waterloo road deaths

These nine Waterloo Road deaths still have me sobbing into my school jumper

Petition to kill off Barry Barry in the new series


Waterloo Road is the greatest BBC continuous drama of all time – sorry Casualty, you can’t change my mind. A lanky, spotty year 10 version of me would watch Waterloo Road and dream of teen pregnancies, teacher affairs and being caught in tragic accidents in front of the entire school. The drama was unmatched, the storylines had me hooked, the acting was… occasionally questionable. But they had the spirit!!!

One of the definitely-not-soap’s strengths was it’s ability to create a death scene that’d have you sobbing and retching on your bedroom floor. Only seven main characters bit the dust during 10 seasons, which made these deaths even more shocking when they happened.

So, how many of these gutting death scenes do you actually remember? Here are eight Waterloo Road deaths that’ll have you sobbing into the snotty sleeve of your school jumper (or blazer, if you’re posh):

Lorna (series two)

lorna waterloo road deaths

Photo via BBC

The former Mrs Clarkson was a bit annoying, but she definitely didn’t deserve to go out like this.

Tom’s ill-fated ex-wife only lasted one-and-a-half seasons, and she unluckily bore the full brunt of the writers’ intensity. Firstly, she found out she was pregnant with her husband’s unwanted baby. Then, Tom sneakily realised he fancied fellow teacher (and Lorna’s best pal) Izzie way more than his own wife. As a final gut punch, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

With this shocking new life hurdle being thrown at her, the head of English decided to forgive Izzie and Tom for hurting her. As a final act of kindness, she tried to set the two up properly on a weekend away in the country, before tragically taking her own life.

Izzie (series two)

izzie waterloo road

Photo via BBC

Poor Tom didn’t have a huge amount of luck with the ladies – they kept being killed off just as he was getting to know them. Izzie Redpath – the well-loved drama teacher and mum of Chlo Grainger was accidentally stabbed by burger van owner (and former pupil) Jed Seddon, after he got into a fight with then-headteacher Jack Rimmer.

Chlo later gave birth to boyfriend Donte’s baby in series four, naming her after Izzie.

Maxine (series four)


Photo via BBC

Maxine had one of the rockiest rides at Waterloo Road. She started out as dropout drug addict, burgling Chlo and Donte as well as asking French teacher Steph Haydock to buy her drinks. When she decided she wanted another chance, she was taken in by the teacher and enrolled at the sixth form.

Her relationship with troublemaker Earl Kelly (responsible for the “there’s a gun in the school!!” episode) tragically turned deadly midway through series four. Maxine broke up with him after discovering his plan to get her pregnant and sell the baby. Not wanting to take “no” for an answer, he broke into her shared home with Steph, fatally shooting the sixth former during an emotionally-charged row.

I don’t care what anyone says – Denise Welch acted like the rent was due in that scene.

Sambuca (series seven)

sambuca waterloo road deaths

Photo via BBC

Original icon (and sister of murderer Earl) Sam’s story came to a sob-inducing conclusion at the beginning of the seventh series. After entering the sixth form and deciding to turn over a new leaf from her old, disruptive ways, she started noticing changes in her behaviour which she couldn’t control.

Migraines in class and difficulty seeing her handwriting led to teachers Tom and Eleanor giving her detention. After suffering a seizure, it was revealed that she was suffering with an inoperable brain tumour. With just weeks left to live, she went on a quest to meet her real dad with boyfriend Finn and best mate Lauren. The day’s strain led to her deteriorating rapidly at home later on, and she died in the arms of Tom and her mum, Rose.

Fleur Budgen (series seven)

fleur grantly budgen

Photo via BBC

Grantly’s wife was really just a minor character, but hear me out – she DESERVES to be on this “greatest Waterloo Road deaths” list.

Fleur had been suffering with early-onset Alzheimer’s, essentially forgetting everything about her 30-year marriage to the English teacher. She became unable to live independently, needing help with basic tasks such as brushing her hair and getting herself dressed. Her weakened immune system left her suffering with pneumonia towards the end of her life.

Panicking, not wanting to see his other half die in hospital or a two-by-four box room in a care home, Grantly breaks Fleur out for one last mini-break. They retreat to their home in the countryside – and for one *amazing* moment, she comes back to him. They reminisce about the old days before she finally dies while lying next to him.

Denzil (series seven)

denzil kelly

Photo via BBC

Okay, so 2012 was a bad year for the Kelly family all round.

When new headteacher Michael Byrne decides to uproot the ENTIRE SCHOOL to Scotland (literally how did this even work?), Denzil agrees to go with him and live in the nearby boarding house. While stopping off at the England-Scotland border for a photo, a drunk driver plunges into the entire group with his HGV.

It was revealed at the beginning of series eight that while most people ended up unscathed by the accident – Tariq was left paralysed from the waist down, while Denzil was killed instantly. This was definitely one of the less subtle Waterloo Road deaths.

Tom (series eight)


Photo via BBC

In a shock series eight twist, the character nobody thought would ever be killed off was, in fact, killed off. The Phil Mitchell/Tony Hutchinson/Ken Barlow of the Waterloo Road cinematic universe died doing what he loved: Saving a student.

Okay so, remember when Britain’s Got Talent winner George Sampson was in the show, and then after he left he kept coming back like the ghost at the feast? He decided to show up again for one more episode. After hanging around the school like a dark presence, he climbed to the top of the roof and threatened to jump off. Tom put his pride aside after spending the entire episode turning him away, and attempted to talk him down.

After pulling him away from the ledge, he lost his balance and fell to his own untimely death. RIP sweet prince.

Grantly (series nine)


Photo via BBC

No-one loves this red-faced gin-lover more than me, and his should’ve been one of the biggest Waterloo Road deaths – but christ, it was dragged out. Literally from the entirety of series eight to partway through series nine – he kept getting ill, then coming back, then getting ill again. Grantly’s partying ways and penchant for a full English *every single morning* eventually left him with kidney failure.

Tom’s commitment to his old friend left him signing up to donate a kidney as soon as he could. When he died, the English teacher was left on dialysis without a donor. On his eventual return to work, he died quietly during the poetry competition.

Chlo (the revival, series one)

how does chlo die in waterloo road

Photo via BBC

Devastatingly, the long-awaited Waterloo Road revival kicked off with the death of Chlo Charles. After seemingly surviving a minor car accident with a few cuts and bruises, she later dies in husband Donte’s arms due to an undiagnosed head injury.

Fans were LIVID, obviously. From “not being okay” to “not being arsed” with the rest of the series, Chlo’s death really hit hard.

All episodes of Waterloo Road are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

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Featured photo via BBC before edits.