Tag Archives: amanda burton

Waterloo Road: Long live WR!

(Series 7, Ep.10) Whenever I think of Chris Mead, I shall picture him bounding like a young gazelle across Formby sands in pursuit of Finn and Amy. It was a magnificent feat of athleticism, and one which he reprised in the final episode of this term, as he jogged gamely along the platform at Manchester Piccadilly Station to save Scout and Our Little Liam from evil drug dealer types. Not a hair out of place. Breathtaking. Scout, however, was less impressed. She didn’t want to go into “curr.” She curred so much about not going into curr that she made Denzil swurr not to tell anyone that she was planning to take Liam, a fistful of drugs money and a packed lunch to That London on a train. But Denzil is a curring type of lad and he’s seen the documentaries, so he told Chris what was going on.

Chris’s hasty departure from the school premises in pursuit was badly timed for Karen, who was busy trying to impress school inspector Alison (Tracy-Ann Obermann). Throw in Finn, Josh, Amy and Lauren taking a turn around the school car park in Tom Clarkson’s car, via the cycling proficiency class helmed by nervous cyclist Daniel Chalk, and you have all the makings of what most school inspectors would term “failure.” “Your deputy head just seriously undermined your authority, minutes after four of your pupils were caught joyriding,” summed up Inspector Alison. Put that way, it didn’t sound good.   Continue reading


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Waterloo Road: From now on, it’s strictly professional

(Series 7, Ep.9) Last night’s Waterloo Road reminded me of an episode (any episode) of Brothers & Sisters, where everyone starts off promising they “won’t tell Mom,” and five minutes later somebody tells Mom and all hell breaks loose.

Chris Mead didn’t promise he wouldn’t tell his mom anything, but he did promise Karen that he’d be on his best behaviour, and in particular he’d steer clear of any contact with Scout that wasn’t classroom-related. “From now on, it’s strictly professional,” he told his boss. But that was before Scout’s feckless mother (Lisa Riley) decided to have a bit of “me time” by leaving Scout and her three year old brother to fend for themselves while she went on holiday with her latest bloke. Scout couldn’t risk not going to school, so she left little Liam parked in front of In The Night Garden while she went off to do some gardening herself, courtesy of a community initiative overseen by Kelly Crabtree from Corrie (Tupele Dorgu, whom I would love to see joining Waterloo Road on a permanent basis).

Scout wasn’t the only reluctant gardener with thoughts elsewhere. Eleanor Chaudery, who’d been co-opted because a female staff member was needed, was completely out of her comfort zone in wellies. She was a troubled soul, too – it seems that enjoying the pleasures of Tom Clarkson had made her rethink the way she’d been telling tales about Karen to the Slimeball from the local authority.   Continue reading


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Waterloo Road: Scout’s honour


(Series 7, Ep.9)  If doctors make the worst patients, then surely teachers make the worst pupils. Has Chris Mead not learned anything, either from his own life or anyone else’s? Look at the mess he got into trying to help out Vicki when she was pole dancing. Look at the mess Cesca Montoya got into when she confiscated drugs and didn’t tell anyone. Look at how cross Karen got with him for not sharing his concerns over the mysterious Evie.

But he’s got a heart of gold, has our Chris. If we hadn’t seen the inside of his flat for ourselves, when Jess was trying to re-seduce him, I would picture it stuffed full of stray kittens and other unwanted pets. He’s one of life’s born rescuers. This week he tried to rescue Josie “Scout” Allen, she of the unwashed hair and aptitude for maths. It turns out that the unwashed hair etc (but probably not the aptitude for maths) is because she lives with a feckless lump of a mother who is happy for her to supplement the family income by being a drugs courier. And having a paper round.   Continue reading


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Waterloo Road: That boy needs neutering

(Series 7, Ep.7) Sambuca Kelly’s time at Waterloo Road will not be forgotten, as she’s been given a beautiful memorial of a little tree with a tupperware box of pens buried beneath it. They were her pens. Sniff. Poor little Denzil has taken to carrying her bright pink hoodie around in his bag (it smells of her), but it was appropriated by a new girl, Scout (Katie McGlynn). We know Scout is trouble because she has greasy hair and she’s good at maths. Both of these attributes make her stick out a mile in a school where you can slump glassy-eyed in front of Grantly Budgen all day long, but you must have shiny hair while you do it.

In a scenario which would have Jeremy Kyle frothing at the mouth and spitting out the words “Why didn’t you put something on the end of it?” every five minutes, Aiden Scotcher has succeeded in getting not one, but two of his fellow classmates pregnant, apparently in the same week. It’s not the first time he’s done it, either – we’re led to believe that this is why he left his previous school.

He may be firing on all cylinders in the reproductive department, but as a person he’s a cringeing, oily little worm who runs crying to his mummy when he messes up. When Vicki told him she was pregnant, his first question was “Is it mine?” Her reply was that she and Ronan were “always careful,” which I think sums up the contrast between Aiden and Ronan nicely. Not only is Ronan always careful, but even though Vicki has broken his heart he was still willing to take the fall for her when Aiden stole an exam paper so she wouldn’t fail it.  Continue reading


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Waterloo Road: Every day’s just another last time


(Series 7, Ep.6) I write this through a fog of tears, having just watched last night’s episode. Oh my good lord, that was emotional. My usual defence mechanism when it comes to sad things on  telly or films is to picture the actors all surrounded by camera people and sound people and so on, but I got so absorbed in Sam’s story that I forgot to do that. The result is not a pretty sight.

My cynical side should really have been spending the time ticking off the cliches: final visit to the seaside; attempting to bequeath your boyfriend to your best friend so they can share their grief; going to a funfair and actually winning a cuddly toy; realising that your biological father isn’t as important as the man who’s always there for you and who loves you. But my cynical side wasn’t working, and I’m filling up again, because it was all played out with such sincerity and sensitivity by the main players, and of course particularly Holly Kenny, who’s been an absolute star as Sam.

Her death was gentle and quiet and happened while Rose held her and Tom dozed next to them. “It’s okay – she’s alright,” said Rose. “She’s alright now.” “I fell asleep,” said Tom. “Oh, so did she, Tom. She just went.”

Oh-oh. I’m going again. Let’s move swiftly on to the light relief, which was happily provided by Jodie Prenger (of I’d Do Anything fame) playing Linda, a PR lady Karen had drafted in to try and rebrand the school. “Whoever said you can’t polish a turd hasn’t met me,” she pronounced. She proceeded to try and polish the turd that is Waterloo Road by taking lots of carefully edited photographs. The Lovely Josh was deemed a bit too spotty to feature. “Hormones don’t sell,” Linda told Karen, who replied in her best frosty-knickers voice, “It’s a secondary school. Hormones live here.” Karen wasn’t happy with Linda’s make-believe portrayal of the school, particularly as she’d decided to feature caretaker Rob Scotcher as the face of the school: “Handsome! Dynamic! Trustworthy!” And back with his wife, presumably dashing Karen’s hopes of romance.

Meanwhile, horrible Miss Chaudery had called in the man from the education department, who is not happy with Karen spending money on PR people, and with her dallying with the site manager.

Next time: It’s the circle of life, isn’t it? This week we lose Sambuca, and next week it looks like nearly everyone is hearing the pitter patter of tiny feet. And I don’t mean Janeece in a new pair of heels.

Posted by PLA          (more Waterloo Road here)


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Waterloo Road: The mystery girl and the mystery woman

(Series 7, Ep.4) A bit of a mixed episode, this. A large chunk of it was taken up with one of these stand-alone stories where you know you’re never going to see the character again, so it’s hard to care. There are exceptions to this, such as the brilliantly-done story of a boy who wanted to become a girl from a few weeks back. Last night’s wasn’t anywhere in the same league.

Evie was a mystery girl – we knew that Evie wasn’t her real name, and we saw a man coaching her about how to respond if people started asking too many questions about her. My guess was witness protection, but it turned out that Evie had drowned her five year old cousin. She’d done the crime, done the time, and was now being reinserted into society without society being made aware of who she was.

Chris Mead found out after about five minutes, but decided not to tell anyone, then when Evie threw a strop and almost strangled Finn (he didn’t actually appear to be in any danger), Karen discovered what Chris knew, and got all tetchy about it. I could hear Pious Kim Campbell’s voice in my head muttering, “We should have been on top of child murderers!” Karen spent the rest of the shift calming down irate and upset parents.

So far so meh. In between all this, ongoing plots were nicely going on, and, to be fair, the Evie story did shed some additional light on some of them. On what a totally rubbish teacher Eleanor Chaudery is, for one thing. And indeed what a rubbish school Waterloo Road is in the way they handle new pupils. After a quick pep talk about how lovely and friendly the school was, Chris Mead despatched Evie “upstairs” to find her first lesson. Could he not have gone with her? Could they not have appointed a buddy to look after her till she settled in? Instead she was left to face a double bitchy onslaught from Amy and Lauren who thought she was moving in on Finn (she was) in Sam’s absence, and she was publicly humiliated by the incompetent Miss Chaudery.   Continue reading


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Waterloo Road: Heartbreaker

(Series 7, Ep.3) My usual approach to writing about Waterloo Road is to be all flippant and (ideally) amusing about it. Do they not know how hard they’re making it for me at the moment? It’s very tricky to be F and A when a beloved character has been smitten by a terminal illness. So let’s get the serious stuff dealt with first. This week, Sambuca Kelly discovered that her brain tumour is incurable. She didn’t find this out from her mum (who already knew and couldn’t think of a way to tell her) or Tom Clarkson (who knew but was too busy ringing round hospitals trying to find someone who just might have a cure that no-one else had thought of). She did a bit of research on the internet then took herself off to the hospital to ask her consultant which of the many pills she was on was going to shrink her tumour. He told her the truth – none of them would. She was dying. Holly Kenny is playing this difficult role with astonishing skill, maturity and honesty. Every tiny emotion is there on her face, and it’s quite heartbreaking.

Talking of heartbreaking, what is Vicki McDonald playing at? She was proposed to in front of the whole school (well, a representative selection of regulars and extras, anyway) by the magnificent Ronan Burley. It was all very romantic, with Grantly summing up the joyous mood:  “The countdown to teen pregnancy and messy divorce starts now.” Continue reading

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Waterloo Road: Weepy Wednesday

(Series 7, Ep.2) It’s 7.30pm on a Wednesday evening. You’ve had your dinner, done the washing up, homework is finished, everyone’s winding down nicely and settling down for an evening’s telly. And what does Waterloo Road decide to hit you with? A young girl with her life apparently ahead of her, being told that she has a brain tumour and the outlook isn’t good. So you’re already tugging that box of tissues closer to your chair just in case. Then, to pile on the agony, they throw in the story of a boy who’s always felt that he was really a girl, whose predicament makes him bullied, lonely, misunderstood and suicidal.

Then somehow it doesn’t turn into the misery-fest it could have done. Somehow it turns into a story of people coming to terms with the hard realities of their lives and deciding they won’t give up and give in, but that they’ll face it, no matter how hard “it” gets. And people are there to help them.

And somehow, even that doesn’t turn out as mawkish as I’m making it sound. It’s not one of those golden-sunset, soaring-strings endings from a TV movie on the True Movies channel. It’s Rose Kelly getting bladdered on vodka and Tom Clarkson having to sober her up and give her a pep talk about how it’s time to finally be the parent to her kids and be a support to Sam as she goes through her treatment. It’s Josh Stevenson trying to talk to gender-confused Martin and being knocked back because Martin isn’t gay; Chris Mead trying to talk to Martin about the problems of being a normal, hormone-filled lad, and being knocked back because Martin never has felt like a “lad” and never will.      Continue reading


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Waterloo Road news: New leadership team


Hot on the heels of the disappointing announcement of Amanda Burton’s decision to quit, it has been revealed that Waterloo Road is also set to lose Chris Mead at the end of the current run of ten episodes.

According to Digital Spy and Wikipedia, Chris will depart in episode ten of this series, the same episode which will see the back of Karen Fisher.

Now, we know that Waterloo Road has a naughty little habit of writing out characters without any explanation, but my hopes are high that Chris and Karen will get a proper ending, seeing as they are such pinnacle characters.

Of course, their departures leave vacancies for a brand new head and deputy, which will call in yet another era of the school.

What would you like to see from the new leadership team and who might play them? Are you sad to see the back of Karen and Chris? Leave all your thoughts below, as always.

On a final note, I must also add that I thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s episode. It was the level of drama that Waterloo Road has been lacking of late. I’m glad to see that this series is really upping it’s game. PLA, as always, will have a full and detailed review very soon.

Posted by Our Man In the North


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Waterloo Road: Back to school shocks

(Series 7, Ep.1) Waterloo Road started a new, 30 week, run last night at an earlier time slot than usual. The 7.30pm start was presumably to try and hook in some new viewers who haven’t been exposed to the delights of our favourite dysfunctional secondary school before.

Anyone who did tune in could have been forgiven for being slightly traumatised come 8.30. Indeed PLA Jr has announced her intention of spending the next few years “wrapped in bubblewrap,” as she now feels that being a teenager is just too fraught with danger.

But before we get on to that, what seasoned WR viewers want to know is who’s in and who’s out. Well, Cesca Montoya, Ruby Fry and Adina Lawal are out on the staff side. New teachers for this term are Eleanor Chaudry (Poppy Jhakra, previously seen on Corrie), who is a fierce, no-nonsense Tory who takes no crap from stroppy teenagers or softies like Tom Clarkson (a shame, this, as he’s her head of department).

Her polar opposite is Daniel Chalk the maths teacher (Mark Benton), the sort of teacher who practically has “kick me” written on his forehead. He’s been taken under the wing of new staff member number three. Robson Green (for it is he, playing Rob Scotcher) may just be an ‘umble caretaker (or “site supervisor” to give him his proper title), but he apparently knows more about teaching than you can shake a stick at. I don’t think I’m going to get very good odds for my bet that he’ll end up being promoted from the cleaning cupboard to the staffroom before very many weeks have passed. Talking of that cleaning cupboard, the Polish caretaker last term had only a small closet as his domain, but Rob Scotcher (will anyone call him “Hop”?) enjoys a bigger room than most of the classrooms to keep his bottles of Jeyes Fluid and his power tools and to flirt with Mrs Fisher (it’s time Karen had a bit of love interest, and obviously Chris Mead is out – that would be too spooky, what with Jess and all).      Continue reading


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