Waterloo Road's Neil Fitzmaurice reveals all about Mr Guthrie's guilty secret
Waterloo Road’s Neil Fitzmaurice on how history teacher Neil Guthrie must confront his own traumatic past.
Waterloo Road season 11 fans recently learned more about history teacher Neil Guthrie (Neil Fitzmaurice) in the BBC One school drama, as joint deputy head Joe Casey told recently widowed Donte Charles that they have something in common as Neil's wife died a year ago.
However, in this week's episode, student Tonya Walters becomes convinced that Neil's obsession with Henry VIII means he killed his own wife! And, like a dog with a bone, Tonya plots to literally 'dig up' the truth.
Neil Fitzmaurice, who plays Neil Guthrie tells us more...
How does Neil Guthrie form a bond with grieving widower Donte Charles (Adam Thomas)?
Neil Fitzmaurice: "As we know, Donte tragically lost his wife, Chlo, at the start of the series. Donte has since got a job as a caretaker at Waterloo Road and, one day, in a conversation between Donte, Neil Guthrie and deputy head Joe Casey (James Baxter), Joe suggests Neil and Donte have lots in common because Neil also lost his wife a year ago. Donte then gravitates towards Neil as he feels they have a mutual understanding of each other and of dealing with loss. But, as we soon find out, Neil’s situation isn’t quite what it seems…"
Why is Year 9 student Tonya Walters (Summer Violet Bird) suspicious of Neil?
"Neil believes very much in just teaching and not being a social worker, which means he often comes across as very aloof and unapproachable, so Tonya sees Neil as this dark figure who must have a secret. When Tonya bumps into Neil at school, and he drops a private letter he’s holding, she spots some legal jargon. Tonya’s imagination then starts running wild and she’s convinced Neil has murdered his wife and buried her in his garden!"
How do Tonya and her friends start ‘digging’ for the truth?
"Tonya spearheads the challenge to try and uncover the body of Neil’s wife. So Tonya and some other Year 9 students arrive at Neil’s house and literally start digging up his back garden, where a bone is found! It looks like Neil has been exposed and, the truth is, he has lost his wife, but not in the way people think. As Donte and Neil turn up and the kids confront him with their discovery, he realizes he can’t perpetuate this lie anymore…"
Later, Neil connects with refugee student Norullah Sayyid (Sahil Ismailkhil)...
"Like a lot of men, Neil struggles to talk about his feelings. But then he learns Norullah is on his own in the UK, away from his family. There’s a parallel there that Neil latches on to, so he decides to try and help Norullah reunite with his brother. Norullah quickly realises he can trust Neil who, in turn, unloads his own secrets, because he feels it's a safe space to talk."
There’s a lovely scene where Neil and Norullah bond over football. Do you like footy?
"Neil is a Manchester City fan but Norullah supports Manchester United and there’s a funny line where Norullah declares: ‘Manchester United is the best team in the world’. To which Neil teases: ‘They're not even the best team in Manchester, mate!’ I’m a huge Liverpool fan, so filming those scenes hurt quite a bit. But it’s a good episode — I’m really proud of it."
Waterloo Road continues Tuesdays at 8 pm 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!