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Waterloo Road: If the crossbow doesn’t get you, the delivery truck will

(Series 7, Ep.30) Oh my giddy aunt. I don’t even know where to start with Wednesday’s Waterloo Road – the last in the term, the last in the series and the last in Rochdale. Exploding caravans? Teachers running away to marry their pupils?  Mild and uneventful in comparison.

At the risk of sounding like a twisted game of Cluedo, we had Kyle Stack in the assembly hall with a crossbow. The crossbow was pointed at the (greasy – lay off the Brylcreem, lad) head of Finn Sharkey. This ghastly assassination attempt was thwarted by Our Josh, who legged it back from being suspended scarily off the edge of a multi-storey car park by pocket sized gangster Eugene  (“I’m a man of deed and I follow through, you get me?” he muttered menacingly, before being scared off by Tom Clarkson and failing to follow through). “Kyle has a crossbow and it is aimed at Finn’s Brylcreemed head!” shouted Our Josh (or something similar) and it was enough to put Mr Stack off his aim and Our Josh took one in the shoulder as a result.  Continue reading

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Waterloo Road: Don’t you dur say anything!

(Series 7, Ep.29) Guest Pupil of this week was one Danilo Babicz. Have we had an asylum seeker at Waterloo Road before? We have now, because that was the Issue our Danilo was there to represent. Scout’s no-good mother had arranged with Dan’s brother that Scout would marry him so he could stay in the country. The problem was, Scout was rather fond of him and thought he felt the same about her. The rat! Luckily she had Phoenix and his mad hair to fall back on.

While Scout was wandering around Rochdale in a wedding dress, Kyle Stack was wandering around Waterloo Road being impressively evil. A security guard had been installed near the school gate, but he wasn’t anywhere near as effective as the previous security guard, Tim Healy, and Kyle was able to slip into school without any bother and creep out Nicki Boston. There was a scene that was fairly mad even by Waterloo Road standards, in which Nicki Boston went to pieces during a class because of Evil Kyle Stack, and a small riot almost ensued before order was restored, military-style, by Shona and Rhona.

We finally discovered what the purpose of Trudi and Tariq’s sister Naseem was. It was so she could get almost set on fire by Finn Sharkey and then rescued by Finn Sharkey, thus escalating all this gang business. To be honest I’ve given up trying to work out who is in what gang. Finn seems to get beaten up on a weekly basis whether he’s in a gang or not and on a weekly basis I’m on the Pauseliveaction sofa yelling, “Not his face! Not his FACE!”

Fleur’s ashes have barely had time to cool in the urn, and already Grantly is draping his pants on them. This was because he got together with the dinner lady – well, Grantly does like his food. I don’t really want to dwell on this storyline too much because it  would mean having to think about Grantly’s private parts. If I did that I’d have to go and have my memory erased again.

Let’s move on to the less worrying topic of Little Zack Diamond, who got fed up with being a chip off the old Diamond (it was only a couple of weeks ago he was having DNA tests and bonding with Papa like nobody’s business, but that’s kids for you and parents can be, like so embarrassing) and decided to change his name to Zack Brown. No idea why, really, but he found it hilariously easy to crack Janeece’s password to the school computer to change his name on there.

At the end of the episode, a big bombshell was dropped – Waterloo Road is going to close! And, coincidentally, Michael Byrne has had the offer of a job running a school in Scotland. Could it be anything to do with this?

Next time: Finn Sharkey in the crosshairs of a crossbow at the school disco! Our Josh also in deadly danger! And *dances with excitement* RONAN BURLEY!

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Waterloo Road: Our Josh’s descent into A level Media Studies

(Series 7, Ep.27) Poor Josh. He took some illegal medications and they rather upset him mentally, so he took some prescription medications and that helped for a while, but now he’s stopped taking them and he’s really, really upset. What you don’t want when you’re feeling frgaile is to become darkly obsessed with the Plague – who knew it had had such an impact on Rochdale? – via the medium of the film you’re making for A level Media studies.  Making a no-budget Hammer horror film – slash – historical documentary in the school basement wasn’t a good idea, either, as people generally only go there to have a breakdown. Poor Josh. It all led to him thinking he had the plague and scratching his arm to shreds during an exam. An ambulance was called, but to compound Josh’s trouble he was unlucky enough to have non-speaking extras as paramedics, so they  weren’t much help.

Meanwhile, it was Janeece’s wedding. Chalky had laid on a pink stretch limo for her, and practically the entire school (15 speaking pupils and a handful of silent extras) managed to hide behind it to spring out and surprise her. I was surprised that she didn’t want Our Cheryl at the wedding. It’s not like Janeece to miss an opportunity to deck her child out in something from the Katie Price Budget Bridesmaid Range. I was less surprised that the groom failed to show, because it was obvious from his very first appearance that that man was up to no good. It was doubly obvious last week when he kept telling her he wasn’t bothered about money. To place that much emphasis on not being bothered about money can only mean you’re really bothered about money.  So while poor Janeece was at the registry office waiting for him, he was busy packing all her worldly goods into a big van. The cad. She really needs to fall for Chalky. I know he’s not much to look at, but he can play the guitar, ride a bike (sort of) and he’ll never pack all her worldly goods into a big van and drive them away. Quite a catch, in other words. The reception went ahead at the school, and we discovered that Janeece has no friends or relatives of her own, because there was no-one at the wedding apart from school staff and pupils.

Meanwhile, can I just say that Jack McMullen is a bloody brilliant actor? When Trudi miscarried the baby, Finn finally got to find out about the pregnancy. In times of dire need, Finn can be the most fabulous boyfriend. He was lovely with Sam and he was lovely with Trudi. And when he was on his own, he broke his heart. Bless him. In what was not Finn’s happiest ever week, his new car got smashed up by Tariq and Kyle Stack, and this led Finn to a decision that he probably already regrets. He decided to join a rival gang. When we last saw him he was being beaten up in an attempt to prove his gang-worthiness. Oh, Finn. You’re so much better than that.

And Jez was told he can come back to work, but he has to “Steer clear of Mercedes” (the pupil, not the cars). This will not be difficult, as she was only Guest Pupil for one week and has now vanished again.

Next time: Someone called Shelby (Guest Pupil of next week) has a problem with alcohol and Kyle Stack is in trouble for an illegal vodka scam. Thank goodness Our Josh is safely sedated in a hospital somewhere. Dodgy vodka is the last thing he needs.

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Waterloo Road: Teachers – when will they ever learn?

(Series 7, Ep.26) When you go for a job as a teacher at Waterloo Road they sit you in front of the interview panel with a cup of tea and a custard cream and they ask, “What do you know about boundaries and the pupil/teacher relationship?” If you shrug your shoulders, look blank and fill the ensuing awkward silence by dunking your biscuit in your tea – you’ve got the job. I swear that’s the only explanation for the entirely thick behaviour Jez Diamond displayed this week – has he not learned the lessons of Ms Montoya and Jonah, or Chris Mead and [insert name of just about any female pupil here]?

Guest Pupil of the Week was Mercedes, who runs as fast as the car that shares her name, at least over short distances. PE teacher and ex footballer Jez was thrilled to be able to mentor such a promising athlete, but it ended in tears when she twisted her ankle during a so-called “fun run” (those two words should never be found so close together in my opinion). Despite numerous WR pupils jogging past who could have summoned Tom Clarkson in his little red car, Jez decided the only thing for it was to help Mercedes limp back to her conveniently adjacent home. Where of course she pounced on him, and of course her brother came back and Drew Conclusions, and Jez got suspended.  Mercedes is a nice girl and fessed up that she hadn’t really been molested by the Diamond geezer, but he has to stay suspended anyway, for being a daft chump. And Sian dumped him, too.  Continue reading

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Waterloo Road: Our Josh’s descent into mental illness

(Series 7, Ep.24) Our Josh’s Drugs Hell didn’t last long, in the sense that he became hooked on the pernicious weed one week and was off it the next, but apparently he’s consumed enough of it that he’s now suffering psychotic episodes. He spent this episode twitching quietly in one corner or another. What was needed to turn a low-level bubbling anxiety into all-out panic was for a fire alarm to go off and for Josh to subsequently be appointed Fire Monitor. He started seeing danger everywhere, and ended up smashing his hand against a fire alarm and crouching under a desk, having a bit of a cry and bleeding a fair amount. “He needs a doctor,” suggested Nikki Boston (with that level of insight, the Pastoral Care crown should surely be hers). Tom thought he just needed a lie down, but off to the doctor he went, and it seems Our Josh may have the beginnings of schizophrenia. Oh, Josh. I can’t help thinking you wouldn’t have got into this mess if you’d still had Nate and if Finn wasn’t completely preoccupied with The Lovely Trudi all day long.

Meanwhile,  Zack Diamond got it into his head that he wasn’t a chip off the old Diamond, based on the fact that (a) he has ginger hair and his parents and sister don’t (b) he likes drama and his dad likes football and (c) everyone keeps saying, “You’re nothing like your dad.” Including his dad. So he sold his laptop to pay for a DNA test (I can just hear Jeremy Kyle raging, “This should have been done when the kid was two weeks old, not 14!”). While the world waited with bated breath for the results, Jez realised his son was, in fact, a little Diamond in every sense of the word. The problem was, there was just a shred of doubt in his mind that maybe he wasn’t, but they had a father/son bonding moment anyway, and then Jez got the call to let him know he was the daddy. Hurrah!

Matt Wilding is also a dad, of a baby who looks like an irritable 93 year old (apologies to the baby actor’s parents, but I’m sure he or she will unwrinkle in time; they generally do). He didn’t know he was going to love fatherhood as much as he does, but he does, so he wasn’t best pleased to discover the baby’s mother is now with the baby’s paediatrician (are you following this?) and they were all planning to move to Bristol. It was all a fuss about nothing – no sooner had Matt had time to look gobsmacked and cry a bit than the mother of the child was promising they’d look for a job a bit nearer than Bristol and she would even dump the paediatrician if he wanted.

Trudi had forgotten it was the anniversary of her mother’s death, and only had seconds to spare to throw on a headscarf and leg it down to the cemetery to join Tariq and Naseem at the graveside. We didn’t hear any more about the plans she and Finn had last week to take their relationship to The Next Level, but judging by the previews for next week, I’m guessing they went ahead with the scheme, and were not entirely thorough with the bag full of condoms Finn had. Oh, Trudi.

And Grantly tried to get back the money Scout, Denzel and Phoenix spent by getting them to wash cars. All this lighthearted stuff is leading to a very sad episode next week, when Fleur’s health deteriorates.

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Waterloo Road: Our Josh’s descent into drugs hell

(Series 7, Ep.23) Our Josh’s spiral into the grip of the dreaded weed has been as sudden and unexpected as… well, as most things on Waterloo Road, really. Last week he was found to be partial to a bit of waccy baccy. This week we found he was also partial to to his dealer, one Grady. We kind of got the feeling that Grady wasn’t going to be the next Nate as he was clearly more interested in business than the pleasures of Josh. Josh ended up brokenhearted and puking all over a temporary English teacher.

There were two temporary English teachers this week. They were being interviewed for the post of Head of English. One was hippy and dippy and was full of the joys of Dickens, and the other one was a tough, no-nonsense army type. You can guess which one got the job, and it was mainly due to her hunting down and pursuing Josh’s drugs dealer with the relentless guile and sheer athleticism of a jaguar or Chris Mead. I was actually thrilled to see her sprinting across the playground at the end of the episode, because I’ve missed having a teacher who could run.

The teacher who didn’t get the job attempted to bag herself a consolation prize by asking headmaster Michael Byrne out for a drink. There is something about that head teacher chair at Waterloo Road – it renders anyone who sits in at as completely magnetic to the opposite sex. I reckon it’s the pheromones left behind by Jack Rimmer.

Talking of pheromones, Trudi and Finn decided to take their relationship “to the next level.” Finn stocked up on condoms, because he’s a responsible citizen. He’d better stock up on full body armour when Tariq finds out. Finn and Trudi had to make a video for the school website, and Evil Kyle Stack left the camera running while they were messing about. It landed them in hot water with Sian, who thought they should take their head girl/boyship seriously, but I wonder whether some of the more incriminating footage won’t find its way to Tariq.

Grantly lost £800 of his Avon lady money and it was found by Phoenix, who took Denzil and Scout on a shopping spree to buy flashy headphones and trainers – basically, anything they could find that would be blatantly obvious to anyone looking for some lost money. Think of all the drugs Josh could have bought with £800.

Next time: Josh’s descent into drugs hell continues and Zack doesn’t think Jez is his real dad. Maybe the Botox has rendered him unrecognisable to his own kids.

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Waterloo Road: Meet the gang

(Series 7, Ep.21) The start of yet another half term on Waterloo Road (I seem to say that with increasing regularity. Are the terms getting shorter, or is it just old age creeping up on me?). No exploding caravan or child lost on the moors for this episode. Rather than Rochdale Gothic, WR went for Inner City Gritty and we had an episode filled with dangerous gangland violence like graffiti, knife-wielding, setting fire alarms off and pouring Sprite on the teacher’s desk.

It was Tariq who did the Sprite thing, and I think that tells us all we need to know about his bad boy credentials. He’s not really cut out for this hard man stuff. We already knew that, of course, because we were there when Trudi was telling Finn how Tariq used to cry a lot when he was in the Young Offenders Institute. Tariq had been settling down fairly nicely in Waterloo Road, give or take the odd bout of threatening behaviour, but this week he got dragged back into the world of gangland crime by one Mason Price, a school pupil who looked older than many of the teachers and who seemed to have styled his fringe with a mascara wand. In other words, he was Hard. Every Mr Big needs a right hand man, and Mason’s was Kyle Stack, who was over-compensating for his seductive body-popping in the school pantomime by being all snarly and unpleasant.

When you join a gang you have to prove yourself by doing something particularly mean, and Tariq was required to beat up, and preferably stab, Finn Sharkey. Continue reading

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Waterloo Road: Long live WR!

(Series 7, Ep.10) Whenever I think of Chris Mead, I shall picture him bounding like a young gazelle across Formby sands in pursuit of Finn and Amy. It was a magnificent feat of athleticism, and one which he reprised in the final episode of this term, as he jogged gamely along the platform at Manchester Piccadilly Station to save Scout and Our Little Liam from evil drug dealer types. Not a hair out of place. Breathtaking. Scout, however, was less impressed. She didn’t want to go into “curr.” She curred so much about not going into curr that she made Denzil swurr not to tell anyone that she was planning to take Liam, a fistful of drugs money and a packed lunch to That London on a train. But Denzil is a curring type of lad and he’s seen the documentaries, so he told Chris what was going on.

Chris’s hasty departure from the school premises in pursuit was badly timed for Karen, who was busy trying to impress school inspector Alison (Tracy-Ann Obermann). Throw in Finn, Josh, Amy and Lauren taking a turn around the school car park in Tom Clarkson’s car, via the cycling proficiency class helmed by nervous cyclist Daniel Chalk, and you have all the makings of what most school inspectors would term “failure.” “Your deputy head just seriously undermined your authority, minutes after four of your pupils were caught joyriding,” summed up Inspector Alison. Put that way, it didn’t sound good.   Continue reading

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Waterloo Road: That boy needs neutering

(Series 7, Ep.7) Sambuca Kelly’s time at Waterloo Road will not be forgotten, as she’s been given a beautiful memorial of a little tree with a tupperware box of pens buried beneath it. They were her pens. Sniff. Poor little Denzil has taken to carrying her bright pink hoodie around in his bag (it smells of her), but it was appropriated by a new girl, Scout (Katie McGlynn). We know Scout is trouble because she has greasy hair and she’s good at maths. Both of these attributes make her stick out a mile in a school where you can slump glassy-eyed in front of Grantly Budgen all day long, but you must have shiny hair while you do it.

In a scenario which would have Jeremy Kyle frothing at the mouth and spitting out the words “Why didn’t you put something on the end of it?” every five minutes, Aiden Scotcher has succeeded in getting not one, but two of his fellow classmates pregnant, apparently in the same week. It’s not the first time he’s done it, either – we’re led to believe that this is why he left his previous school.

He may be firing on all cylinders in the reproductive department, but as a person he’s a cringeing, oily little worm who runs crying to his mummy when he messes up. When Vicki told him she was pregnant, his first question was “Is it mine?” Her reply was that she and Ronan were “always careful,” which I think sums up the contrast between Aiden and Ronan nicely. Not only is Ronan always careful, but even though Vicki has broken his heart he was still willing to take the fall for her when Aiden stole an exam paper so she wouldn’t fail it.  Continue reading

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Waterloo Road: Every day’s just another last time

 

(Series 7, Ep.6) I write this through a fog of tears, having just watched last night’s episode. Oh my good lord, that was emotional. My usual defence mechanism when it comes to sad things on  telly or films is to picture the actors all surrounded by camera people and sound people and so on, but I got so absorbed in Sam’s story that I forgot to do that. The result is not a pretty sight.

My cynical side should really have been spending the time ticking off the cliches: final visit to the seaside; attempting to bequeath your boyfriend to your best friend so they can share their grief; going to a funfair and actually winning a cuddly toy; realising that your biological father isn’t as important as the man who’s always there for you and who loves you. But my cynical side wasn’t working, and I’m filling up again, because it was all played out with such sincerity and sensitivity by the main players, and of course particularly Holly Kenny, who’s been an absolute star as Sam.

Her death was gentle and quiet and happened while Rose held her and Tom dozed next to them. “It’s okay – she’s alright,” said Rose. “She’s alright now.” “I fell asleep,” said Tom. “Oh, so did she, Tom. She just went.”

Oh-oh. I’m going again. Let’s move swiftly on to the light relief, which was happily provided by Jodie Prenger (of I’d Do Anything fame) playing Linda, a PR lady Karen had drafted in to try and rebrand the school. “Whoever said you can’t polish a turd hasn’t met me,” she pronounced. She proceeded to try and polish the turd that is Waterloo Road by taking lots of carefully edited photographs. The Lovely Josh was deemed a bit too spotty to feature. “Hormones don’t sell,” Linda told Karen, who replied in her best frosty-knickers voice, “It’s a secondary school. Hormones live here.” Karen wasn’t happy with Linda’s make-believe portrayal of the school, particularly as she’d decided to feature caretaker Rob Scotcher as the face of the school: “Handsome! Dynamic! Trustworthy!” And back with his wife, presumably dashing Karen’s hopes of romance.

Meanwhile, horrible Miss Chaudery had called in the man from the education department, who is not happy with Karen spending money on PR people, and with her dallying with the site manager.

Next time: It’s the circle of life, isn’t it? This week we lose Sambuca, and next week it looks like nearly everyone is hearing the pitter patter of tiny feet. And I don’t mean Janeece in a new pair of heels.

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