Multi-talented Britain's Got Talent winner George Sampson talks about joining the cast of Waterloo Road (BBC1, Weds, February 2)... Had you acted much before joining Waterloo Road as tough new pupil Kyle Stack? "I'd done bits here and there. I'd trained as an actor, but not done anything on screen. StreetDance was the biggest thing I'd been a part of before Waterloo Road." Have you watched your performance in Waterloo Road yet? "No, not yet. I'm not sure I want to, I feel a bit nervous!" How are we first introduced to Kyle and what is he like? "Kyle's not like the rest of the pupils. He's had a completely different upbringing and sees the world differently. He doesn't want to make friends. In fact, he makes an enemy of pretty much everyone at school, including the teachers!" Was it difficult being a newcomer off screen too? "Everyone was so welcoming. Normally, in my other jobs, I turn up, work for the day and then leave. Waterloo Road is different as you see everyone everyday for months and become friends. Everyone in the cast and crew are lovely." Were you impressed by the set? "Yes, it surprised me. It used to be a primary school, so you really feel you're in a school - well you are! It helps with the atmosphere." You work with a dog in the opening episode - how was that? "He wasn’t the best-trained dog to work with! His trainer explained he was a wild dog when she got him and warned us if we ever noticed his eyes turning red to freeze immediately. I was petrified. He smelled as well, but he grew on us!" We meet Kyle's mother too, what is she like? "His mum's a warrior. She's the type of person who would come into school and row with the teachers if anything happened to Kyle. The best way to describe her is as a lioness that'll scratch you if you touch her cubs." Did you enjoy school when you were growing up? "No, I hated it. I enjoyed the lessons more than school itself. It was a good school, but I was dance orientated all my life and it didn't have those facilities." Is it strange to still be asked about Britain's Got Talent? "Literally the day after I won someone said to me I was going to be asked 'How is life since winning Britain's Got Talent?' until the day I die. I'm learning to handle being in the public eye a bit better, but there are still so many things that surprise me. The reaction from the public is probably one of the nicest aspects of it."
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Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.