(Series 10, ep.4) That was possibly one of the most uncomfortable hours of television viewing I’ve had in my life. It was basically just 60 minutes of watching a girl getting bullied by her peers and her teachers alike, and it was so relentlessly grim I had to check the credits to see if it was directed by Ken Loach.
I don’t know whether we were supposed to feel that the bullying was in some way justified because the victim was Gabriella Wark, who’s rich and superior and used to get her kicks trying (rather pathetically) to seduce Hector Reid and broke Kacey Barry’s arm by knocking her off a climbing wall. Even so, the level of nastiness against her was just horrible – culminating in the bedroom of her late sister being trashed by Lisa and Shaznay and Gabriella almost drowning for the second time in the episode (the first one a water-boarding incident in the school toilets – not the first time this has been used on Gabriella). The only redeeming feature of the storyline was the acting of Naomi Battrick as Gabriella and Brogan Ellis as Kacey. Both of them are stunning actors with incredible presence.
I suppose I should also praise the acting of the people who play Lisa and Shaznay (Caitlin Gillespie and Je’taime Morgan Hanley) – they managed to make their characters seem totally despicable, which is an effort in itself.
It’s not like there was much fun to be had anywhere else. Sue Twinkle-Spark and Hector Reid took time off from being horrible to Gabriella (or being very unprofessional in ignoring/condoning the bullying) and had an illicit snog in the school minibus. It seems that Hector Reid only finds people attractive if they’re already in a relationship, as he previously almost split up Nikki Boston and Sue’s sister Vix, so you’d think Sue would be a bit more wary. They’d just better not break the heart of Simon Twinkle-Spark, because that would be like kicking a puppy.
The somewhat dreary Vaughan Fitzgerald and his dreary sons (I’m still hoping Leo has hidden depths, but Justin – just no) went to visit the dreary Mrs Fitzgerald in her swanky private clinic and Mrs F and the boys are very hopeful that Vaughan can be prised from the arms of Allie and her pleather trousers and floaty tops. Justin also seems intent on getting at Allie via her daughter Tiffany, who never stops smiling and thinks Justin is lovely. He’s not.