Waterloo Road: School without doors

(Series 7, Ep.11)  The start of a new school year, and the start of yet another chapter in the eventful life of Waterloo Road. Welcome to the Michael Byrne Era.

He’s a new broom sweeping clean, is Mr Byrne. He doesn’t like sloppy behaviour – shirt buttons must be fastened all the way to the top and ties pulled up (yes, you, Ronan Burley). Teachers will no longer be allowed to languish behind their desks reading The Racing Post (yes, you, Grantly Budgen) – because Mr Byrne has personally removed all the classroom doors, so slackers can be spotted. I say “personally,” because caretaker Robson Green is no longer around, so it’s not quite clear who does the manual labouring any more.

Every head teacher needs a deputy, but Mr Byrne needs two. One of them is the long-suffering (literally, as he’s had at least one bereavement per series since he started) Tom Clarkson. The other is The Radiant Donna off of Holby City, only here she’s called Sian Diamond. She’s still radiant, though, and she and Mr Byrne have A Shared Past. In the present, she’s married to PE teacher Jez Diamond, who’s only slightly jealous that the headmaster still has a bit of a thing for his wife. And drama teacher Matt Wilding is back, for those Glee-style moments that we love so much. 

Of the pupils, the magnificent Ronan Burley is still there (hurrah and thrice more hurrah), and he’s still engaged to Vicki. Surprisingly, given that it’s the end of the summer holidays, Vicki is sporting a more natural-looking complexion and less of the mahogany veneer that was getting a little scary a while back. The Lovely Josh is apparently on a mission to curtail his curls, because his hair is shorter than ever and quite flat. I miss his lovely curls. Finn is sporting stubble and is trying to move on from the loss of Sam by chatting up new girl Trudi.

Trudi’s brother is this term’s bad boy, Tariq. Arriving at school on The Bus Of The Previously Excluded, Tariq quickly got down to scowling menacingly and taking Ronan Burley’s car for an illegal spin in the school grounds. A car being taken for an illegal spin around the school grounds is such a regular occurrence at Waterloo Road that they really ought to have a rally track installed. If only they had a caretaker. They do have prefects, though (who knew?), and Tariq is now one. Mr Byrne feels his leadership skills need to be harnessed for good rather than evil, but we’ll wait and see how that works out.

The main storyline revolved around two boys with very big hair, Phoenix and Harley. They were living with their gran, but when she died they decided not to tell anyone, because they didn’t want to live with their abusive drunk of a dad (loveable John Thomson, playing against type). This was a very sad story, but I couldn’t take it seriously because it kept reminding me of the sketch in the CBBC show Stupid, where a granny keeps pretending to be dead to fool her grandson (low quality YouTube here). The boys were friendly with Scout, who is still at Waterloo Road and still currs about people. She curred enough to tell Tom Clarkson, who told Mr Byrne, who went round to advise Phoenix that burying your gran in the garden is both illegal and can ruin your herbaceous border (see, I still can’t take it seriously. I kept expecting granny to sit up and say, “Your face!”).

Posted by PLA          (more Waterloo Road here)

12 Comments

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12 responses to “Waterloo Road: School without doors

  1. .::Big.Bang::.

    Ahhh, now I remember that it was similar to Stupid.

    Anyway, except for “Donna” from HC and Grantly, this story was D-U-L-L. Pretty sure the whole jealousy thing is gonna get turned to maximum halfway through and Finn might do something stupid. Oh, well. Let’s see how next week goes.

  2. Waterloo Vamps

    Ugghhhrrr! WR was soooo much better with Karen Fisher. Come, on…buttons done up, really? No way. I hated the story and I think I will have to say that other than Grantly,it was as Dull as FLNT from Holby. That was how boring I found it. Ach, well it’s good to see Scout still currs, and next week’s episode looks slightly more interesting.

    • pauseliveaction

      Let’s hope it perks up, otherwise you’ll have to change your name, Waterloo Vamps. I thought it was an ok episode. Michael Byrne (no relation to the World’s Most Beautiful Heart Surgeon) wants to make his mark on the school by having zero tolerance of open necked shirts. He’s also being tough on the glorious Janeece, expecting her to spell properly and everything. Give him a few weeks – he’ll learn.

  3. BigBossyBoots

    And there’s me thinking that the granny-buried-in-the-garden scenario was a reference to ‘The Cement Garden’! Stupid…
    I was wondering when WR were going to catch up with the times and realise that a school with their demographic should have at least one feisty hijabi sista. Go girl! I’m wondering if this is going to echo the fantastic Muslim teen chic lit novel ‘Does My Head Look Big In This?’ with Trudi having a should she/shouldn’t she kiss him dilemma? (As opposed to a Shed Production should he/shouldn’t he kiss him dilemma).

    • pauseliveaction

      I’d forgotten The Cement Garden, BBB. My references these days are more lowbrow!

      Trudi is gorgeous and I liked the way she didn’t take any nonsense from Finn.

  4. Ach, the the new head always starts off being brick hard and strict. It never lasts. Both Karen and Rachel started off with a no-nonsense approach

    Our Man In The North

  5. remotecontrolled

    Hmm…the down and dirty not afraid to hit evil ex-pupils streak of Rimmer, the bizarre initiatives glimmer of Fisher and the no-nonsense approach while flirting with deputes shine of Mason. Let’s see how this one pans out, though you can guarantee his character will be completely changed by episode 4. Glad to see WR upheld its reputation of not explaining fully the disappearance of old teachers. As they failed to explain otherwise it shall be hereforth established Karen’s disappearance was due to grand-theft caravan,

    • pauseliveaction

      I think Karen and Robson Green are living in a caravan in Formby with Jo Lipsett and all other staff members who’ve left WR without explanation. The caravan commands a fine view of the beach, so they can all enjoy the breathtaking sight of Chris Mead going for his daily pursuit of suicidal teenagers.

      • remotecontrolled

        I have no doubt. Once every one had been saved though the caravan will head up the the super-school of the north ahead of the new series where they will kidnap the rest of the teachers to join them.

        Felt a bit bad for poor old Mead seeing as Scout just ended up back with her uncurring Mummy Dingle.

  6. whats his real acter name? ( Tariq)

  7. i just wish i was in Waterloo road

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