Waterloo Road welcomes back Bolton Smilie tomorrow evening (February 7) as he returns to the show for a dramatic guest appearance.
Bolton turns up at the school's new Scottish home in his army uniform as he wants to see Tom Clarkson, and his arrival causes quite a stir among staff and pupils alike.
Hailed as a great role model by Nikki and Lorraine, Bolton is roped into giving a speech to the sixth form students. However, it soon becomes clear that all is not well with Bolton - and there are tense scenes on the way as he completely snaps…
Digital Spy recently chatted to Tachia Newall, who plays Bolton, to hear more about his character's comeback.
How did it feel to return to Waterloo Road after quite a while away from the show?
"It was quite nice! It was good to think that people remembered the character and the work that I'd done, so it was great to get the offer to come back."
Was it a surprise to you when you received the call?
"I was very surprised, actually. With me being in a completely different angle in life and following different things now, I just didn't expect it.
"I had a little think about whether to say yes, because I had to cancel a few little things that I had to do in Manchester. But once that was sorted, I went up to film in Scotland. I'd been in Scotland the year before when I was filming Waterloo Road Reunited and had a really good time then, so it was nice to be back there. I started filming in August 2012 and I was there for about a month."
Did you have a chance to get to know the newer cast members?
"Not that much, but I did get a chance to chill with a few of them. We went out for a few drinks and whatnot. There wasn't really enough time to get to know them all properly, especially as we were all staying in different areas, but they're all a lovely bunch."
Was Waterloo Road something that you'd looked back fondly on?
"Yeah, I loved it - it was brilliant. That's where I got my training, really. I didn't go to a drama school, so I got my training on the job and I learned to do everything on the Waterloo Road set."
Has Bolton changed much since we last saw him?
"He's completely different. You'll see that he's a lot more serious, and he's only really interested in saying the things that are needed in a conversation. Bolton won't say any of the flowery stuff that you don't really need, so all of his charisma seems to have just disappeared."
Was it a challenge to step back into Bolton's shoes?
"It was a bit of a challenge, because there were so many changes compared to the way that Bolton was before. Plus, I've changed loads myself in real life.
"The way that I used to play Bolton was as an extension of myself, but because he's changed loads and I've changed loads too, we're both at different angles in life. It was pretty difficult and I'm not sure the character's going to come across the same as he used to!"
What brings Bolton back to Waterloo Road?
"I think it's the whole idea of looking for advice and going back to old mentors like Tom, who he trusted previously. He has some things that he needs to talk about.
"Fortunately, everyone seems pleased to see Bolton. They're all happy that he's back, apart from maybe Bolton himself!"
Is Grantly pleased to see him?
"Well at first they feel like old friends and they're pleased to see each other again, but it all turns sour pretty quickly between those two. They're back to their usual tricks of antagonising each other!"
Is Bolton proud when Lorraine suggests that he should make a speech to the students?
"Not at all! He's not interested in that in the slightest, and he doesn't want to do it. He's not at the school for that, so it comes as a bit of a shock and there's a lot of pressure. That pressure gets on top of him and things start coming back - memories of stuff that he'd rather forget…"
What's gone wrong for Bolton?
"Well, he was in the army and that's about as much as I can say! He joined the army and it certainly seems that something has gone wrong, but you'll have to tune in to see what."
What happens next? Pictures from the episode seem to show him in a dramatic showdown with Grantly…
"Well, there's a lot of running around, first of all. Bolton's army bag goes missing, so there's a lot of running around trying to find that. Emotions are running high and there's a lot of confusion that comes up. As for him and Grantly, let's just say there's a lot of tense scenes between them in a classroom that's locked…"
Do you think the fans will be pleased to see Bolton again?
"I think it's going to be half and half. Half of them are going to be real happy that Bolton's back, but a lot of them might be angry that he's not the same! I don't know how they're going to take it."
Would you return to Waterloo Road again?
"Yeah, there's always room for that. I don't know how they would work it back in, but you never know!"
We know that you're into music as well as acting. How are things going on the music front?
"The music's going quite nicely, actually. I'm starting to get quite a bit of recognition from producers in Manchester, so there's quite a few people who I'm hoping to work with.
"I released an EP last year and I've just released another one - they're both available for free download from my Twitter page. I want to work with more producers, release some singles and get some videos done."
How do you describe your sound?
"It's all experimental stuff! There's a lot of hip-hop and rap, but then it blends into ballads and there's a lot of electronics. It's kind of a new sound, I think. There's a lot of experimentation. Music is my first love - I've always been a musician."
Are you concentrating more on music than acting now?
"I'd like my music to kick off, but at the same time, I love to be doing other things. I don't like to do just one thing, because I think that's boring. I'd like to mix the two and have a balance."
> Read our spoiler for the next 'Waterloo Road' episode
> Read more 'Waterloo Road' spoilers and news
Waterloo Road airs on Thursdays at 8pm on BBC One.
New! Digital Spy Soap Scoop video - watch Amie Parker-Williams reveal the biggest storylines on the way in Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks next week.