Following Josh’s schizophrenia diagnosis, overprotective dad Tom is terrified to let his son go knowing that he wants to look to a new future. Initially in two minds about the move to Scotland, Tom knows it’s an opportunity for a new life for him and Josh and soon starts to warm to his new surroundings and school.
How does Tom feel about the move to the new school in Scotland?
He’s actually more apprehensive than Josh. His son has embraced the move and if anything is encouraging his dad to see the positives. I don’t know whether Tom’s anxiousness stems from being nervous about fitting into his new life in Scotland or whether he’s just frightened of the unknown for him and Josh. Only time will tell.
You’re one of only two original cast members, how does that feel?
Well there’s a certain feeling of pride to have been involved with a show like Waterloo Road for so long.
There’s a strange dichotomy you need to be careful that comfort doesn’t breed laziness. I would definitely like to think that having the comfort of knowing the job so well allows you to be more creative.
But I never get complacent and always approach each new series like it’s a new job.
Without a doubt, moving to Scotland has given Waterloo Road new life. Part of the charm of this programme is its ability to reinvent itself. The move to Scotland has given Waterloo Road a welcome facelift.
Why do you think Michael selected Tom to become part of his new team in Scotland?
I think it’s clear that Tom absolutely has the best interests of the pupils and the school at heart. He’s dedicated and committed to the welfare of the pupils and gets on with the staff so he’s well qualified to do a good job.
How have you enjoyed the move?
I’m really enjoying Scotland – it’s an absolutely stunning country. The people have been wonderfully welcoming and courteous and the surroundings of our new school are amazing. It’s a pretty special location to film in. Whenever I’m not filming, my family and I jump in the car and go exploring. It’s an incredible country and I’m loving my time here.
Did you base your Waterloo Road character on anyone?
Tom’s a sort of hybrid of a couple of teachers I’ve been taught by. One was a history teacher at Walkden High Secondary School and also a teacher from primary school. Both were incredibly inspiring men.
What dramas does Tom face this term?
Amongst other things, Tom has to deal with his guilt surrounding Denzil’s death. He blames himself for encouraging Denzil to come – if he hadn’t talked him round he wouldn’t have travelled to Scotland and wouldn’t have died in the accident.
And on top of that, Tom explores his relationship with his son Josh, not least as he finds himself watching as Josh finds his independence.
Will there be a love interest for Tom in the future – he’s not had the best of luck in the past?
For the sake of the female cast members I hope not! I don’t think we could stand another death! We all joke about it but any female member of cast who joins the programme would flip if they read in the scritps they had a romantic involvement with Tom. To be blunt, love with Tom usually ends in death – Tom’s love interests rarely last long!
Any memorable moments from filming?
What I try to do is just have as much fun as possible. I like to have a laugh every day and some days are more stressful than others but generally we have fun. You can’t spend this amount of time with a cast and a crew and not enjoy yourself. I know it sounds terribly clichéd but we’ve become a little family in ourselves.
Were your school days the best days of your life?
No. These are the best days of my life.
And finally, why should viewers tune in to the new series of Waterloo Road?
For any fans of the show, I’m sure they’ll be intrigued to see the differences between the old and new Waterloo Road. But, above all else, it’s a drama full of interesting characters with a nice mix of charm, education and entertainment. What more could you want?