Have you heard that the iconic BBC drama Waterloo Road is returning to our screens?
Waterloo Road originally aired from 2006 to 2015, and was one of the UK’s longest-running TV contemporary dramas – going on to launch the careers of many young and emerging actors, spawn plenty award-winning and highly-publicised storylines, draw in millions of viewers each week, and amass a cult-following of fans.
The show has consistently ranked among the top five most-watched shows for young audiences on the BBC iPlayer.
Set in a comprehensive school of the same name, Waterloo Road was famously set and filmed in Rochdale from series one until the end of series seven, before moving to the Scottish town of Greenock until the end of the show.
But, back in September, the BBC announced that the show would be rebooted and make a return to our TV screens.
With the spotlight on education in the UK now more intense than ever before, and with awareness of the challenges that teachers, parents and pupils face more pronounced amid the ongoing COVID pandemic, the BBC says Waterloo Road will use its rich history of “telling entertaining and gripping human stories”, while “tackling the important issues of the day”.
The BBC also says the revival of Waterloo Road will boost drama production skills in the North of England, with production for the show will take place right here in Greater Manchester.
“Waterloo Road will continue its reputation for kickstarting, supporting and enabling careers both in front of and behind the camera, in a truly inclusive way, from our base in Greater Manchester,” explained Executive Producer, Cameron Roach.
Early next year, Rope Ladder Fiction and Wall to Wall Media will be establishing a major production base in the region, and alongside the production, they will also be starting a new ‘Production Development Trainee Scheme’, which aims to inspire and encourage “a new generation of talent” for the sector.
With the support and assistance of Screen Manchester, the six-month paid programme – which begins in February 2022 – will give eight people the Greater Manchester area the broadcast industry experience needing to access careers in the creative sector.
The available trainee roles will cover key scripted departments across the drama – including production, sound, camera, make-up, costume, electrical, locations, art department, and music supervision – to allow the trainees an insight into the production process more broadly.
“Through production of Waterloo Road, we want to open doors and create valuable career opportunities for aspiring behind-the-scenes talent, and we look forward to unearthing the next generation of crew in the north on such an exciting and large-scale drama production in Greater Manchester,” explained Leanne Klein – Managing Director of Wall to Wall Media.
If you’re looking to be a part of the revival of Waterloo Road right here in Greater Manchester, then trainees will be required to work 11-hour days and must be able to commit to the six month engagement.
The production base will be in Salford, and the roles are seeking passionate, hardworking individuals who are keen to learn and take on responsibility on a working production.
Fawlty Towers reboot starring John Cleese and his daughter on the way after 40 years
Fawlty Towers is set for a reboot after four decades, and the show’s original lead John Cleese is set to star alongside his daughter.
It’s been a long time coming, but after more than 40 years off air, production company Castle Rock Entertainment has announced this week that it has closed a deal with John Cleese to bring Fawlty Towers back to our screens.
The show originally ran from 1975-1979 on BBC Two, and is widely regard by fans and critics as being one of the greatest sitcoms of all time.
Written by and starring John Cleese and Connie Booth, in case you’re unfamiliar with the show, or haven’t gotten around to giving it a watch, Fawlty Towers is set inside a fictional hotel of the same name in the seaside town of Torquay, and follows the working lives of rude hotel owner Basil Fawlty played by Cleese, his bossy wife Sybil played by Prunella Scales, the sensible chambermaid and peacemaker Polly played by Booth, and the hapless and English-challenged Spanish waiter Manuel played Andrew Sachs.
Storylines usually follow the team’s attempts to run the hotel while a bunch of farcical situations and an ever-changing lineup of demanding guests and tradespeople run a muck.
Cleese told The Independent in 2018 that “there’s not much point” in a Fawlty Towers remake, and had even hinted that reboot probably wouldn’t work nowadays – but it seems he’s now changed his tune on the idea.
The 83-year-old comedian, actor, and screenwriter – who has in recent years been vocal against what he calls “wokeness” and “cancel culture”, and is soon set to present a show on right-wing news channel GB News as he wants to “promote proper argument” – will reprise his role as Basil Fawlty in the reboot.
His real-life daughter, Camilla Cleese, will star alongside him as the hotelier’s long-lost daughter who has recently returned.
According to the show’s directors Matthew George and Derrick Rossi – who are also producing alongside Cleese, and Rob and Michele Reiner – the reboot will explore how the dramatic and cynical Basil navigates the modern world, while running a boutique hotel.
Speaking on the upcoming reboot, Cleese said: “When we first met, he [Matthew George] offered an excellent first idea, and then Matt, my daughter Camilla, and I had one of the best creative sessions I can remember. By dessert, we had an overall concept so good that, a few days later, it won the approval of Rob and Michele Reiner.
“Camilla and I look forward enormously to expanding it into a series.”