(Series 9, Ep.6) I suspected Grantly’s days were numbered as soon as I heard that Philip Martin-Brown and Melanie Hill were pitching up on daytime TV. It’s almost always a bad sign. Then Grantly turned up for his first day back as a teacher, looking apprehensive at first but quickly morphing from being a feckless, feet-up-on-desk, Racing Post-reading curmudgeon to being the kind of inspirational mentor figure that people fondly remember in their later years. Like Sidney Poitier in To Sir With Love, or Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. Actually, that one is particularly apt because it was a very poetical episode – in the sense that there was a lot of poetry in it.
Tom Clarkson’s legacy to Waterloo Road was, apparently, that he’d set up some kind of poetry competition. I can’t imagine Tom Clarkson would have had time for such a thing, what with running up and down corridors with his eyes filled with tears and coaching the football team and that. Anyhoo, now all that was required of Grantly was to get the kids producing a few poems and to announce a winner.
Harley, who has a bond with the miserable old git for some reason I can’t quite remember, produced a few lines which rhymed, scanned and made sense, so Grantly jumped to the reasonable conclusion that he must have copied it from th’internet. Harley went huffy and threw his masterpiece in the bin and tricked Grantly into putting a bet on Kacey Barry’s boxing prowess as revenge.
All was well that ended well (temporarily). Grantly realised that Harley’s words were genuine and retrieved them from a skip and Harley won the prize. Then, at the ceremony to crown the winner, Harley read out his poem to the whole school of regular cast members and assorted non-speaking extras. It was about Grantly – something about taking away his pain blah blah. Harley threw himself into it with the conviction and passion of Marlon Brando in Julius Caesar. Everyone was dead impressed, apart from Grantly, who was just dead. His Racing Post (poignantly purchased earlier by Harley) had symbolically fallen to the floor. #RIPgrantly #staystrongmaggie
I do apologise for not taking the death of a beloved (and the longest-serving) character seriously, but it was an extremely silly episode. While Grantly was busy discovering a passion and flair for teaching that had been completely hidden until now (apart from a brief flourish when Bolton Smiley turned up), the cash-strapped school was having a boxing ring installed so the not-properly-trained Kacey could have a match with someone who had been properly trained and was therefore likely to beat the crap out of her. Which she did. This was the cue for Kevin Chalk to start up one of his embarrassing chants.
George Windsor was busy alienating the school cleaners. So to get the school clean, and get Kacey up to fighting standard, there’s going to be a sponsored clean and every penny will go to paying for new kit for Kacey. Oh, nice prioritising, Christine. That’s a much better use of resources than the sixth form theatre trip would have been.
And Sue Spark took to drugs in an effort to get through the school day without Barry Barry’s help. I do enjoy it when Sue has a meltdown in front of the periodic table – it’s like a very feeble British remake of Breaking Bad.
Next time: Will there be a memorial tree for Grantly? Will the sponsored clean go according to plan? And how will Nikki Boston react to her daughter turning up (OMG to that one!)?