(Series 9, Ep.2) I was very disappointed to learn that the theatre trip to see A Streetcar Named Desire has been cancelled. There’s no better excuse for mayhem than taking the Waterloo Road pupils en masse out of school to a public event.
I wasn’t as disappointed as the sixth form were, though, and they were probably feeling the pain more acutely because they were hungry, what with breakfast club having been cancelled too.
Without the Lorraine Donnegan fortune behind it, Waterloo Road is now having to make cutbacks. So breakfast club (proven to improve results and make for happier, healthier, more settled pupils) has been binned off in favour of a Mandarin assistant (proven to be essential to Kevin Chalk, the only pupil who seems to speak Mandarin). Good decision-making, Christine Mulgrew. Or “Hatchet” Mulgrew, as she suggested we might call her.
If only cutbacks and a revolting sixth form (they had a wee sit-in in the school-house) were Christine’s only problem. She also finds herself with the most useless teacher since the last useless teacher, in the form of Sue Spark. Despite (or because of) being the daughter of the Director of Education and the fiancée of deputy head Useless Simon, Sue is absolutely rubbish at her job and found herself at one point locked in a cupboard during a fire alarm. There wasn’t an actual fire – it was a lot of smoke in a beaker caused by Verruca Salt and some jelly babies – but it was enough to give Imogen a panic attack. This led to Christine suggesting Connor might have started the fire (“It’s not like he hasn’t got form”), which made him – quite understandably – go all sulky. Sulky is Connor’s default setting, but prior to that he’d been defending his mum against all the grievances against her by moaning, “She’s in a difficult position!” every five minutes.
Connor was lovely with Imogen and helped her get away from the (non-) fire. If only Sue Spark could have the help of a gallant hero. Cometh the hour, cometh Barry Barry, sporting what looked like a touch of eyeliner and looking like the suave villain in a silent movie. He made Sue an offer: he’d keep her classes under control, for the reasonable sum of £20 a day. Bargain.
Elsewhere, Lenny and Lisa were still holding Audrey’s cat hostage in the school house. Lennie had its food needs sorted out (Lenny is so sweet), but there was no mention of its toilet needs. There is no way they could have hidden the smell of cat poo from the nose of Maggie the Dinnerlady. It’s the most toxic smell on the planet. Cat and owner were reunited, but not before Lisa had seen Audrey’s internet dating profile and poor Lenny had had to deliver Cringey Dialogue of the Week: “None of this is Mitzi’s fault!”
Meanwhile, Nikki Boston has apparently relinquished all classroom duties and is now devoting herself full-time to teaching Kacey Barry how to be a top boxer. So she won’t be too worried to learn that Christine has handed a joint-deputy-headship to George Windsor (wouldn’t that mean a pay rise? How does that fit in with cuts?). George is Christine’s best ally, and currently one of the programme’s best assets. He’s brilliant at the sarcastic quips and comedy bits. There should be ample opportunity for those next week, as Waterloo Road implements Useless Simon’s plan of a version of The Apprentice (which I’m sure has already been done in an earlier series, but that was in another country and another time).