Alec Newman reveals that Waterloo Road‘s headmaster, Michael, decides to help his father die…
In this week’s series finale Michael visits his emphysema-stricken father, who begs him to help him die. How does Michael react?
“Initially Michael is very resistant to helping his very ill father die. They’ve a chequered history, which hasn’t been totally resolved, but Michael puts aside the problems he has with his father and decides to give him the peace he’s looking for.”
How was it filming those scenes with Ron Donachie, who plays Billy?
“It’s not a pretty subject, but having said that it took the character of Michael to another level, which was very rewarding. It was made a lot easier by the fact that Ron is an exemplary actor with great instinct. The whole storyline with him was tremendous and we got on very well.”
Has working with guest-stars such as Ron and Alex Norton this series given you a different Waterloo Road experience?
“Yes, in a very definite way. It’s been nice to work with two heavyweight Scottish actors especially given that Michael’s stories are often the heavier end of the show, though I do enjoy watching characters like Janeece [Chelsee Healey]. Waterloo Road is interesting because it skates a lot of different genres.”
Will there be repercussions for Michael following his decision to help his dad die?
“Michael’s storylines have always been serious, but you can’t get more serious than the scenes where he helps his father die. I think he knows that and it’s something he’s factored into his decision-making.”
So, he doesn’t try to cover up his involvement?
“No. Being involved in a position of responsibility himself as a head-teacher, Michael intrinsically understands that you must be responsible for your own actions. It’s something he preaches to his students – and sometimes patronisingly to other adults! He’s aware during the act what it will mean in other areas, but the act itself is a pure emotional act. The repercussions will be dealt with as and when they arrive – and they do arrive!”
*Waterloo Road screens on BBC1 on Thursday.