(Series 7, Ep.1) Waterloo Road started a new, 30 week, run last night at an earlier time slot than usual. The 7.30pm start was presumably to try and hook in some new viewers who haven’t been exposed to the delights of our favourite dysfunctional secondary school before.
Anyone who did tune in could have been forgiven for being slightly traumatised come 8.30. Indeed PLA Jr has announced her intention of spending the next few years “wrapped in bubblewrap,” as she now feels that being a teenager is just too fraught with danger.
But before we get on to that, what seasoned WR viewers want to know is who’s in and who’s out. Well, Cesca Montoya, Ruby Fry and Adina Lawal are out on the staff side. New teachers for this term are Eleanor Chaudry (Poppy Jhakra, previously seen on Corrie), who is a fierce, no-nonsense Tory who takes no crap from stroppy teenagers or softies like Tom Clarkson (a shame, this, as he’s her head of department).
Her polar opposite is Daniel Chalk the maths teacher (Mark Benton), the sort of teacher who practically has “kick me” written on his forehead. He’s been taken under the wing of new staff member number three. Robson Green (for it is he, playing Rob Scotcher) may just be an ‘umble caretaker (or “site supervisor” to give him his proper title), but he apparently knows more about teaching than you can shake a stick at. I don’t think I’m going to get very good odds for my bet that he’ll end up being promoted from the cleaning cupboard to the staffroom before very many weeks have passed. Talking of that cleaning cupboard, the Polish caretaker last term had only a small closet as his domain, but Rob Scotcher (will anyone call him “Hop”?) enjoys a bigger room than most of the classrooms to keep his bottles of Jeyes Fluid and his power tools and to flirt with Mrs Fisher (it’s time Karen had a bit of love interest, and obviously Chris Mead is out – that would be too spooky, what with Jess and all).
Pupils-wise, Jonah’s gone, obviously, as well as Josh’s boyfriend Nate (and most of Josh’s lovely hair – did he cut it off in grief at the loss of Nate?). Among the newbies are a very amusing pair of twins Shona and Rhona (played by twins Hope and Millie Katana) and Hop Scotcher’s son Aidan (Oliver Lee), who is meant to be a hunk but actually looks older than his dad. Obviously Jess Fisher fancies him, but he seems to have his eye on Vicky MacDonald, who is Ronan Burley’s girlfriend currently. She’d be mad to dump the wonderful Ronan for him, but we’ve seen madder things on WR.
Which brings me (I got there in the end) to the plot. We saw a girl in WR uniform abandon a newborn baby in the school. It was later found by Rob, who quietly tried to alert Mrs Fisher, who was giving her traditional start-of-term address to the school. “Discreet” and “Janeece” never belong in the same sentence, though, and pretty soon Janeece was shrieking, “Miss! Someone’s left a bay-beh!” And the whole school heard, including Ali (Kirsty Armstrong), the mother of the child.
Kyle Stack thought he was the father, but it became pretty obvious pretty quickly that the real father was Ali’s stepfather. And a nasty piece of work he was, too. Karen Fisher sussed what was going on pretty quickly, but she didn’t deal with it especially well, choosing to ring the police straight away and leave Ali alone in the hospital, rather than letting the hospital staff know what was going on. Anyway, this gave Ali the chance to leg it with her baby, and she ended up back at Waterloo Road, trying to run away with Kyle Stack. Chris Mead gave chase, but he’s not as fast as he was in the days when he could pursue Fin and Amy across Formby beach for hours on end like a gazelle in a cheap suit. He still packs a decent punch though.
Anyway, all’s well that ends well, and the nasty stepfather was taken into custody, Ali and her mother were going to deal with things together, and Kyle Stack got over his disappointment at not being a father.
Meanwhile, Sambuca Kelly had been acting strangely all episode, being stroppy and horrible to Miss Chaudry, wearing glasses and producing very bad handwriting. A simple case of a trip to Specsavers being needed, perhaps? Or perhaps not, as the episode ended with her getting a nosebleed in Tom’s car and having a seizure in her front garden.
Next time: Has Sam got cancer? And who is the mystery bra sniffer?
Posted by PLA (more Waterloo Road here)