Skip to main content

Mark Benton on Waterloo Rd return: 'Chalky hasn't changed!'

Mark Benton tells What's on TV why Chalky's back at Waterloo Road, and why he has no regrets about Strictly Come Dancing...

What brings maths teacher Mr Chalk, aka Chalky, back to Waterloo Road?

"Well, his adopted son Kevin has a big university interview so Chalky arrives to support him. Chalky hasn't changed, there's some funny stuff where he's going over the top as usual! Kevin gets a bit embarrassed by him but still loves him. Then there's a big crisis when Kevin suddenly has a stroke.... It's all very dramatic."

What happens to Kevin is quite a shock – is this strong story what tempted you back?

"A younger person having a stroke is a really interesting story and hasn't really been touched on before in other soaps or dramas. It's sure to surprise people, but in fact strokes among young people are very common. It's great to bring awareness to this. The charity Different Strokes helps a lot of younger stroke survivors."

Having played Chalky from 2011 until 2013, was it an easy decision to pop back for this one-off guest appearance?

"Yes and it was so lovely to be back - like I'd never been away. Everyone was taking the mickey out of me, just like they did before! I had a lot of scenes with Melanie Hill, who plays Maggie, which is always fun – it's worth coming back for that alone!"

Would you consider a longer return to the show?

"Yes – because I had such a lovely time on the show. We became like a big family. Obviously it would depend on storylines and what happens to the character but I'm open to offers! It was easy to step back into Chalky's shoes – worryingly so! He’s so much fun to play – flawed, but always doing his best."

You did really well on Strictly Come Dancing last year. Will you continue to dance?

"I hope so. I'd love to take my wife to Salsa classes. It's such great fun! I never entered Strictly with any expectations, I just wanted to challenge myself and enjoy it, as much as possible – and I certainly did that! I'm so glad I did it. I think it's important to have people like Dave Myers, from The Hairy Bikers, and myself on shows like Strictly. Hopefully people will see us and think – if they can do it, I can too."

Waterloo Road continues Wednesdays at 8pm on BBC1.