(Series 10, ep.18) The appearance of Ianto Jones off of Torchwood at the end of this episode has finally made sense of ten series’ worth of barmy madness. Waterloo Road is the centre of an alien invasion! Most of the staff and pupils are humanoid(ish) visitors from other worlds! There was another clue in this episode when New Marco told his science class that extra-terrestrial life was a “mathematical certainty.” Thank heavens that Torchwood are finally on the case (though I seem to recall that Ianto Jones is technically dead…). Continue reading
Tag Archives: caitlin gillespie
(Series 10, ep.5) Waterloo Road has always been founded on a passionate belief that “these kids” deserve the very best education. They deserve to reach for the stars, ain’t no mountain high enough and any number of inspirational cliches. It’s what head teachers from Jack Rimmer through to Christine Mulgrew via Karen Fisher have sweated to achieve.
Vaughan Fitzgerald, the current incumbent of the swivel chair of power, is a bit different. He apparently thinks that too much hard work is bad for kids, who should be turning themselves into well-rounded individuals via the medium of not doing too much of that tedious revision. “Exams shouldn’t be the tail that wags the school dog,” he announced confusingly, just as exam papers were being handed out. Continue reading
(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. Continue reading
(Series 10, ep.2) In the parallel universe of Waterloo Road, it’s a perfectly normal idea to throw open the doors of your school to anyone who wants to wander in and make it into a “community hub.” Why not throw in a helpline so that people can ring you and ask for tasks to be performed – cleaning, DIY, whatever. If only somebody at Waterloo Road had absorbed the lessons of the various Mentoring Initiatives or the Apprentice Initiative, they’d have raised a few practical questions, the funding of the free tea and biscuits being the least of them. If Grantly Budgen (RIP) had still been around, he’d have at least had a good grumble about it all, but apart from George Windsor, everybody else was thrilled with the scheme. Continue reading
(Series 9, Ep.10) I’ve absolutely loved this term at Waterloo Road. There were so many barking mad highlights – the magic mushrooms, the Mandarin teacher who spoke Mandarin less well than Kevin Chalk, Grantly Budgen being poetried to death, Kacey’s boxing ambitions, Verruca’s unfortunate selfies, Barry keeping Sue Spark’s pupils in check… it’s been eventful. I even forgot to miss Tom Clarkson most of the time.
Christine Mulgrew has been an excellent head, partly because she’s a rubbish head (if she was really good at it, half the mad incidents would never occur), but mainly because I look at her and I actually believe in her as a head teacher in a way I haven’t believed in a Waterloo Road head teacher since the sainted Jack Rimmer. George Windsor and Nikki Boston have been an excellent support, and I’ve enjoyed the story arc that’s seen Simon go from being a creepy, careerist little worm to being a more humble team player.
And above all else I’ve loved the Barrys: matriarch Carol marching up the slope at the front of the school to shout at people; Dynasty with her kind heart and performing eyelashes; Kacey and her beautifully expressive, vulnerable face; and Barry, the petty criminal whose arrogant swagger is mainly front.
This end-of-term episode saw Kacey about to set forth to America to spend a term at boxing camp, all paid for by the school’s fundraising efforts. But all the money mysteriously vanished and Kacey’s dreams were in tatters. Barry was there with a comforting shoulder to cry on. “You can’t trust this lot here, Kace, they’re full of it,” said Barry, but he’s never going to be a criminal mastermind because he let slip that he knew the money had gone – before Kacey had told him. Continue reading
(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. Continue reading
(Series 9, Ep.4) Dynasty Barry’s makeup skills are legendary. She once made Emo Imogen look a bit less emo and a bit more like she had a circulatory system, just with the judicious application of a spot of blusher. Week in, week out she flies the flag for the Superdrug makeup counter by wearing the entire range of Girls Aloud false eyelashes, from the Cheryl to the Nicola, at the same time.
So when Verruca Salt wanted a makeover for a party, who was she gonna call? Dynasty did her best, she really did, but at the end of her efforts the Great Reveal revealed – Verruca looking more or less the same as she had five minutes earlier, but a bit more thrilled.
This was the cue for possibly the most ludicrous scene I’ve ever seen on Waterloo Road (and that’s saying a lot) as Verruca sashayed down the corridor with people swooning to the left and the right like she was in some kind of musical theatre production.
Are we supposed to like Verruca? I think the writers want us to like her (they give her a lot of screen time), but she just doesn’t project any likeability at all. This meant that the storyline of her being tricked into taking “candid” selfies for a boy who took an interest in her only moments before and then finding them turning up on every phone in the school fell completely flat. It’s a real issue – something similar happened at PLA Jr’s school – and I should have felt sympathy for Verruca, but I just wanted to give her a slap. Continue reading