As a new term starts at Waterloo Road, Alex Walkinshaw reveals why his PE teacher character Jez is prime suspect for the hit and run on headmaster Michael…

When we last saw PE teacher, Jez Diamond, he was reeling from wife Sian’s affair with headmaster Michael Byrne. How does that pan out when we catch up with him?
“Sian and Jez are putting their marriage back together. He really does love her and he’s desperate for it to work and he’s focused on getting it right this time, but he’s still like a bull in a china shop about things!”

So he’s still jumping in head first without really thinking?
“Absolutely! That’s his biggest problem. When Jez gets an idea and Sian shows a glimmer of interest, he latches onto it. He mentions having a baby and then makes it a big thing. He’s totally committed to Sian and anything that will make their relationship stronger.”

Michael’s had amnesia since the accident, and everyone suspects Jez of driving the car and leaving him for dead. Why doesn’t Jez admit he was with school secretary Janeece?
“Since Michael’s hit and run all fingers are pointed at Jez. He feels under a lot of pressure and is very frustrated, as everyone he works with at school sees him as the main suspect. He thinks they should come out and say it instead of gossiping behind his back. He told Sian he was at the gym, as he doesn’t want her to know he was at Janeece’s apologising for a drunken pass he made at her! Even though it was innocent he wants to draw a line under the whole thing and move on by making his marriage his priority.”

A lot of people in Jez’s situation would have quit. Why does he return to Waterloo Road?
“He goes back to work because he wants to see for himself that the affair between Michael and Sian is over. He also comes back to prove a point to Michael that he’s the bigger man. Jez thinks ‘I’m going to be professional, but I’m also keeping my beady eye on you Michael!’ There’s definitely trust issues at play for Jez.”

How are his children, Madi and Zack, coping with their dad and stepmum’s reconciliation?
“Zack’s much happier about things, but he’s not fully in the picture. Madi is older, however, and very much a daddy’s girl, so she’s making Sian squirm! Madi’s definitely got the hump with Sian, but it’s justified.”

Before you joined Waterloo Road you were best known as The Bill’s Smithy. Have you noticed your fan base changing slightly?
“Yes, a lot more kids know who I am. Instead of people shouting ‘Smithy!!!’ at me I now get ‘Sir!’, ‘Mr Diamond’ and ‘Jezzer’. They’re very vocal and very funny! It’s lovely.”

Waterloo Road returns to BBC1 on Wednesday, February 22 at 8pm