(Series 9, Ep.5) Is Audrey the worst teacher in the history of Waterloo Road? I know there’s stiff competition from the likes of Steph Haydock, Grantly Budgen and Cesca Montoya, but Audrey is in a league of her own. She’s a perfect storm of hand-wringing sincerity, gullibility and a total inability to predict the consequences of her own actions.
She worked out last week that her online friend Moira was none other than Lisa Brown, out to get revenge after Audrey caused her brother Larry to get banged up. Cheerfully disregarding Lisa, Lenny and Larry’s troubled upbringing and the fact that Lisa and Lenny are officially in the care of some kind of Social Services/Waterloo Road deal because they had no one who could take parental responsibility for them, Audrey gave their grandfather a call.
Grandad was played by Clive Russell, who’s been in nearly everything (including Game of Thrones as Brynden Tully), but I’ll always think of him as Phil Nail, AKA Phil the Foot Fiddler, Gail Platt’s reflexologist boyfriend in Coronation Street. As far as Gail’s boyfriends go, Phil was only mildly psychopathic, but he was one of the few people I’ve seen scare the crap out of David Platt. So I wasn’t expecting him to be all cuddly and loveable. He was actually a lot more interesting than he could have been – one of these types who’s left the army, but the army’s never left him. He thought he could bring a bit of old-school discipline to new-school Waterloo Road. Let’s face it, someone had to now that Nikki Boston has her hands full coaching Kacey and doing spot checks for indecent images on mobile phones.
Grandad wouldn’t have got as far as Lisa and Lenny if Christine had had her way and protocols had been observed, but Audrey doesn’t do protocols. Instead she tiptoes apologetically around the school like someone getting to a seat in the middle of the front row at the theatre after the play has started, and causes mayhem.
It could have been worse, though. Grandad brought history alive with the aid of a hip flask (again, someone had to, as the thrilling effect of Audrey’s sword-wielding has worn off and these days she tries to bring history alive with non-functioning DVDs), Lisa ran off and got into bother in a pawn shop, Grandad offered Lenny and Lisa the chance to live with him and they said no, because they didn’t want to live in a house where an old man might expire on them at any minute so they’d rather stay with Grantly. Oh.
“All’s well that ends well,” beamed Audrey. “What’s the matter with you, Audrey?” muttered Christine, reaching for the vodka.
Meanwhile, there was trouble in paradise for soon-to-be-married Simon and Sue. When Barry Barry put up the price of doing crowd control during Sue’s lessons, she had to confess to Simon. He had a word with Barry – who gets all sweaty and creeped-out looking as soon as someone more powerful stands up to him. But has Sue’s general uselessness as a teacher meant that Simon has lost all respect for her? Give her a break, Simon. She’s still better than Audrey.
She’s possibly even better than George Windsor, who spent the episode with a post-Princess hangover and is due to spend the next six weeks having Mandarin lessons, because Christine has realised that he isn’t actually good enough to teach it, and her entire future at Waterloo Road seems to hinge on her ability to provide top-quality Mandarin lessons at her school.
Connor’s had enough of that Mandarin business, though, and has decided to do cookery instead. He has a flair for it, having had to cater for himself for years while his mother was too pissed to work the microwave.
Needing a hobby after her break-up with Kevin, Dynasty has taken on the role of manager for her sister Kacey’s boxing career. She’s “never seen Kacey so dead set on anything,” apparently, though some of us might remember when Kacey was dead set on being a boy, and that was fairly short-lived. And there was Kacey being dead set on being a footballer… but still. Dynasty has the Barry flair for business and has already set Kacey up with a match. And she’s also releasing some of her own stress with a Kevin Chalk punchbag.
Next time: Barry’s taking bets and Sue Spark is taking tranquillisers.