|Series 8 Episode 1|
|Release Date||23rd August 2012|
|Created By||Ann McManus and Maureen Chadwick|
|Writer||Ann McManus |
|Previous episode||Series 7 Episode 30|
|Next episode||Series 8 Episode 2 (Spirit Child)|
New Beginnings is the first episode of Series 8. It's also the first episode set at the school’s new location in Greenock, just outside Glasgow, as well as the first episode to have an actual title, rather than just 'Series X Episode X'.
Dedicated to Denzil, killed by the drunken lorry driver who put Tariq in a wheelchair, the new school opens, though Grantly and several pupils have misgivings about the move. New staff members include strict English teacher Christine Mulgrew, whose sullen son Connor is a new pupil, and old school history teacher Audrey McFall. Connor's recalcitrant behaviour, unknown to everybody else, is caused by his mother's fondness for drink. Supposed half-siblings Jade and Drew enrol, but it becomes apparent that they are an item who have absconded from a care home. Jade genuinely wants an education, but collapses in the school canteen, as she is pregnant by Drew. She refuses to take off with him again and he is arrested after threatening Michael. Michael himself is confronted in public by Gerard Findlay, head of a rival local school, who accuses him of poaching staff and pupils.
On the run from a foster home, teenager Jade shares a squat with her controlling boyfriend Drew, but dreams of a better life. She announces that she’s going to school at Waterloo Road, and despite his fear the authorities will find out about them, Drew is persuaded to enrol too.
Michael and Sian arrive at the new Waterloo Road. The local press reaction to the school has been largely positive, except one story reporting discontent from Gerard Findlay, headmaster of rival school Havelock High, who claims Waterloo Road are stealing his pupils.
The school is buzzing as Jade and Drew arrive. Despite not being registered at Waterloo Road, Drew uses his charisma to win Lorraine over – but it’s not long before Tom sees an angry side to the new boy.
When Michael offers Jade, but not Drew, accommodation in the school house, Drew reacts angrily, forcing his girlfriend to reveal a secret which will have far-reaching consequences for the pair.
In the staffroom, new teachers Christine Mulgrew and Audrey McFall introduce themselves to Waterloo Road’s familiar faces. Not everyone is enthusiastic about the new school, and Tom bemoans Michael’s regime. But English teacher Christine doesn’t seem keen to be drawn into any staff discussions, keeping herself to herself. It’s only when Grantly suggests the teaching team go for a drink after school that Christine’s interest is spiked.
Elsewhere, Tariq struggles to adjust to his new life as a paraplegic, and Rhiannon starts a bullying campaign against Scout.
- Alec Newman as Michael Byrne
- Jaye Jacobs as Sian Diamond
- Jason Done as Tom Clarkson
- Chelsee Healey as Janeece Bryant
- Daniela Denby-Ashe as Lorraine Donnegan
- Philip Martin Brown as Grantly Budgen
- Mark Benton as Daniel Chalk
- Melanie Hill as Maggie Croft
- Laurie Brett as Christine Mulgrew (First appearance)
- Georgie Glen as Audrey McFall (First appearance)
- William Rush as Josh Stevenson
- Naveed Choudhry as Tariq Siddiqui
- Benjamin Gur as Angus 'Gus' Hancock (First appearance)
- Katie McGlynn as Scout Allen
- Kaya Moore as Phoenix Taylor
- Rebecca Craven as Rhiannon Salt (First appearance)
- Kirstie Steele as Imogen Stewart (First appearance)
- Shane O'Meara as Connor Mulgrew (First appearance)
- Kane Tomlinson-Weaver as Harley Taylor
- Marlene Madenge as Lula Tsibi (First appearance)
- Paige Meade as Jade Fleming (First appearance)
- Max Fowler as Drew Kelly (One-off appearance)
- Alex Norton as Gerard Findlay (First appearance)