Waterloo Road season 11 — how to watch, trailer, cast, plot and everything we know so far

Waterloo Road staff and students embroiled in a protest for Waterloo Road season 11
Get ready for more chaos from Waterloo Road. (Image credit: BBC)

After seven years away from our screens, Waterloo Road season 11 brought the beloved school drama back to our screens for the first time in nearly a decade. If you were a fan of the new-look drama, Waterloo Road season 12 will be on screens in May.

The award-winning contemporary school show was easily among the best BBC dramas when it was airing. Originally, Waterloo Road was based at a comprehensive school in Rochdale in Greater Manchester before the school relocated to Greenock in Scotland for the final three seasons. It centered on the drama between pupils and the teaching staff who supported them through their time at Waterloo Road school.

The new series is once again set in Manchester and introduced a whole new generation of fans to the award-winning drama. Produced by Cameron Roach (executive producer on the original show) through his new label Rope Ladder Fiction and Wall To Wall (New Tricks, The Windermere Children), the new series delivered even more of the thrills and spills that so many viewers enjoyed during the original show's 200-episode run.

Here's what you need to knnow about Waterloo Road season 11 

Waterloo Road season 11 release date

Waterloo Road series 11 aired weekly from January 3, 2023. The whole series is available to stream as a box set on BBC iPlayer, where you can still watch all ten seasons of the original series, too!

Waterloo Road season 11 - image shows the teaching staff from the previous season of Waterloo Road

The teaching staff from Waterloo Road season 10. (Image credit: BBC)

How many episodes of Waterloo Road season 11 were there??

Waterloo Road season 11 was the shortest in the show's history, as season 11 was only seven episodes long; series 12 will be just as short, too. 

Waterloo Road season 11 first-look images

On November 25, the BBC teased us with new images and explained what to expect from the first episode as the new school year began. 

As you can see from the photos, a peaceful protest at Waterloo Road school had gotten out of hand, and the BBC claimed that the events of the day 'will have huge ramifications for everyone involved'. 

Waterloo Road season 11 cast

Waterloo Road headteacher Kim Campbell (Angela Griffin)

Angela Griffin heads up the cast of Waterloo Road. (Image credit: BBC/Wall To Wall/Rope Ladder Fiction/Helen Williams)

In January, the BBC revealed that three much-loved Waterloo Road characters would be back for the new series.

Angela Griffin reprised her role as Kim Campbell, who is returning to Waterloo Road as the school's newest headteacher. Talking about where we find her character in season 11, Angela said: "Kim enters series 11 of Waterloo Road as the head, I think she’s going into her second year, but she's coming off the back of COVID. She's coming off the back of the cost of living crisis. She's coming off the back of the MeToo movement, of the Black Lives Matters movement and school is a very different place to where we left it before. The research I did before starting doing Waterloo Road pointed towards this. 

"This is a much trickier ground now and kids are politicised, you know. They have a voice, and they know how to use their voice now. We're definitely not in Victorian times, there’s definitely no be seen and not heard.

They are heard, and they want to be seen and they have got something to say and which is brilliant, fantastic – It’s quite hard to run a school like that.", Angela added. 

Adam Thomas and Katie Griffiths also returned to play Donte and Chlo Charles. They're both much more grown up than when we last saw them; their early years with kids were a challenge, but the pair have made it through and were excited for their daughter to make a start at secondary school. 

Chlo Charles (KATIE GRIFFITHS), Izzy Charles (SCARLETT THOMAS), Tommy Charles (ELIJAH BLUE SLATER) & Donte Charles (ADAM THOMAS)

Chlo and Donte's happy family. (Image credit: BBC/Wall To Wall/Rope Ladder Fiction/David Gennard)
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Kym Marsh— who played Michelle Connor in Coronation Street for 13 years— plays Nicky Walters, a school canteen worker who is also a mother to two pupils in the show. 

EastEnders star Jo Coffey plays Wendy Whitwell, PA to Headteacher Kim Campbell, and Wonder Woman 1984's Vincent Jerome features as Lindon King, the joint Deputy Headteacher. Vincent said it was 'great' to be joining Waterloo Road, as he felt it was "very exciting to be part of a show that has such a great legacy and such a loyal fan base", adding: "I can't wait for people to see it." 

Still Open All Hours' James Baxter plays fellow Deputy Head, Joe Casey, with Coronation Street's Sonia Ibrahim on board as Jamilah Omar, the school’s social worker.

Chip & Kipper's Shauna Shim is music teacher Valerie Chambers, Peep Show star Neil Fitzmaurice is history teacher Neil Guthrie, Corrie's Rachel Leskovac is Coral Walker, Head of English, and Rules of the Game's Katherine Pearce plays Amy Spratt, an early career teacher.

Ex-Corrie star Ryan Clayton is also part of the cast. He revealed the news on Twitter, posting a photo of a sign on his dressing room door that confirmed his character was called Mike. We since learned that "Mike" was Police Sergeant Mike Rutherford; he's married to Joe Casey, and the pair have two foster children who attend Waterloo Road.

There was also some speculation over whether former Waterloo Road star Melanie Hill would return to the show. She walked away from her role as Corrie newsagent Cathy Matthews in 2022, leaving some to wonder whether she'd be back in the show, too (though she didn't appear in season 11).

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Waterloo Road season 11 pupils

On February 21, the BBC revealed which young actors would be playing the pupils in Waterloo Road season 11.

Scarlett Thomas—Adam Thomas' niece and daughter of former Waterloo Road star, Tina O'Brien—followed in her family's footsteps and played Donte and Chlo Charles' daughter, Izzy, in the show. 

Scarlett isn't Adam's only relative in the Waterloo Road season 11 cast, either, as Adam Thomas' real-life son had joined due to 'unforeseen circumstances leading to a last-minute casting change. Teddy Thomas plays Izzy's younger brother, Tommy.

Joining them are Adam Abbou (Time) as Danny Lewis, Priyasasha Kumari (You Don't Know Me) as Samia Choudhry, Noah Valentine (The Bay) as Preston Walters, Adam Ali (Little America) as Kai Sharif, newcomer Alicia Forde as Kelly-Jo Rafferty and Francesco Piacentini-Smith (Masters of the Air) as Dean Weever.

Further young stars included Corrie star Liam Scholes as Noel McManus, Lucy Eleanor Begg as Caz Williams, Summer Violet Bird playing Tonya Walters, Ava Flannery as Verity King, Thapelo Ray (Doctors) as Dwayne Jackson, Biff and Chip's Inathi Rozani as Zayne Jackson, and Chiamaka (ChiChi) Ulebor as Shola Aku.

Finally, Sahil Ismailkhil was announced as having joined the cast after they were talent-scouted following a production research trip to a school in Leeds.

The pupils of Waterloo Road season 11 gathered during rehearsals.

Waterloo Road's new pupils during rehearsals. (Image credit: BBC/Paul Husband)

To learn a little bit more about each of the new characters individually, head over to our Waterloo Road season 11 cast guide. 

Waterloo Road season 11 plot

Alongside the photos for the new series, the BBC teased what to expect from the new series: "Across the term, Waterloo Road’s teachers and parents are going to have to learn on their feet as they try to navigate the ever-changing social landscape - from teen homelessness to the cost of living, being LGBTQ+, racism, sexism, mental health and everything else facing young teens today.

Amongst the chaos, the students, faculty and parents still make time for friendships, fun, and a few romances. The pupils have a lot to contend with this term, but they will learn to lean on one another to survive the year and try to stay out of detention as much as possible. Riots, scandals, fractured families and challenging kids – for Headteacher Kim Campbell (Angela Griffin) and her team, fire-fighting is a way of life. Who said education was easy?"

In the press release announcing Waterloo Road's return, the BBC said: "The spotlight on education in the UK is more intense now than ever before, with awareness of the challenges that teachers, parents and pupils face even more pronounced amidst the ongoing pandemic. 

"Waterloo Road will use its rich history of telling entertaining and gripping human stories while tackling the important issues of the day."

Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, added: "Waterloo Road is the perfect lens through which to explore post-Covid Britain, from the perspective of those who have arguably been affected most: young people in education. 

"We are thrilled to be returning to this brilliant format - its thrills and spills, unmissable characters and high drama - at a time when audiences across Britain need it most - and to be collaborating with the brilliant Cameron Roach and Wall To Wall on its return."

Is there a trailer?

The full trailer for the new series starts off looking like an advert for the new school... but things very quickly take a turn for the worse as we learn what kind of education you're really likely to get at Waterloo Road! Check it out below:

Our first proper look at what's to come for Waterloo Road's new generation came at the end of 2022. That clip started familiarising us with the new cast, with a focus on the students who make up the class of 2023.

If you want to relive some of Waterloo Road's greatest moments, you can check out some of the series' most memorable scenes in this video which the BBC released in late 2019 to celebrate the arrival of the original series on iPlayer. 

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at WhatToWatch.com

Martin is a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.