(Series 9, Ep.11) In an ever-changing world, it’s very reassuring when some things stay the same. It’s so comforting to know that, even though it’s now a Scottish school and has an almost entirely new staff group, Waterloo Road still has time for our old friend the Controversial New Initiative.
This one – codename Resilience Education – was introduced via the medium of a simulated terrorist attack during school assembly, complete with fake tear gas and a masked intruder who’d locked everyone into the school hall. Scary! It was lucky that the school has its own have-a-go-hero in the form of ex-army officer Nikki Boston, and it was lucky for the fake terrorist that the baseball bat she whacked him with was also fake.
Was this all some dastardly plot by Pious Kim Campbell to traumatise the students so much that they’d need the resources of the top name in pastoral care to help them get over it? No, it was all dreamed up by Simon Losely and new PE teacher Hector Reid, who’d been on a course called RAW – Resilience At Work, apparently.
Simon had got such a lot out of that course – chiefly a massive crush on Hector, judging by the way he was behaving. Hector was a total twonk, who called Simon “Si” and employed catchphrases like “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
Meanwhile, what would the start of a new term be without the arrival of a Troubled New Pupil? This one was called Gabriella Wark and she looked like the pale ghost child of Lorraine Donnegan. The first thing she did was to kiss Connor, which shows excellent instincts – he’s the prettiest boy in the school, he can cook, and if she’d have kissed Kevin Chalk, Dynasty would have had her eyeballs for earrings.
It was only the start of Gabriella’s mischief-making, though. She got sent to the cooler twice even before lunch – once for driving a car in circles around the playground, which regular viewers will know happens so often on WR that they should have a zebra crossing installed. Gabriella was so cheeky to the teachers that it got to the point where the cooler wasn’t cool enough for her. Maybe they should have a room called the Coolest for the very worst behaviour. It all ended up with her taking her shirt off when almost alone with Hector Reid, because Hector is apparently “fit” in every sense of the word and not just PE-wise. I say “almost alone” because Verruca Salt was peeping through the porthole of the gym, which tells you practically all you need to know about Verruca.
That kind of behaviour (Gabriella’s, not Verruca’s) obviously points to trouble at home, and Christine Mulgrew very soon got to the bottom of it. Gabriella’s parents (and Gabriella herself) blamed her for an accident that happened when she was much younger, when her little sister was killed by a car.
So once they got that sorted out, Gabriella would either settle down and become a normal(ish) pupil or vanish without a trace to make way for the next student-with-issues, yes? Christine thought so. All working together, they’d turn her life round, she promised. “Waterloo Road isn’t perfect, but most of the time it works,” she said. She must be referring to the times when we aren’t watching. Gabriella smiled sweetly and went off to stalk Hector Reid, who’d gone for a refreshing post-Resilience pint with his new colleagues.
The poor girl is under the impression that Hector and Nikki Boston are together, but she couldn’t be further from the truth on that one. After giving his scarf a heartening sniff (he wasn’t wearing it – he’d left it with his motorbike) she keyed Nikki’s car anyway.
Nikki (who has a clown car ringtone on her phone) will probably be less upset about that than she would normally be, because (a) at least the car hasn’t been put up for sale on eBay by Barry Barry (I miss him!) and (b) she’s all in love with Sue Spark’s sister Vix. Vix and Nix. Bless.
The only other development was that Connor has been invited to work in the famous restaurant of famous restaurant person Cookie Crumbles (or something like that). The problem is, it’s in That London. If he takes up the offer and leaves us for the allure of the bright lights, at least we’ll have the memory of him wearing nothing but a wee apron to keep us entertained.
Next time: Oh, deepest of joy! Carol Barry gets a job at Waterloo Road as a dinner lady. One Barry=good. Two Barrys=better. Barry Barry=best (but sadly absent).