Waterloo Road: Drugs, head lice, boxing, Mandarin… welcome to Series 9

kacey nikki simon waterloo road(Series 9, Ep.1) Ring the bells! The school bell, anyway. It’s another new academic year at Waterloo Road and another series of barking-madness for us.

They didn’t try and brush Tom Clarkson under the carpet, though. Even before the title sequence rolled we’d been treated to a flashback of a Mulgrew’s-eye-view of him plummeting from the roof. Grantly gave a speech at assembly, to his credit not even appearing bitter and twisted about his promised kidney being dashed on the playground surface. There was a minute’s silence, and Kacey Barry (my gosh Brogan Ellis is a good actress) ran from the room, as no amount of silences (with added sniggering) will bring back the man who gave her the confidence to be proud of herself.

Nikki Boston is attempting to fill the Tom gap in Kacey’s life by giving her boxing lessons, and repairing the wee shrine that Kacey lovingly built out of candles, a photo of Tom and some wood.

lenny lisa waterloo roadThe shrine needed fixing because it was shattered by Lenny, a new pupil and twin brother of Lisa, another new pupil. These two were familiar faces to the teacher with the pointy face (for convenience I might have to start calling her “Audrey,” like everyone else does), who’d taught them at her previous school. It was her birthday, and in the absence of any cards, gifts or acknowledgements (how soon Ndale has forgotten her), she needed a hobby. So her hobby became helping Lenny and Lisa, who were a tad unwashed, hungry and uncared for.  

In the traditional Waterloo Road manner, Audrey ignored all protocols and common sense and went to visit the twins’ older brother Larry at home to find out why they were neglected and why Lenny had mentioned drugs. She discovered a fully-functioning cannabis farm in the back bedroom, and not surprisingly Larry wasn’t happy to see her and Audrey ended up with a wee cut on her head (which kept changing size throughout the rest of the episode).

If only Christine Mulgrew, on her first proper day as head teacher, had answered her phone when Audrey called her. But where was Christine? At an AA meeting, that’s where. The episode started with the words, “You look like you need a drink,” and by the time she’d been patronised by somebody from the local authority, she was ready for a drop of liquid relaxation. But she resisted, and well done to her for that. But not particularly useful when you’re supposed to be at work and your maverick teachers are running around doing impromptu drug busts.

So now the twins have been installed in the school-house, which is apparently almost full to capacity. This is strange because nearly all the Rochdale people (apart from Harley) have moved out and nobody else has moved in, but maybe they need an extra room for Grantly’s dialysis machine. Lenny seems to be settling in well, but Lisa wants revenge on Audrey for calling the police and getting Larry banged up. So it looks like Audrey’s cat is in peril.

In other news, there’s a new teacher called Sue Spark, and it turns out that she’s engaged to deputy head Useless Simon. And, would you believe it, her dad is only the local authority guy Christine had had the meeting with! No wonder he seemed more impressed by Christine’s deputy than Christine herself.

waterloo roadThough one thing he did like in Christine’s proposals was her plan for modern languages, which was probably my favourite line of the night: “Your Mandarin initiative has legs, I think.” (My second favourite line was “Très bien, Hamish”). Back at Waterloo Road, Angus Deayton told Christine he needed a teaching assistant for Mandarin classes because some of the pupils were way more advanced than others. What he meant by this was (a) Kevin Chalk had learned some dialogue from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and was able to recite it, whereas nobody else spoke any Mandarin at all and (b) he has a Chinese wife (Xin from Corrie) who needs a job.

Verruca Salt had head lice, which she (wrongly) blamed on Lenny and Lisa. It gave Barry Barry, who otherwise had a quiet episode, the chance to make an amusing quip about the circle of life. Connor has finally taken my advice and got himself a decent haircut. And the oversized broccoli above the canteen door made its first appearance of the series. What a welcome sight it was.

Posted by PLA          (More Waterloo Road here)

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3 responses to “Waterloo Road: Drugs, head lice, boxing, Mandarin… welcome to Series 9

  1. remotecontrolled

    Good to see nepotism is still alive and well at Waterloo Road – in more than one storyline. Lived up to WR barminess but can’t help but notice the number of recycled storylines – still, won’t complain as I do love it.

    Can’t help but feel people were being a bit harsh on Audrey. I mean yes, typical Waterloo Road unprofessionalism but I thought Maggie’s standards comment was a little harsh considering I don’t think “not a drug harvester” and privides food is too much to ask for a parental guardian. Right about Brogan Ellis – and I love that Nikki is taking her under her wing.

    Next week looks exciting – seems kickass Christine is making a comeback!

  2. Dreamer

    Really liked this episode. However, having read the spoilers, it sure does feel like the storylines are being recycled. That aside, I’m loving the dynamics between Christine and Nikki – maybe they should get together.

  3. holbylover819

    It really annoys me how none of the A level French students can speak French. In my school everyone has 4 or 5 years of learning French/German/Spanish before they even take their GCSEs. I mean, really.
    I like the way they handle Christine’s alcohol issues, way more realistic than Eastenders where someone can nearly die, go to rehab for two weeks and then be fine in the pub or living in a house with copious amounts of alcohol. Christine is constantly tempted but keeps overcoming it, which makes her seem stronger and the battle harder.
    Everyone’s got new haircuts for back to school it seems, I like Nikki with her hair longer but as a character I still think she lacks the clear personality of some of the other teachers and pupils. Does that make sense?
    Also I think Audrey was way overreacting about the guy’s drugs. She kept going on about the effect of drugs on society without empathising with Larry (of Larry, Lennie & Lisa, almost as good as Barry Barry) as that being the only way he could start to pay off the debts. It was a bit of weed in his kitchen, he’s hardly leading a Mexican drug cartel or anything.
    Loved the review and am eagerly awaiting the absolutely crazy ep of WR that pops up occasionally. ❤

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