Where is the new Waterloo Road filmed? Locations featured in the revived BBC One series

Do you recognise any of these locations?

Shauna Shim as Valerine Chambers, James Baxter as Joe Casey, Angela Griffin as Kim Campbell, and Vincent Jerome as Lindon King in Waterloo Road
(Image credit: BBC/Wall To Wall/Rope Ladder Fiction/David Gennard/Future)

After being axed in 2014, Waterloo Road has been welcomed back by fans with open arms in 2023. But where exactly was the new series filmed?

Waterloo Road first arrived on our screens way back in March 2006, bringing 200 episodes of excellent school-related drama with its nine year run. When an announced was made in 2014 the show was being axed, the final episode aired in March 2015 exactly nine years to the day it started. Initially, the drama was filmed and set in Rochdale for the first seven seasons, before shooting moved to the Scottish town of Greenock for the remainder of the show's run - the move was due to a commitment made by the BBC to make more content outside of England. When it was announced in 2021 that a revival was in the works, fans weren't only excited to see a new Waterloo Road coming out (opens in new tab), but were curious over filming locations for the comeback. Read on to find out exactly where Waterloo Road 2023 was filmed, and other exciting news about the series. 

Elsewhere on BBC One, Strike: Troubled Blood filmed (opens in new tab) in some beautiful Cornish locations for the latest adaptation of the detective drama - we took a look at exactly where. The channel's latest reality series has kept viewers hooked and social media alight with theories - The Traitors filmed (opens in new tab) in Scotland, and we have the lowdown on the location of the infamous castle. Coming to an end just before Christmas, The English filmed (opens in new tab) somewhere very different to where it was set, and we weighed in on where the action took place.  

Where is the new Waterloo Road filmed?

Filming for the new series of Waterloo Road took place entirely in Greater Manchester. After previously filming in Rochdale and Greenock,  a decision was made to return the show to its original filming roots in Manchester.

The latest iteration focuses on students and teachers based in the fictional Waterloo Estate. Co-commissioning editor for BBC Drama Jo McLellan, spoke about the show making a return to its original filming location, and a special premiere taking place in Stockport. She said “We can’t think of a better way for to celebrate the series return to Greater Manchester, than by sharing it with our audiences in the region first.” Director of BBC Drama Piers Wenger, said in a statement about the new instalment "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.”

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One Greater Manchester resident spied film crews in the car park of the block of flats where she lives, and posted them to Twitter. One picture was captioned "Oooo they’re filming Waterloo Road at me flats kids," and large amounts of filming equipment were clear to see.

What school is the new Waterloo Road filmed at?

It was reported the school the new Waterloo Road filmed at, was the former St Ambrose Barlow School site in Swinton. 

Crew member Luke Elkins posted pictures of the filming location to Twitter, with the caption "It [Waterloo Road] will be filmed at the former St Ambrose Barlow RC High School, on Shaftesbury Road in #Swinton, #Manchester," apparently confirming this. The school had relocated to a new site, and the disused one would be perfect for filming. 

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When the series was formerly shot in Greater Manchester, Top Hill School in Kirkholt was used for filming and demolished when filming came to an end. The school closed in 2005 and the site was turned into a wind farm once Waterloo Road filming there concluded. When filming moved to Scotland, Greenock Academy stood in for Waterloo Road, standing a short distance west of Glasgow. This Academy had also relocated prior to filming, and has since been demolished to make way for a housing estate. 

Adam Abbou as Danny Lewis and Adam Ali as Khalil “Kai’ Sharif filming Waterloo Road

(Image credit: BBC/Wall To Wall/Rope Ladder Fiction)

Where is Waterloo Road 2023 set?

As well as being filmed in Greater Manchester, the new series of Waterloo Road is also set in Manchester. 

The BBC spoke about the show being filmed and set in Manchester, saying "The revival of Waterloo Road will boost drama production skills in the North of England and help to reshape the BBC's drama slate to better reflect, represent and serve all parts of the country. The series will provide a training ground for new and diverse writers, which is of significant importance to both the BBC and Cameron Roach. Roach is renowned for his passion for long-running drama series and the power they have to develop and encourage emerging talent."

Executive producer Cameron Roach added "I’m really thrilled to be working with the BBC and Wall To Wall, in re-igniting the iconic brand of Waterloo Road. The vital and urgent stories that are playing out in schools across the UK provide incredible and emotionally powerful themes, that we’re excited to bring to a new generation of fans. Waterloo Road will continue its reputation for kickstarting, supporting and enabling careers both in front of and behind the camera, in a truly inclusive way, from our base in Greater Manchester."

Francesco Piacentini-Smith as Dean Weaver & Liam Scholes as Noel McManus in Waterloo Road

(Image credit: BBC/Wall To Wall/Rope Ladder Fiction/David Gennard)

How many episodes of Waterloo Road 2023 are there?

There will be seven episodes of the new Waterloo Road, with each being one hour in length. Episodes can be viewed weekly on Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC One, and all previous seasons are currently available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

So far, reviews of the revival have been mixed. James Jackson from The Times (opens in new tab) said "After nearly eight years Waterloo Road is back, which is, apparently, something to be rejoiced across the land, going by the way it has been so heavily trailed. Perhaps it is good news if you’ve been looking forward to having your faith in our comprehensive schools systematically challenged. The new series seemed determined to make Grange Hill look like Malory Towers."

Jack Seale from The Guardian (opens in new tab) added "The BBC has brought back the high-school drama after it became a Covid hit, but its attempts to crowbar heavy social issues into a soapy setting are jarring."

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Viewers took to social media to share similar complaints, when a fan favourite character was killed off in the first episode. Many suggested they wouldn't continue watching the show after the incident. Once wrote "I have literally spent YEARS desperate for this show to come back, I felt joy like never before when they said it was coming back and ALL FOR THEM TO DO THAT IN EPISODE ONE? I take it back I don’t want it anymore." 

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Lucy Wigley
TV writer - contributing

Lucy is a multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ experience writing about entertainment, parenting and family life. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and moms.com. In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and telling you why you should watch them.