We caught up with Naveed Choudhry, who told us about his brief return to BBC One’s Waterloo Road as fan favourite Tariq Siddiqui…
What brings Tariq back to Waterloo Road this week?
“It’s not a happy occasion, Grantly has passed away and Tariq returns for his funeral. Grantly was really good to Tariq when he lived in the boarding house and he looked to him as a father figure, so it’s important for him to pay his respects and support Maggie (Melanie Hill).”
What does he get up to during his return?
“Tariq sticks around after the funeral as he can see Harley isn’t taking Grantly’s death well. He’s there to reassure him and is someone for the younger ones to lean on.
He also gets involved in Kacey Barry’s boxing training, at Nikki Boston’s request. Kacey’s a bit down in the dumps after losing her first fight and Tariq, who has time off from his Paralympics duties, attempts to life her spirits.”
Is he a bit of a Mr Motivator?
“Yes, it comes across like that! He’s come back a lot more mature so is able to help Harley come to terms with the loss of Grantly and also encourage Kacey with her boxing. Although he’s come back at a sad time, he brings some positivity with him.”
He’s a very popular Waterloo Road character. Do you still get recognised by fans when you’re out and about?
“Yeah, I do and I don’t! I can see sometimes, people thinking ‘is that him?’ and I do get a lot on Twitter asking when Tariq’s coming back. It’s nice to know he hasn’t been forgotten completely!”
What have you been doing since you left Waterloo Road last year?
“I’ve done a few jobs and was fortunate enough to be cast in a film. I’m also doing a bit of teaching in a drama school. I’m also in the process of writing some things for myself.”
Was it an easy decision to return to Waterloo Road for this episode?
“It was a really easy decision to return. I was really excited to see how the show had moved on and meet the new cast. I’m in total awe of Brogan Ellis, who plays Kacey, working with her was one of the highlights. She’s just so talented. It was also great to see Laurie Brett (headmistress Christine) and Georgie Glen (teacher Audrey McFall) again. Philip Martin Brown (Grantly Budgen) and I even managed to catch up, as he was still filming some of his final scene. I had a cracking time.”