(Series 6, Ep.20) Another term almost over, and head teacher Karen Fisher sat back in her chair to reflect just how well the term had gone. Both her daughters, Bex and Jess, had been saved from the clutches of a nasty pornographer and son Harry seems to be over his own “issues;” the teacher who’d been caught having an affair with one of her pupils was safely on bail and awaiting trial (and motherhood); Tom Clarkson is healing nicely and is over his agoraphobia; a nasty racist incident was swiftly dealt with; Waterloo Road’s first openly gay couple are doing very well; no-one died; and, most importantly, exam results are improving, single sex classes are working, and there’s the end-of-term gender-bending pantomime to look forward to!
You could forgive her for cracking open a Bacardi Breezer and toasting a job well done, but, as devoted Waterloo Road watchers will know, the end of term is not the time to relax. It tends to be the time when Something Dreadful Happens.
It usually happens in front of a visiting dignitary as well, so perhaps it was a mistake inviting the chair of governors along to the panto. It was certainly a mistake casting Kyle Stack as Cinderfella. He may have all the dance moves (how Holly Kenny kept a straight face when George Sampson was required to execute a “seductive” body-popping routine in front of her I don’t know), but his greatest skill is in winding up Finn Sharkey. Hence the panto didn’t go at all to plan, what with Finn and Kyle going toe-to-toe over the lovely Sambuca, Kyle being dumped from the production and Sam going all “you’re not a real man” at understudy Finn during the actual performance, when she was meant to be falling for the blinged-up prince.
Jonah (you didn’t think I’d forgotten him, did you?) used the panto chaos to escape from the school and rendezvous with Cesca to head for a wedding at Gretna Green. Chris Mead almost managed to stop them, but Cesca persuaded him to wait a crucial few minutes before calling the police: “We love each other and we want to be together – is that so wrong?” “Technically, yes,” said Chris, wearing his best sorrowful “Don’t do dis” expression.
It’s this “technically” that has been the important word. While Karen was at pains to say several times during the episode that Cesca had committed a crime, was morally wrong and had possibly damaged Jonah in ways he wouldn’t understand till he was much older, there’s no doubt that the programme’s sympathies have been with the star-crossed lovers. Karen David’s portrayal of Cesca has been of a naive romantic who let her heart rule her head. Jonah never came across as a victim, but was usually the one driving the relationship forward. This isn’t how the courts will see it, of course, but I expect I wasn’t alone in thinking how beautiful the bride and groom looked together, and having a tear in my eye when she was led away by the police.
Back in Rochdale, things had taken a dangerous turn. Denzil Kelly, finding that extreme pop drinking and recreational electrocution weren’t enough of a “buzz,” had taken it upon himself to balance along the wall of a railway bridge, while being filmed by Kyle Stack (being dumped from the pantomime had made him revert to type). Tom Clarkson, Karen, Sam and Finn all rushed to the scene, yelling “Denzil!” or, simply, “DENZ!” repeatedly in an effort to get him to come down, but this only distracted him enough to make him slip. Finn, still smarting from Sam telling him he wasn’t much of a man, staged an impressive rescue but then fell off the bridge himself. It looked, to this Casualty viewer, like a skull fracture and spinal injuries might be on the cards. The hospital staff were muttering about “paralysis,” and no-one could answer the question of whether Finn will walk again, but he didn’t have any form of neck support on in the hospital so I’m optimistic. And Sam has promised to push his wheelchair, a promise which he accepted with such cheerful enthusiasm that I can only conclude he was drugged up to the gills.
And Ruby Fry’s book has been published. Look out for Fairy Cakes in a fictional branch of Morrison’s near you.
Karen’s valedictory speech was inspirational. “I see children arrive here completely unaware what they’re capable of,” she said. And just look what the little monkeys get up to in the space of one term! Luckily Karen feels she has “a lot more to give.” Too right. She’s had two terms at that school now and she hasn’t even had one affair. Rachel Mason and Jack Rimmer would be gobsmacked.
Posted by PLA (more Waterloo Road here)