Waterloo Road’s headmaster Michael Byrne, actor Alec Newman, talks to TV Times magazine about why life could have been so different and what he thinks about the show’s relocation to Glasgow…

What were you like at school?
“I did enjoy school. I was a bit of a swot and a bit sporty – then sport got in the way!”

So you didn’t always want to be an actor?
“I really wanted to be a professional footballer, but I smashed my knee to bits when I was 18, and that put an end to that career. But that’s OK because that led me to what I do now. I’ve been very fortunate. Though I do still play when I can!”

How would you describe your character, headteacher Michael Byrne?
“Michael’s fiery and has big ideas about education so it makes sense that he’s always the one who gets stabbed, beaten up or run over! But he’s a punchy character, and I enjoy playing him.”

What can we expect to see happening to Michael this series?
“I think of my first 10 episodes as Michael having his effect on Waterloo Road and, so as a flip to that, these next 10 are the effect that Waterloo Road is having on him. Michael’s in for a time of reflection and it’ll stay that way for a while.”

What do you make of the show’s move to Glasgow?
“With the exception of my parents, who live down south, all my family is Glaswegian. I love working in Scotland, I always end up back there!”