Waterloo Road fans were shocked as the opening episode of the new series on BBC One featured the death of much-loved character Chlo Charles.
As Waterloo Road season 11 arrived, Chlo (Katie Griffiths) was seen playing happy families with childhood sweetheart Donte — with Adam Thomas reprising the role — and their two children, Izzy (played by Adam's real-life niece Scarlett Thomas) and Tommy (played by Adam's real-life son Teddy Thomas).
Life seems pretty perfect and no one could predict the tragic events that would unfold...
Setting the scene in an exclusive chat with What To Watch, Katie says: "There's carnage at the school when a peaceful protest turns into a mad riot. For the Charles household, it's very exciting to begin with. It's Izzy's first day and Chlo's very emotional watching her first-born go off to school, so we're all a little bit apprehensive; nervous but also excited.
"Chlo wants to use her skills to make an impact and has her interest piqued about getting involved with the school to expand her career. But the riot goes from strength to strength and gets out of control, with all these repercussions in terms of who's affected."
Indeed, when the protest causes a traffic jam around the school, mum-of-two Chlo decides to walk Izzy and Teddy the rest of way. At the same time, Head of English, Coral Walker (Coronation Street's Rachel Leskovac), has a paint bomb thrown at her car windscreen.
With reduced visibility and accidentally putting her foot on the accelerator, Coral shunts the stationary car in front which in turn hits Chlo (who'd bent down in the middle of the road to pick something up) on the head.
But what first appears to be a sprained wrist and mild concussion turns out to be something more serious when, after a family dinner, Chlo collapses at home and later dies in hospital.
Talking about her departure as Chlo, Katie told us: "I had no idea about how popular the original series was on BBC iPlayer and how it had acquired this new, amazing young audience there. So it was a shock [to discover Chlo would be killed off] but I thought it was a really lovely thing to be able to come back, even just for a short time... and go out with a bang. Quite a big bang!"
Katie played Chlo in the first four series of Waterloo Road between 2006 and 2009, with Chlo and Donte quickly becoming the show's hottest young couple.
The relationship was plagued by ups and downs — including getting married as soon as Chlo turned 16 (and Chlo then sleeping with Brett Aspinall, played by Prodigal Son star Tom Payne), having daughter Izzy then leaving as family to start a new life together.
Katie has fond memories of the original series. "Chlo was the first character I played professionally on TV and I was 17, so just a kid," she says. "Being on set with all these acclaimed actors Angela Griffin (who plays former head of pastoral-turned-head teacher Kim Campbell), Denise Welch and Jill Halfpenny, who'd just done Strictly. I remember sitting in make-up and they all came in chatting to each other and I was literally pinching myself. It was an amazing experience and I've always been grateful for it."
Is this really the last we've seen of Chlo? Apparently so...
"Sadly, she's not roaming the halls looking for Donte," jokes Katie. "It IS the end for Chlo — but I'm sure her memory will live on."
And how does Donte cope with the loss of his childhood sweetheart?
Teasing what's to come for the character this series, Adam reveals: "After what happens, it comes to light how much Donte has relied on Chlo, especially when it comes to the kids and holding the whole family together. He's got a lot of growing up to do."
Waterloo Road airs on Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC One.
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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!
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