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Max Tyler is a former Waterloo Road character, and served as the main antagonist of the first half of the series 5 autumn term, making him the first significant antagonist to appear in the opening titles.
He was portrayed by Tom Chambers.
Series 5 opened with the proposed merger of Waterloo Road Comprehensive and John Fosters' Private School. Max, being headmaster of John Fosters played a significant role in this merger. Whilst the John Fosters pupils looked up to him almost as a hero, the Waterloo Road pupils were not as convinced, especially as the way Max talked, he was almost suggesting that the Waterloo Road pupils were inferior to those from John Fosters, as pointed out by Waterloo Road head Rachel Mason. These tensions between the two groups of pupils (particularly the girls) soon became a full-out turf war. For this, reason, along with Waterloo Road's record, max made the arrangements with the LEA to become situated as executive head of the school full-time, as supposed to that of four local schools.
Tensions continued to rise, not only between the opposing pupils, but also that of the staff - Rachel and Max never saw eye-to-eye on the important issues, Max believing in taking a disciplinatarian approach with everything, almost employing an 'us-vs-them' attitude to the pupils and staff, believing that Rachel should not be so intimate with the pupils, claiming that they had pastoral care for that. It was also during this time that he started a relationship with the head of Pastoral Care, Kim Campbell - she was often the one that made him more lenient on certain aspects. He came under criticism however, from his deputy head Chris Mead and Rachel herself that he wouldn't come clean with her about the fact that he was still married to a significant LEA member and had had a brief affair with Helen Hopewell, a teacher he employed to work at Waterloo Road despite the fact that she was utterly useless.
As time went on, Max decided to push for Rachel to be gotten rid of completley, and even went as fair as to threaten her nephew, Phillip Ryan and ended up pushing him into a filing cabinet, leading him to have a large bruise on his back. Once the full story of this comes out, Kim is horrified to learn that Max would be so brutal, and Max is sacked just before Rachel decides to resign of her own accord rather than be bullied out by Max. Although his wife assures the Waterloo Road staff that it is unlikely he will ever teach again, his influence remains for the rest of series 5, as Kim is revealed to be pregnant with his child.
His last appearence was series 5 episode 10.
Max is a dedicated and ambitious man, who's desire to reform a utopian, elitist model of a school causes him to cross the line where both pupil and staff welfare is concerned, very often disregarding it in favour of his own agendas. Although Rachel does wonder whether his intentions are noble, just misguided by his actions, Chris disagrees, and it is unknown how much care he had for the school as supposed to himself by the end of his career.
Despite his selfish nature, he is shown to hold genuine affections for Kim, becoming more lenient in certain measures for her sake. When she discovers that he is still married, he very quickly divorces for her sake, and often praises her in front of colleagues or officials, even citing her expertise as head of pastoral care as a reason to sack Rachel. But it becomes clear he begins to grow restless as Rachel continually 'undermines' him, by claiming he was unlawful to suspend two teachers without her consent. It is at this point he ends up physically assaulting Phillip and threatening him not to tell anyone. Phillip originally agrees, until he learns that Max is trying to force Rachel to resign. At this point, Max even insults him directly, calling him 'a sad little boy who tries to be funny because he thinks people will like him.' This taps directly into Phillip's own social issues. It is similar to how he directly calls Sambucca Kelly and her family, 'vermin.' When Tom Clarkson confronts him about it, he turns it back on him and seemingly threatens to sack him.
Overall, Max is an egotistical and possibly even megalomanical man. His morals are stuck in the dark ages, and even though he realises what people may think of him, he doesn't care, and using his influence to continue to manipulate them. He is still sour after he is sacked, and comes to aggravate the staff in the pub after school, until Chris punches him.
(To Phillip, concerning his intetions regarding his response to his assault of him and plans to get Rachel sacked.) My word against yours...hmm...I'm the one with ten years expemlorary service, I'm the one the LEA listens to - you? You're just a sad, lonely little boy who tries to be funny just so that people will like him.