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'Waterloo Road' Mark Benton talks Chalky's future - interview

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Mark Benton as Daniel 'Chalky' Chalk in Waterloo Road

© BBC / Shed Productions (WR)

Waterloo Road's Daniel 'Chalky' Chalk finally loses patience with Janeece Bryant in tonight's (September 20) episode of the show, giving her some home truths over her recent attitude towards motherhood.

When Janeece (Chelsee Healey) takes advantage of Chalky by asking for his assistance with childcare once again, he can't help but feel that she isn't putting Cheryl first - and eventually struggles to keep quiet over his concerns…

Digital Spy recently chatted to actor Mark Benton, who plays Chalky, to hear more about the storyline, his character's future and life at Waterloo Road in general.

How well have you and the show settled into Scotland?
"Very well, really! The internal workings of the show are pretty much the same as they were in Manchester. We've had some new people come on board, but I always think the addition of new characters strengthens the programme.

"It's all been pretty easy. Obviously there were some teething problems with getting everything up and running, because it's such a big show. But hopefully people are still loving it as much as they were before."

Was making the move along with the show a tricky choice to make?
"To be honest with you, because I live on the south coast, it made very little difference. In fact, Glasgow is an easier travel for me because I can fly up and down. It wasn't a big issue for me - it was more of an issue for the guys who live in Manchester. Being away from home is pretty much the same wherever you are, really!"

A lot of your scenes this series have involved Chalky and Janeece. How do you define their relationship?
"It's a difficult one, because from the very start Chalky really liked her, but then she said he was too old! Despite that, they still remain close friends.

"I think Chalky's such a soft character sometimes, so Janeece tends to take him for a ride. It's not necessarily in a nasty way, but I think she tends to take him for granted a lot, while he's just happy to be close to her."

Janeece and Chalky in Waterloo Road

© BBC / Shed Productions (WR)



Things take a turn for the worse between them in the next episode. What can you tell us about that?
"Well, Janeece thinks she's got the chance of a really good job, so she basically takes the mickey out of Chalky and keeps asking him to babysit Cheryl while she's busy. Chalky has a really close relationship with Cheryl, and he starts to realise that he really does want to be a parent. That's why he starts to get angry with Janeece, because he thinks she's not necessarily taking as much interest in Cheryl as she should be.

"Obviously Janeece has got her own reasons, but it gets quite dramatic between them. Chalky really wants to tell her off, I suppose! He's angry with her - and I don't want to give too much away, but it's quite an interesting finale to their relationship."

This story all builds up to Janeece's departure from the show next week. How did you feel about saying goodbye to Chelsee?
"I do miss her on set. Janeece is such a big character, and Chelsee is a good laugh. She's great to be around, and I had an awful lot of scenes with her, so it's a big loss really! But I think Chelsee was ready to leave and move on to other things."

Chalky can sometimes be a bit of a loner, so how will he cope without Janeece around?
"To be honest with you, without giving away what happens, I think he'll cope quite well! I don't want to spoil any storylines, but with everything that happens when Janeece actually leaves and afterwards, it's a very positive outcome for Chalky."

Chelsee Healey as Janeece Bryant in Waterloo Road

© BBC / Shed Productions (WR)



We've heard that you've been filming some scenes with Tommy Lawrence Knight from The Sarah Jane Adventures. Have you enjoyed that?
"Definitely - he's great. Basically, what happens when Janeece leaves is that Chalky realises that he wants to be a dad. To move it forward, he wants to try and foster someone, so there could be a relationship building between Chalky and Tommy's character, Kevin.

"Tommy is a wonderful actor, really brilliant. He's fun to work with as well. It's been a real joy for me - we've had some dramatic stuff, and some really touching stuff too."

Did you have a teacher like Chalky at school?
"I didn't have anybody who's directly like Chalky, because I don't know how long someone like Chalky would actually last in a proper school! But I think he's parts of different teachers that I had, amalgamated into one.

"It's amazing how many people talk to you and say, 'That was like my English teacher!' or 'My Geography teacher was like that!' So certainly teachers like him exist. I've always thought that Chalky is a brilliant mathematician and a great mind, but he finds it difficult communicating. I'm sure there are teachers like that around."

Do you share any similarities with your character?
"We both wear glasses, and apart from that, I would say there is very little in common! I'm terrible at maths. I suppose we probably both have a terrible dress sense. I'm also a softie like Chalky is - but perhaps not quite as much as him."

Who are your best friends on set?
"It's going to sound really corny, but it's such a lovely group of people at Waterloo Road. It's a great crew as well, so it is like a big family. I wouldn't like to pick anybody out in particular."

Looking back over your time at Waterloo Road, do any stories or episodes stand out as your favourites?
"You haven't seen them yet! All of my favourites are still coming up. There's Chelsee's leaving episode, and my favourite episode is one that's coming up with Tommy. It's probably Chalky's best episode, so the best is yet to come."

What kind of a reaction do you get for the role of Chalky?
"It's funny, because once you join Waterloo Road you notice that a lot of kids are starting to recognise you. That's a new one, because most of my work has previously been grown-up TV. It's nice and it's funny when kids recognise you and it's a very different kettle of fish to adults, because they have very little tact! They don't hide the fact they recognise you very well, so it's quite funny."

You played Eddie on Early Doors and a lot of our readers were fans of the show. Do you think it could ever return for a special or another series?
"Who knows? I know that everyone who worked on that show would jump at the chance, because we all loved it and we're still all very good friends, so never say never.

"I guess as time goes on it's looking more unlikely, but it's one of those shows that doesn't seem to go away - a lot of people still love it, still watch it and when they see you on the street, they ask if you're going to do any more. I'd say start a petition to get Craig [Cash] and Phil [Mealey] to do some more, because many people loved it and we loved it too."

> Read our full spoiler for the next episode of 'Waterloo Road'
> Read more 'Waterloo Road' spoilers and news

Waterloo Road airs Thursdays at 8pm on BBC One. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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