R.I.P Danny Lewis: Adam Abbou on THAT tragic ending for Waterloo Road Series 12

Adam Abbou plays Danny Lewis in Waterloo Road
Danny had hopes for the future when his life was tragically cut short. (Image credit: BBC)

Waterloo Road season 12 has certainly been another action-packed series and the finale saw the drama really go out with a bang when an explosion at the school claimed the life of troubled teen Danny Lewis.

Headteacher Kim Campbell (Angela Griffin) hoped student Danny could use the launch of Radio Waterloo Road to make amends for his past mistakes. Danny's 'star' status angered rival pupil Myles, though, who started a fire at the school in an act of revenge. 

As the fire raged out of control, Danny risked his own life to save Myles and died at the scene. Here Adam Abbou, 20, who plays Danny, talks about his explosive exit...

What’s it been like playing Danny Lewis this series?

"I felt I was grasping the extent of Danny's life, last series, and exploring what he's been through and how he copes with his past traumas. But, this series, I’ve had a grasp on who Danny is. To tell the story of a guy who's so blatantly misunderstood, I feel honoured."

In the final episode, Danny's given a slot on the Radio Waterloo Road to talk to pupils about the pitfalls of knife crime…

"Danny’s 100 percent a product of his environment and really wants to get out of that environment. I grew up in an underprivileged area but had the support system of a loving family to have the career I’m now forging for myself. Danny would have been in such a different position if he'd had the parents I have. Danny has lots of hopes and aspirations for the future, he just doesn't have the tools to get there."

Adam Abbou Danny Lewis Waterloo Road

Danny used his experiences of knife violence to help the students at Waterloo Road. (Image credit: BBC)

How did you react when you heard what was going to happen to Danny?

"I always knew that we were going to send Danny off at the end of season two when we started filming, but it wasn't until we were filming episode six that I actually got the script. I was so heartbroken. Playing a character like Danny he becomes a part of you. Knowing that was going to be over for me was difficult."

Danny Lewis in Waterloo Road

Adam had grown attached to Danny, who he'd played for a year. (Image credit: BBC1)

Danny dies in an explosion at the school, when a fire started by Myles rages out of control. What were those scenes like to film?

"For Waterloo Road, we have a full school that we film in but because the explosion of flames was so big, we had to build another model replica of the school in a different area. So all of the stuff you see in the final episode was filmed in this model school... and then they burnt it down, which was crazy to watch."

Adam Abbou plays Danny Lewis in Waterloo Road

Brave Danny tried to tackle the blaze at the school. (Image credit: BBC)

Was it fun though? It looked incredible...

"Oh, it was so much fun but also so emotional because we filmed those scenes on my last three days. After being there for a year saying goodbye to everyone was super emotional."

Waterloo Road explosion

As the fire raged out of control, Danny succumbed to the flames. (Image credit: BBC)

Was it emotional watching the closing sequence where all the students gather and sing Lewis Capaldi's Before You Go as a tribute to their lost friend?

"I was actually in Bulgaria, shooting a movie called Marked Men, in which I play a character called Jasper Brown. I came back to the UK to do ADR on the final episode of Waterloo Road and that's the first time I saw the ending. And I sobbed! I had all the 'higher-ups' from the BBC around me. So I was trying to wipe my tears away, turned around and everyone else was crying! It's a very beautiful ending."

Waterloo Road Series 12 Episode 7 Finale

Danny's friends gather to pay tribute to their lost friend. (Image credit: BBC)

In his time at Waterloo Road, Danny had been homeless and was excluded from school for stabbing his mum's boyfriend in self-defence. Would you have liked a happier ending for Danny given all he'd been through?

"Nah, happy endings are boring! As an actor, for me personally, playing this character for so long, made me very intrigued about how Danny's story was going to go. We'd seen Danny talk about what he wanted to do with his future, and how he wanted to go off and study criminology. So I was a tiny bit heartbroken that we'll never get to see him do that."

At one point, it really looked like he'd be able to move on from his past and forward with girlfriend Samia (Priyasasha Kumari)...

"Danny and Samia’s story was always thought of as a modern day Romeo and Juliet, exploring how everything was just keeping these young lovers apart. Finally, Danny and Samia got that moment of euphoria in this last episode, only to be ripped apart again."

Danny died saving Myles' life. Would you say, despite his flaws, Danny died a hero? What do you want his legacy to be?

"I feel like Danny's the biggest hero of all — it's out of love for other people that he wouldn't have left Myles in that room. He’s had a rubbish life but, no matter what problems he has, there's always somebody he feels could use the help more and he's always led with kindness. I hope viewers see that, whatever the situation, kindness is always the answer."

Adam Abbou plays Danny Lewis

'Danny died a hero,' says Adam Abbou, who plays him. (Image credit: BBC)

You got your big break aged 12 in the stage production of Billy Elliot and you're only 20 now, so you've achieved a lot in a very short space of time...

"I have and you know it's really nice to hear that because you don't often live in the moment and allow yourself to think, yeah, I've achieved so much. But if you keep jumping from one thing to another without taking the time to think about what you've done, you're just gonna be on this endless cycle of wondering what's next. I reckon 'young me' would be very happy with what I'm doing right now."

All 12 series of Waterloo Road are available on BBC iPlayer.

Victoria Wilson
Feature Writer for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and WhatToWatch.com

With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!