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.
The 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.
Though 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.