Some TV stands the test of time – and Waterloo Road has proved itself to be one of those shows. In 2021, as we isolated in uncertain and increasingly precarious times while the pandemic raged, many of us turned to familiar comforts. This, in part, explains the viewing figures for Waterloo Road. Although it ended in 2015, six years on it became iPlayer’s fourth most watched series of the year. In addition, new audiences were tuning in for the first time, demonstrating the cross-generational appeal of the schoolyard-based TV drama.
Come 2023, the series is back on our TV screens in the form of a reboot for old and new audiences alike. With a cast made up of familiar (Katie Griffiths, Angela Griffin and Adam Thomas reprise their roles) and fresh faces, there’s a palpable buzz around the possibilities ahead.
“I would say the reboot is very new and relevant to the issues that we have today. But it also has that old Waterloo Road charm that everybody loves,” Liverpool-born actor Adam Abbou tells The Big Issue. Abbou portrays new character Danny Lewis, a troubled Year 12 student who returns to Greater Manchester based secondary school, Waterloo High, after leaving two years prior during lockdown.
A character with nuance and complexity, Danny is brought to life through Abbou’s rousing portrayal, in what is the actor’s first recurring TV role (Abbou’s acting debut came at just 12, when he was cast as the lead in Billy Elliot the Musical).
“Danny is a kid who fell under the radar during the Covid lockdown, which is not a far cry from what a lot of people here in the UK dealt with. He has a lot of family issues, doesn’t come from a lot of money, and doesn’t always have the proper support that he needs,” explains Abbou.
Indeed, in our first introduction to the character we see a frantic Danny being chased through the school halls. When he’s eventually caught, it is revealed that he has been taking refuge in his former school after finding himself homeless, following a family breakdown in the midst of the pandemic.