(Series 10, ep.10) It wouldn’t be a proper end-of-term at Waterloo Road without an art teacher telling her class to use their imagination in turning the canteen into a sparkling fairytale ballroom. And it would definitely not be the end of term without someone being injured and at least one branch of the emergency services being involved. For good measure this time there was also a hastily improvised explosive device.
No surprise that most of this mayhem (apart from the jazzing up of the canteen with streamers) was caused by Justin Fitzgerald. It was his eighteenth birthday, but he behaves more like he’s eight than eighteen, sulking and snivelling his way through life like the spoiled brat he is. I’m sorry, but I’ve got no sympathy for the weasel. After he punched Allie in the face and Vaughan marched him down to the police station, I was really hoping they’d follow through on the “worst case scenario” of a year in prison. Later on, as he threatened his father with a gas canister and a lighter (meant for Allie), was I the only one who was hoping he’d light it and blow himself and his useless lump of a father to kingdom come? Or am I just a very bad person? Continue reading
(Series 10, ep.9) They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but Simon Twinkle Spark served it steaming hot this week, and it was brilliant. Returning triumphant from a successful job interview in Wales, it wasn’t long before Simon discovered (via the reliably dim Sue) that his wife has been “cavorting” with smarmy PE teacher Hector Reid.
Simon immediately headed for the gym and was only prevented from setting about Hector with a baseball bat by the arrival of Vaughan Fitzgerald. After this, Simon resigned, told Sue he wanted a divorce, had cuddly moments with Christine, Audrey and Kacey Barry, and told Darren and Lenny that violence was never the way to resolve things. Then he reversed his car over Hector’s precious motorbike and drove away from Waterloo Road with a smile on his face. Marvellous. Continue reading
(Series 10, ep.8) I still don’t know quite what to make of Justin Fitzgerald. On one hand, I’m entirely with Allie in thinking he’s not the kind of boyfriend you’d want your daughter to have – some of his behaviour in this episode (taking her phone away, lying about where they were going) was the kind of pattern you see in domestic abuse. He’s manipulative and has a very nasty streak.
On the other hand, I have to have some sympathy with him as well. He has been entirely messed around with by his father, who thought dumping his sons into the middle of a new family while their mother had a breakdown elsewhere was a good plan, and then proceeded to follow this up with sending Justin away to boarding school at the first sign of trouble. Continue reading
(Series 10, ep.7) “Waterloo Road is home to a bunch of highly sophisticated cyber criminals,” said Allie upon seeing the school’s IT systems being dismantled and computers being removed by the police. When did these revered and relied-upon learning aids become Evidence? When Leo inexpertly hacked into the system of that mega corporation Wire Data. Because Waterloo Road isn’t full of sophisticated cyber criminals, as Allie knew because she was being witty and ironic. It’s home to Kevin Chalk, who knows his way round a computer, and Leo Fitzgerald, who would love to be a sophisticated cyber criminal but is actually a bit of an idiot.
Were Kevin’s actions based on supporting Audrey’s campaign against Wire Data, who are endangering the crested tit (“It could become the dodo of its day,” according to Audrey)? Nope. It was all to prove that he’s still the smartest boy in the school, even after his stroke. He impressed the boss of Wire Data, anyhow, and he didn’t even have to mention his phone app fortune. And just in case Mr Wire Data was thinking of prosecuting (he was), Kevin had found a secret hidden laptop and installed a worm on Wire’s system as “insurance.” Continue reading
(Series 10, ep.5) Waterloo Road has always been founded on a passionate belief that “these kids” deserve the very best education. They deserve to reach for the stars, ain’t no mountain high enough and any number of inspirational cliches. It’s what head teachers from Jack Rimmer through to Christine Mulgrew via Karen Fisher have sweated to achieve.
Vaughan Fitzgerald, the current incumbent of the swivel chair of power, is a bit different. He apparently thinks that too much hard work is bad for kids, who should be turning themselves into well-rounded individuals via the medium of not doing too much of that tedious revision. “Exams shouldn’t be the tail that wags the school dog,” he announced confusingly, just as exam papers were being handed out. Continue reading
(Series 10, ep.4) That was possibly one of the most uncomfortable hours of television viewing I’ve had in my life. It was basically just 60 minutes of watching a girl getting bullied by her peers and her teachers alike, and it was so relentlessly grim I had to check the credits to see if it was directed by Ken Loach.
I don’t know whether we were supposed to feel that the bullying was in some way justified because the victim was Gabriella Wark, who’s rich and superior and used to get her kicks trying (rather pathetically) to seduce Hector Reid and broke Kacey Barry’s arm by knocking her off a climbing wall. Even so, the level of nastiness against her was just horrible – culminating in the bedroom of her late sister being trashed by Lisa and Shaznay and Gabriella almost drowning for the second time in the episode (the first one a water-boarding incident in the school toilets – not the first time this has been used on Gabriella). The only redeeming feature of the storyline was the acting of Naomi Battrick as Gabriella and Brogan Ellis as Kacey. Both of them are stunning actors with incredible presence. Continue reading
(Series 10, ep.3) I found the main story in this week’s Waterloo Road really sad. Verruca Salt, a girl with pitifully low self esteem (me calling her Verruca probably wouldn’t help, so it’s Rhiannon from now on) had a virtual baby to look after and, bless her, it looked to be just about as much fun as she’s ever had in her life. Taking to virtual baby motherhood like a duck to water, Rhiannon took beautiful care of “Beyoncé” and even enjoyed talking to her as she wheeled her to school. She was probably only a whisker away from putting Beyoncé’s name down for nursery and arranging to have her vaccinations done.
It was all the more poignant because she thought she was really pregnant, and was harbouring visions of herself and Darren (the father) and a real Beyoncé (not the real Beyoncé – that would be implausible) living in domestic harmony. Continue reading