Waterloo Road’s Laurie Brett: ‘Christine’s fall off the wagon is spectacular!’

Laurie Brett gives What’s on TV the lowdown on the Waterloo Road headmistress’s destructive downward spiral, which continues this Wednesday on BBC1…

Christine presses the self-destruct button his week. What factors have led her to this point of desperation?
“A few things have happened along the way, which bring Christine to this point. Her son, Connor, left for London earlier in the series. He’s always been her anchor, so she’s been adrift with him out of the equation. One-time love interest George (Angus Dayton) is wrapped up in his relationship with dinner lady Carol (Zoe Lucker). Also Christine is dealing with student Darren’s very difficult situation with his mum at home.”

In last week’s episode Christine fell off the wagon and wound up boozing with strangers in a dive bar. Where does the story pick up in the next episode?
“We saw her very calmly go to the pub and ask the barman to pour her one drink only – a double vodka! When we next catch up with her she wakes up in bed with a stranger after a four-day bender! It’s the beginning of a very bad day for Christine.”

Were you delighted when you read the scripts for this storyline?
“The plan was always for Christine to become the head of Waterloo Road and fall off the wagon. I just didn’t know how spectacular it was going to be! But when I read these scripts I knew it would be great to play. The team that wrote and filmed these episodes did a really great job. We all knew this was something special.”

What can we expect from the rest of this episode?

“Throughout this episode you see her trying to get herself together. Christine thinks she’s functioning, but she’s not. She crashes her car on the way to school and abandons it. This leads to her lying to the police and telling them it’s stolen. Later she returns home [to change and shower] only to find there’s a party in her house! She decides to have one drink there to steady her nerves as she’s got the shakes – but ends up putting a bottle of vodka in her bag and taking it to school. And it doesn’t stop there…”

She’s not a fun drunk, is she?
“Christine’s dangerous and wild when she drinks. She isn’t a nice drunk. There’s a lot of loneliness, anger, frustration and bitterness in her. At this point Christine just can’t cope any more. Everything’s gotten on top of her and she’s snapped. She thinks she’s nothing to lose so she keeps on drinking in her office. It’s quite a rollercoaster!”

There’s a strong possibility this episode will trend on Twitter. Do you tweet much?

“I dip in and out of it, but it’s not really me. I use it mainly for news, to follow things like the hacking trial. It’s also really useful to help publicise charity work. But I think I’m too old for it!”