pretty small for a Good Old British Comp, but still too many for the staff we see.

Speaking of PE teachers, the uniform standards at this school are sloppy to say the least. Uniform standards slightly improved over the course of the first season, Word of God being that this was a deliberate way of representing the school's improvement. Of course they've still got some way to go.


This show contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Well, naturally.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Or rather just Maxine wanting Earl. Which results in the former's death.
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Possibly the reason why none of the girls complained when it was created.
  • An Aesop: Frequently used, in all formats of the trope.
  • Apathetic Teacher: Mr Budgen.
  • Axes At School: Several times, notably in the series 4 opener.
  • Badass Teacher:
    • Mr Rimmer.
    • Standing up to the woman he loves and putting himself between a thug with a knife and a student, all in one day? Who expected that from Chalky?
  • Berserk Button:
    • Lindsay is quick to offer a death threat to anyone who hurts her sister. She means it.
    • And increasingly, Mr Mead tends to lose it whenever one of his students are endangered or harmed.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The second season finale, everything seems to be going right for the school and then a teacher gets stabbed to death right before the closing credits. It was left open as to whether she was actually dead until the start of the next season, probably because the actress was involved in contract negotiations.
  • British Brevity: Well and truly averted by the 20-hour Series 3.
    • The opening episode of Season 4 was 90 minutes long and there's a projected 20 episodes again this season!
    • Plus another season also of 20 episodes!
  • Coming Out Story: Josh.
  • Corrupt Church: Gerry Preston.
  • Crapsack World: One reviewer described it, not entirely inaccurately, as being set in a town that resembles a cross between Dante's Inferno and Baghdad.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • In Series 5 we find out that Lindsay James was sexually abused by her father leading to her eventually murdering him.
    • Rachel Mason was revealed to have worked as a prostitute before becoming a teacher.
    • Bex appears to have had one, from the time she was missing.
  • Dawson Casting: Considering UK laws on child filming and the fact that the pupils are a major part of the show, it's pretty much a given.
    • A possible Lampshade Hanging in the third season when a teacher successfully passes herself off as a student for a football match.
    • Taken to the extreme with the casting of 28 year old Roxanne Pallett as a 17 year old. [1]
  • Driven to Suicide: Lorna Dickey.
  • Does Not Like Men: Lindsay has a few moments like this, due to her abusive father.
  • Dysfunction Junction
  • Economy Cast
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: A female teacher gets hair extensions... and then kills herself.
  • Fake Nationality: Francesca Montoya is played by an Indian actress of British extraction, born in India.
  • Fan Service:
    • Elizabeth Berrington aka Ruby Fry, and an uncredited teacher played by a blonde extra.
    • And more recently pop star Karen David as Francesca Montoya.
  • Freak-Out: the very first episode starts with the old headmaster, Mr. Vaisey, being driven to a nervous breakdown by the appalling state of the school.
  • The Good Old British Comp
  • Heroic BSOD: Nearly always Grantly Budgen, or Tom Clarkson.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Several, namely:
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Rachel Mason, sort of.
  • I Object: Donte and Chlo's first wedding.
  • Katy Perry: Her music is sometimes used as background music.
  • Kidanova: Aiden, who manages to get two girls pregnant during series 7.
  • Kill'Em All: In one of the most bizzarre Mood Whiplashes ever.
  • {{Jerkass}:
    • Ralph Mellor.
    • And Lewis Seddon, to a rather extreme degree, though he eventually reforms.
  • Large Ham: "Amy is NOT BANKSY!"
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Chloe's hair-style goes up when she separates from Donte for a while.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Rose Kelly, post-straightening herself out.
    • Rachel Mason towards her students.
  • Mood Whiplash
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Averted by filming and setting it in a real town, though they Did Not Do the Research once or twice in the first season.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever Danielle keeps going on about with her friends that involves "a bottle of Diet Coke, some chips and a night out in Rochdale town centre". Also, Karla's background and her Asperger's Syndrome.
  • Oop North: A reasonably authentic portrayal, less the more over-the-top plotlines.
  • Psychologist Teacher:
  • Put on a Bus: Mika, who is stated on the official website to have gone to university.
  • Real Life Relative: Steph and Dave the security guard are played by actors who are married to each other in real life.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: a particularly ludicrous case. The BBC decided it needed to make more of its programmes in Scotland, including Waterloo Road. So at the end of series 7 the local authority closes the school. Meanwhile a rich philanthropist and former pupil of headmaster Mr. Byrne has decided to set up a private but non-fee-paying school for local children in a deprived area near Glasgow...so Mr. Byrne decides to move there, along with most of the named teachers and even some of the pupils (the new school will have a boarding house). All this is about as realistic as an episode of Doctor Who.
  • Reality Subtext: A few times.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Karla, the girl who has Asperger's syndrome.
  • Refuge in Vulgarity: Paul Langley and Bolton Smillie.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Too many times to count.
  • Rule of Funny: Used too many times to count.
  • School Play: The aforementioned musical, which of course contains Suspiciously Apropos Music.
  • Sexy Schoolwoman: As yet averted. It looks wrong for the time slot (8pm) and the people who wear school uniforms are school-age characters, who don't do that sort of thing.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Philip goes from sending Flick cheesy cards to leaving a set of his aunt's underwear in her school bag.
  • Stern Teacher: Mr Treneman. On his first day, when he sees a pupil take another boy's bus pass in the queue for the school bus, he calls the police. He then introduces the "cooler" for those who misbehave.
  • Stock Punishment: Mr. Budgen gets sponges thrown at him for a fair to raise money for Rwanda aid projects.
  • Strawman Political: Mika as tree-hugger. Seriously, that woman needs some help.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Somewhat subverted. Miss Koreshi got verbal, but never physical.
  • Viral Marketing: Inverted. The semi-regular appearance of WRTL 2600 and Delta streetlights in outside broadcasts makes it look that way, anyway. No, the streetlighting firm WRTL does not have any involvement with the show, despite popular belief.
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