|Portrayed by||Reece Noi|
|First Appearance||Series 4 Episode 1|
|Last Appearance||Series 4 Episode 8|
|Cause/Reason||Jailed for the murder of his girlfriend Maxine Barlow|
|Half-Brothers|| Denzil Kelly (Deceased) |
|Half-Sisters||Sambuca Kelly (Deceased)|
|Romances|| Jade |
Maxine Barlow (Deceased)
Earl Kelly is the second son of Rose Kelly, the little brother of Marley Kelly and the older half-brother of Sambuca Kelly, Denzil Kelly and Prince Kelly. He has a son with Jade, Earl's Kelly who was taken by social service when he was around 2 weeks old. He is actually in jail for the murder of his former girlfriend Maxine Barlow.
Earl arrived in the first episode of the fourth series of Waterloo Road, along with his rather dysfunctional family. At sixteen years old, Earl has grown up in an unsettling background, never living in one place for more than five minutes. He's the psychopathic violent one of the family, but is fiercely protective of them in some ways. He is first introduced with his whole family - alcoholic mother Rose Kelly, slightly older and responsible brother Marley Kelly, fourteen-year-old only sister Sambuca Kelly, eleven-year-old softy brother Denzil Kelly and baby brother Prince Kelly. He is immediately portrayed as a hard-as-nails badboy when he opens his bag of belongings to show he has a handheld gun, and later throws a taxi driver against his car. Headteacher Rachel Mason and deputy head Eddie Lawson step in, by removing the taxi driver from the premises and threatening Earl into behaving.
Rachel instantly gives Earl a verbal warning about violence,
The Kellys are put into classes by Rachel. Sambuca ends up with Matt Wilding, Denzil with Jasmine Koreshi, Marley with Tom Clarkson and Earl with Steph Haydock. On his way to his class, Earl passes Year 12 pupils Janeece Bryant and Maxine Barlow. It, at first, appears that Earl is interested in Janeece. But it's actually Maxine which he's eyeing up, to which she notices, but fails to tell Janeece so. Janeece proceeds to comment that Earl looks 'well fit', which Maxine scoffs at.
Earl makes a bad impression on Steph - Maxine's foster carer - when he falls asleep in the French class. She wakes him up and scolds him for snoozing in lesson time, to which he cheekily replies, "Sorry Miss, I thought I was at home, I'll just have ten more minutes," and rests both feet on the table. Steph sharply puts him in his place and orders him to take out his pencil case. He does so, unzipping his backpack and revealing his gun again, to which he momentarily closes his fingers around. Then he gets started with his work, much to his indignation and Steph's pleasure.
Meanwhile, Sambuca is finding it difficult to settle in, especially when she's told off by a stressed Matt and forced to sit facing the class wall. Matt later sees a softer side to Sam and realises that maybe the Kellys aren't all as hard as they seem. Marley meets his new love interest, Flick Mellor, who is the Year 12 head girl. Marley - who is in the year above Earl with Maxine and Janeece - is fitting in well. As the responsible adult of the family, Marley sets the example, but Earl doesn't exactly obey. Meanwhile, young Denzil is struggling is Jasmine's class, and it's discovered he can't read. All the Kellys are reasonably bright, but Rose's alcoholism and bad parenting has affected their education. Earl seems to be the only one of them all who really doesn't care about his future.
Rose turns up during the school morning, bladdered. She tells her kids she's taking them home, despite it only being 11:00am. The playground pupils turn to watch Marley and Sambuca reasoning with their mum. Marley eventually snaps at his mother to "go home and sober up". Rose demands to see Earl, who is lurking out of the way. Maxine and Janeece also watch the spectacle. Marley later spots Earl and calls him as Rose walks away, but Earl complete ignores them - his family is, to him, too much of an embarrassment.
Earl makes some enemies during his first day. Paul Langley and Bolton Smilie get on the wrong side of Earl when Paul purposefully knocks into Earl on the way to his first class with Steph. Later on, Bolton shoves Paul and he accidentally lands on Earl. Earl responds by shoving Paul against one of the school lockers, and tells Bolton not to mess with him. Tom Clarkson then intervenes, sending Paul and Bolton off. One-to-one, Tom tries to reason with Earl, who then proceeds to throw Tom against a locker, too. Tom pushes Earl off and Earl then makes a gun with his fingers and presses them against Tom's head. It then becomes clear what Earl's message is - "Mess with me, and I'll blow your brains out." Tom, unlike others, is not frightened and tells Earl he'll ignore Earl's violent gesture because it's Earl's first day - but if it happens again, then the boy's out. This instigates the feud between Tom and his new neighbours, the Kellys.
Tom's ex-partner Izzie Redpath's daughter, Year 12 pupil Chlo - who Tom sees as his own - has set up a hairdressing business in a caravan on the school grounds called Chlo's Cuts. Earl arrives and asks for his buzzcut-style hair to be trimmed. Chlo's husband, Donte Charles isn't happy. When Earl turns up, Donte turns him away, and Janeece decides he's a 'little creep'. Maxine hides her interest for him in the first part of Episode 1.
At the end of the first part, Earl is on a rampage and holds a gun in his hand as he storms into the playground. Police later swarm the grounds, and Earl persuades his younger brother Denzil to take the gun - lying that Denzil, aged eleven, will get a lighter sentence in a Young Offender's Institution than a sixteen-year-old Year 11 would. However, Denzil is banged up, and the Kellys are distraught.
Rose later gets a job at the school after being offered it by Rachel. She's a canteen assistant for Bolton's mother, Candice Smilie. She gets off to a rocky start by getting drunk and interrupting Marley's head boy speech, although he still wins the title.
In Episode 2, the Kellys throw a house party. Earl and Maxine flirt, to Janeece's horror and disappointment in Maxine. Earl offers Maxine drugs, to which she laughs and declines, after being badly hooked on them in Series 2 and getting pregnant because she was out of her mind on them. They end up sleeping together, to which Rose knows and approves of. Maxine lies to Steph that she's at Chlo's for the night. Tom, the Kellys' neighbour, stops the party with Marley's help. Later, Tom goes to shout at the Kellys for discarded rubbish and people in his garden from the party the night before. He sees Earl and Maxine sit up from a sofa in their garden, after clearly having sex there previously. Their relationship blossoms over the next few episodes.
Earl's rivalry with Tom intensifies, as he starts killing pigeons and leaving them on Tom's doorstep. In Episode 5, he claims that the pet cat has been dropping the birds outside Tom's house - but Marley later reveals to Flick that they don't have a cat.
During Drugs Awareness Day, run by Flick's dad, Marley is set up with a positive drugs test. In truth, the negative test for Marley had been swapped with Flick's positive one by her father. He was disappointed that Flick was "having the odd spliff" and decided to get her boyfriend Marley, who he severely disapproved of, thrown out instead. Marley walked, and Earl and Sambuca followed suit - but not before Earl showed his English class a photo of Eddie in his youth supporting cannabis. It is later proved that Marley's test was negative and Flick's positive, so the Kellys are apologised to and get to stay.
Ralph Mellor, Flick's dad, resigns as a school governor. But he bitterly reports Rose to Social Services. Her five kids are taken away, including baby Prince. Marley is placed in a youth hostel, Sambuca goes to stay with Matt Wilding, Denzil remains in the Institution, Prince is most likely in care or a foster home, and Earl has a foster placement too. However, he runs off to stay at his stepdad Reynold Kelly's house mostly. Reynold shows up after a call from Earl, and demands that Sambuca leaves Matt's flat to live with Reynold in Rose's house. Rose is convinced by Reynold to move into a bedsit, whilst Reynold stays in the Kellys' household and wins the kids back. However, Sambuca refuses to leave Matt's. Earl and Reynold then storm over to Matt's after taking Sambuca's keys. They trash the flat and take Sambuca. Reynold is later arrested after Rose calls the police, and Matt safely gets to keep fostering Sambuca.
Earl's relationship with Maxine continues to be destructive. They are caught having sex in a toilet cubicle by Tom, and Steph bans them from seeing each other under her roof. However, Grantly Budgen turns up on Steph's doorstep after his marriage to Fleur Budgen takes a brief hit when Steph's lies get out of hand. Occupied with Grantly's troubles, Steph fails to notice her own as Maxine sneaks out constantly to be with Earl, or sneaks Earl in. Most prominently, in Episode 7, Steph visits Maxine in her bedroom and warns her, "not to waste away on some little waster like Earl Kelly. You're beautiful, Max, you can do better." As she leaves, the camera pans down to below Maxine's bed, where Earl is hiding with a sinister smile on his face.
Episode 8 proves to be the downfall of Earl and Maxine's relationship, however. Maxine sees Earl being hassled by a girl named Jade. She later confronts them both - Earl insists its nothing and that he loves Maxine, but Jade says otherwise. She says she has had Earl's baby and he's not paying up. Maxine is shocked at this, as she had a stillborn daughter called Charlotte in similar conditions, with Lewis Seddon equally as nasty and not likely to cough up the cash. She also feels surprised because she and Earl had been planning to rent their own place and start a family together. Jade shows Maxine where she is staying with a three-day-old baby, who looks very ill and poorly looked after. Maxine tells Earl she knows of his deceit and tries to end the relationship.
However, at Steph's house, Earl and Maxine have a showdown. "Are you dumping me?" Earl asks furiously, to which Maxine sharply retorts, "Well done!" Earl pulls a gun and aims at Maxine. Janeece, who ran off to get help, returns and tries to stop Earl. He throws her against the wall. Just as Janeece gets up and Steph arrives, Earl pulls the trigger and runs. Maxine dies in the arms of those who loved and cared for her most - Steph and Janeece. Earl is caught by the police and sentenced to life imprisonment for Maxine's murder. Denzil is released from the Institution and the school is distraught. Bolton and Paul blame themselves as they knew Earl had a gun and say nothing. Chlo is in bits, and Steph and Janeece receive counselling.
Earl's sister Sambuca dies in Series 7 of a terminal brain tumour, and Denzil dies at the end of Series 8 after a lorry crashes into him in Scotland. Earl is not seen or heard of since his arrest and departure, apart from a brief mention of his sentencing. It transpires that only Marley, Earl and Prince are left of the five misfit troublemakers from Series 4, and the Kellys' reign of trouble is over.
- Actor Reece Noi, who played Earl Kelly, also played Noel Parkin in the second series of the show, who was shown dealing drugs to Maxine Barlow.
- Earl was originally supposed to make a guest appearance in Series 7, in Sambuca's final episode. Originally there was to be a scene where Sambuca says her final goodbye's to Earl however the scene was unable to be filmed as at the time of the episode production, Earl's portrayer Reece Noi was unavailable due to being in Croatia with the Game Of Thrones filming production