(Series 8, Ep.29) It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new head teacher. Time to knuckle down and get those all-important qualifications, yes?
Of course not. The start of the Christine Mulgrew Era, despite the loss of Cockney Lorraine and her ever-changing dress codes and the loss of Michael Byrne and his miserable face, was as mad as a box of frogs.
Carol Barry, unhappy that elder daughter Dynasty has plumped for a life of book learnin’ and domestic bliss with junior mobile app magnate Kevin Chalk, phoned up a fictional version of Jeremy Kyle to volunteer to air the Barry laundry on daytime TV. I can’t help thinking that if only Dynasty had mentioned the Chalk App Millions, Carol would have been rather more well disposed towards young Kevin and would have been off sourcing a fascinator from a store with lightish security in preparation for the wedding.
Barry Barry, ever one for a money-making opportunity himself, laid on a mini bus to take half the school to join the audience of ‘Noble Thoughts.’ We’ll leave the issue of the TV studio’s lax door policy to one side (teachers just bobbing in and out practically at will) and focus on the show itself, which would have had Ofcom in uproar and the Daily Mail self-combusting. Kevin thought he was there to help Dynasty confront her issues with her mother, but the show was angled at him being a nasty little family-wrecker, and just to underline how dreadful he was, they’d dredged up his own horrible mother to tell everyone what a monster he really was. The point of this was to make Carol look like a paragon of maternal virtue, which she succeeded in doing stylishly by punching Kevin’s mother on stage. Kevin was embraced into the Barry family bosom and was invited for tea. Everyone bonded around a feast of Generic Fried Chicken. Continue reading
(Series 8, Ep.28) There was rather an end-of-term feel to this episode, what with the inspirational speeches, the mass staff resignations, the change of head teacher and the thwarted acid attack. But there are still a couple of episodes of madness to go before we can hang up our lab coats and bin our pencil cases for this series.
Michael Byrne was seeking to get the local council to take over Waterloo Road from right under the nose of Cockney Lorraine, who was determined to turn the school into the fee-paying Lorraine Donnegan Institute of Excellence (L-DIE). This was the episode where Lorraine (dress code: Bible black) went completely power-crazed and was practically twirling an invisible moustache, so determined was she to get Scotland’s most surreal school on a profit-making footing and bask in glory and cash. Any teacher who didn’t agree with her Vision of the Future was welcome to collect their P45, she announced. Maggie the Dinnerlady said she’d stay, what with having Grantly to look after and that, but Lorraine didn’t want her. Frankly Maggie’s approach to power dressing would have entirely downgraded the promotional brochure and Lorraine wasn’t having any of that kind of thing. The teachers with integrity (practically all of them, given that they were drawn to Waterloo Road by the prospect of Helping These Kids) all said they’d leave. Continue reading
(Series 8, Ep.27) I’m loving Waterloo Road at the moment. It’s gloriously barmy, operating in an alternative universe where the real world has practically ceased to exist and only soap rules apply.
This week it was the wedding of the teacher with the pointy face and her boyfriend, who only arrived in this country from Malawi a few short weeks ago and has now been installed in the Waterloo Road basement with an Addams Family chair and various swooning females for company. And he has his own Waterloo Road polo shirt. No one else has one, so it must have been specially made for him.
If only he’d been specially made for Audrey, but no sooner had he set foot in his new basement than he was setting other parts of himself (don’t dwell) on Less Cockney Sonya. So smitten was Sonya that she was even decorating Audrey and Ndale’s wedding cake with the words “Congratulations Ndale and Sonya.” It was the finest wedding cake moment since Ruby Fry smashed up Rachel Mason’s cake back in series five. Continue reading
(Series 8, Ep.26) Having been without a functioning TV aerial and with internet powered by three candles and an empty baked beans can, I’ve been unable to watch Waterloo Road for a couple of weeks. This week I acquired an extra candle and managed to watch it on iPlayer and I’m very pleased I did. Talk about drama!
Any episode of anything that starts of with Gang of Four as a soundtrack (‘Anthrax,’ no less) is going to make me happy, and in this case it was the soundtrack to the dastardly “Hawaii” Steve-O outlining his plans to turn Connor’s hand to burglary and other money-making crimes. If Connor hadn’t already been the palest colour it’s possible for a live human to be, he’d have gone pale.
The extent of Steve-O’s nastiness only became clear (to me, as presumably this was seen in a previous episode) when Dynasty admitted to Kevin that he’d raped her. At this point I have to say the acting from Abby Mavers throughout this episode was brilliant, and she also has the most beautiful accent. Anyway, her admission turned Kevin into a quivering bundle of rage and he concocted a plan to kill Steve-O, with the help of Connor. This sounded about as good a plan as the one to get Connor to rob houses. Continue reading
(Series 8, Ep.22) Lorraine Donnegan’s accountant has told her she needs to slash the Waterloo Road budget by 30%. That’s a lot of slashing, so she decided she’d start by moving into Michael Byrne’s office. Has it suddenly become much larger? I’d swear it used to be a bit more snug, but maybe he used to have a false wall in there to make it smaller so Sian Diamond would have to wriggle past him for staff meetings. Now he’s on a pipe-and-slippers domestic footing with Jane Beale, he has no need of such stratagems and the extra space has come in handy for Cockney Lorraine and her ergonomic desk chair.
Further savings were to be found by making Michael do an honest day’s teaching instead of slumping over his desk all day waiting for disasters to happen. To make sure he could still hack it on the shop floor, Nikki Boston was dispatched to watch. If Nikki observed all the teachers, Lorraine (dress code: leather and black lace) reasoned, she’d be able to spot teachers who were not adding value, who could then be Drastically Cut.
The prime candidate for that sort of thing would in normal times have been Grantly Budgen, a man with such a gift for teaching he makes Steph Haydock look like Dead Poets Society. But these are not normal times for Grantly, what with having rapidly deteriorating kidneys and that. It’s put a dreadful burden on Maggie the Dinnerlady, who was faced this week with the added pressure that Lorraine wanted to slash the canteen budget as well and made Maggie compete with local takeaway owner The Prince of Spices for the honour of serving the school meals. Continue reading
(Series 8, Ep. 18) Thanks to the goal-scoring skills of star player Kacey Barry, Waterloo Road were in the final of the Unspecified Cup. Hurrah! But the problem was, FA rules (or some official rules somewhere) stated that girls couldn’t play in boys’ teams once they were over 15, in case they broke a nail or terrorised the boys with a mascara wand.
These things were not likely to be a problem with Kacey Barry – a less girly-girl you couldn’t wish to meet. But it went further than that – Kacey actually feels that she is a boy, with an unfortunately female body. So she was gutted to hear she wouldn’t be playing in the cup final. Tom Clarkson was gutted, as well. He knew the team had no chance of winning without Kaycey. His team just didn’t have what Alan Hansen would call “strength in depth.” Being a man (or woman) down, they even had to resort to Connor – who’d never played anything more physical than mah jong in his life – going in goal. Continue reading
(Series 8, Ep. 17) By the end of the episode we’d established that three people weren’t pregnant. Emo Imogen wasn’t (can you imagine Connor’s sperm having the energy? He looks like he can barely blink without having a lie down afterwards). Jane Beale wasn’t, because Michael Byrne had “been careful” (don’t make me imagine that – I’d have to have my brain wiped), and Jade wasn’t because she’d just given birth five minutes before the episode ended.
She gave her baby to a woman who hardly ever blinked (welcome to Connor’s world), who would give her a better start in life. The alternative for the poor child was too ghastly to contemplate. It would have been grandmother-smothered by dreadful dinner lady Maggie, who was being ridiculously manipulative and emotionally blackmailing in trying to get Jade to keep the baby. And it would have had a fine succession of “aunties and uncles” of the likes of Scout, Harley and Rhiannon – who at least were more realistic than Maggie about the downsides to having a baby on the premises. Continue reading