Tag Archives: holly kenny

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: 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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Waterloo Road: And the bride wore handcuffs

(Series 6, Ep.20) Another term almost over, and head teacher Karen Fisher sat back in her chair to reflect just how well the term had gone. Both her daughters, Bex and Jess, had been saved from the clutches of a nasty pornographer and son Harry seems to be over his own “issues;” the teacher who’d been caught having an affair with one of her pupils was safely on bail and awaiting trial (and motherhood); Tom Clarkson is healing nicely and is over his agoraphobia; a nasty racist incident was swiftly dealt with; Waterloo Road’s first openly gay couple are doing very well; no-one died; and, most importantly, exam results are improving, single sex classes are working, and there’s the end-of-term gender-bending pantomime to look forward to!

You could forgive her for cracking open a Bacardi Breezer and toasting a job well done, but, as devoted Waterloo Road watchers will know, the end of term is not the time to relax. It tends to be the time when Something Dreadful Happens.

It usually happens in front of a visiting dignitary as well, so perhaps it was a mistake inviting the chair of governors along to the panto. It was certainly a mistake casting Kyle Stack as Cinderfella. He may have all the dance moves (how Holly Kenny kept a straight face when George Sampson was required to execute a “seductive” body-popping routine in front of her I don’t know), but his greatest skill is in winding up Finn Sharkey. Hence the panto didn’t go at all to plan, what with Finn and Kyle going toe-to-toe over the lovely Sambuca, Kyle being dumped from the production and Sam going all “you’re not a real man” at understudy Finn during the actual performance, when she was meant to be falling for the blinged-up prince.

Jonah (you didn’t think I’d forgotten him, did you?) used the panto chaos to escape from the school and rendezvous with Cesca to head for a wedding at Gretna Green. Chris Mead almost managed to stop them, but Cesca persuaded him to wait a crucial few minutes before calling the police: “We love each other and we want to be together – is that so wrong?” “Technically, yes,” said Chris, wearing his best sorrowful “Don’t do dis” expression. Continue reading

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Waterloo Road: Cesca and Jonah – the secret is out!

(Series 6, Ep.19) The thing with Jonah Kirby is, one minute he looks like quite a plausible boyfriend for a 20-something year old teacher (saving her from scary dogs, being a lovely shoulder to cry on after a hard day, being ever so supportive generally and a bit of a hunk). Then the next minute he’s kicking a football against the wall, or scrapping with his mates, and he’s just a seventeen year-old schoolboy again.

The Jonah/Cesca romance has been interesting in that it’s seemed to be a perfectly mutual, completely genuine thing – no coercion, no power games, just a mature young man and an immature older woman getting together against the odds. Proper Romeo and Juliet stuff. Except that we knew it couldn’t last, and we knew that Cesca was very much in the wrong in letting her heart rule her head and take her into a taboo relationship with someone who was supposed to be in her care. “No-one was hurt!” she protested to Karen after everything unravelled this week. On the contrary, Karen told her, Jonah has been hurt.

He only started to understand the extent of this in this episode, as he realised that taking his girlfriend on cosy camping trips with his dad and his sister is never likely to be an option. That he may never have the glittering career that everyone predicted for Waterloo Road’s star pupil as he has to leave school early and get a McJob to support his imminent offspring. Ronan told him that Cesca looks like a woman who appreciates the finer things in life and wouldn’t find life on the dole with Jonah all that attractive. Though PLA Jr pointed out that Cesca’s mobile phone is rubbish so maybe she’s willing to settle for reduced circumstances after all.

So, considering they’ve been ever so discreet and only ever had sex in cupboards and the art room in broad daylight, how did the secret romance become public knowledge? Well, it was mainly due to that famous lack of discretion, and Chris Mead having a diploma in body language. He can spot the difference between people discussing Spanish homework and a lovers’ tiff even through a fire door. Add this to Jonah’s odd behaviour generally, and Cesca’s shock resignation (she told Karen her father had had a heart attack and she was going back to Spain, when in fact she was bound for Gretna Green and a quickie wedding with Rochdale’s most eligible schoolboy). Chris got the final proof he needed when Cesca fell off a ladder and went to hospital for a check-up, and Chris pulled back the cubicle curtain to find her in a clinch with Jonah, and after that it was a short step to Jonah’s father and the police being called and Karen wearing her very best “I’m so disappointed in you” expression (though she always seems to be smiling at the same time, which undermines it somewhat). Continue reading

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Waterloo Road: But we’ve both been so careful!

(Series 6, Ep.17) Remember what first made Spanish teacher Cesca Montoya notice schoolboy Jonah Kirby in the romantic sense? It was when he rescued her from Kyle Stack’s nasty Rottweiler. “Hola,” you could see her thinking. “He’s all buff and brave and tall and dependable-looking and serene and dazzlingly smiley and that. ¡Ay, caramba!”

What didn’t seem to be uppermost in her mind, or just fleetingly anyway, was that she’s his teacher, he’s her pupil, so basically you just don’t go there (although of course Waterloo Road has already gone there several times, what with Davina and Brett and Chris Mead and Jess). Also she didn’t factor in that, despite appearances, he’s still ever so young.

This week, Cesca started looking a bit peaky in the mornings, and you know what that means. A pregnancy test confirmed that she is, indeed, pregnant with Jonah’s baby. Kids having kids, as Jeremy Kyle would tut. Because he’s ever so young and crazy in love, Jonah thinks this is all brilliant news, and he can’t wait to find himself a job and leave school and start changing nappies, and he really can’t wait to get very drunk indeed and almost tell all his mates everything.

Luckily (or not), the scene of this drunken behaviour (and I must add that Jonah is totally adorable when drunk) was an illicit warehouse party organised by Ronan and Finn, with the express motive of getting Vicky McDonald to snog Ronan. It was successful in that respect, anyway, but went a bit pear-shaped when some dodgy blokes who owned the vodka that had been conveniently left lying around turned up and demanded compensation. Despite them looking like proper hard men, they were no match for Tom Clarkson, who has recovered from his post traumatic agoraphobia and is now perfectly capable of taking on any amount of thugs if they’re threatening Our Josh and his boyfriend.

Meanwhile, the Bex/Hodge/Jess storyline finally resolved (thank the lord). When Jess went off in Hodge’s car to see Bex, Karen and Chris Mead failed to follow them, but then Hodge got nasty and made Jess wear totally the wrong shade of lipstick for her colouring, so Bex texted the address to her mum. When Chris and Karen turned up, Jess was there but Bex and Hodge had gone. They’d only gone as far as a nearby bridge, where they were fairly easy for Karen to spot from a window, given that Hodge was hauling Bex along by her hair. Luckily a bridge is an excellent spot to form a pincer movement with police at both ends of the bridge, and the evil Hodge was finally captured. Hopefully now Bex will be able to get back to school and getting those all-important qualifications.

Several points to notice: (a) Ruth Kirby is back, having mysteriously disappeared for several episodes. Let’s hope she’ll be able to knock some of her famous common sense into her big brother. (b) Finn Sharkey and Sambuca Kelly split up and got back together again, and (c) Finn looks very good in beads. (d) The party was in broad daylight, but what do I know about young people and their ways, or indeed about the problems of night-time filming which may make filming in daytime so much easier.

Next time: Ronan in false eyelashes. A treat, I’m sure you’ll agree.

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Waterloo Road: This week’s sexist

(Series 6, Ep.16) You thought Kyle Stack was a little toe rag? Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Wayne Bodley (an impressively slimy Qasim Akhtar). Actually, ladies, you may not want to bother, since Wayne is a snivelling sexist pig. And the gentlemen may not want to bother either, for the same reason, and because Wayne is unlikely to be seen again as he seems to be this week’s one-episode wonder.

Wayne’s presence at Waterloo Road was mainly so what Bex got up to during her “lost weekend” could be spectacularly revealed. Part of Wayne’s activities as a snivelling sexist pig involve him having lots of unsuitable material on his phone, and this included a video of Bex. The bits we saw were obviously fairly innocuous, but we were given to believe that it was certainly not the sort of thing you’d want your mum, sister, little brother and the rest of the school seeing. And of course that’s exactly what happened.

Every cloud has a silver lining, though, and at least the truth coming out meant that Karen could stand by her daughter (after emoting a bit over Tom Clarkson), and Bex’s empowering speech at the Head Pupil hustings got her duly elected. To be fair the competition was poor: Ronan Burley, standing on a manifesto of bribery (with torches that didn’t work), stepped out of the contest early to give Jonah Kirby a better chance. He even printed out some leaflets with Jonah looking all buff. But Jonah was too distracted by the double burden of being in love with Ms Montoya, and having to wear a double-breasted cardigan.

Sadly Bex won’t be taking up her post, as she’s gone off with that nasty Hodge again. This is because Hodge, having slept with Bex’s sister Jess last week, now has compromising footage of Jess, which he was prepared to put on the internet if Bex didn’t go back to him. But Hodge reckoned without the cunning of Jess, who has finally worked out that the nice man who takes her to hotels and refuses to meet her family (alarm bells ringing, anyone?) is none other than the Hodge who has been threatening her sister. Hodge can expect the combined wrath of a whole load of Fisher folk descending on him… eventually.

It was a better week for Sambuca Kelly. According to PLA Jr, Sambuca is officially the luckiest girl on Waterloo Road, because she’s previously snogged Bolton Smiley, and this week got to snog Finn Sharkey. Finn has swerved from bad boy to being quite the gentleman since Kyle Stack arrived, but it took Sam a little while to notice this. Her mates had spotted that Sam had a love/hate attitude to Finn, and they proved that Tom Clarkson’s educational efforts have not been in vain by using Shakespeare to illustrate their point. “Beatrice always gurs on about how much she hates Benedict,” said Lauren.

Next time: Who’s the daddy? Is it that lad in the double-breasted cardigan? Uh-oh.

Posted by PLA               (more Waterloo Road here)

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Waterloo Road: Karen Fisher – thick or what?

(Series 6, Ep.15) The thing about headmistress Karen Fisher is that she doesn’t listen. People (her family, mainly) start to tell her things, important things, and she changes the subject, cuts them off, thinks they’re talking about something else. She’s completely preoccupied with her own stuff, and those around her suffer. So this week the person who probably suffers most of all, son Harry, took it upon himself to cause a bit of mayhem by taking her phone and using it to send messages to her colleagues at the school. By lucky coincidence – or else he’s a Machiavellian genius – his emails were all perfectly designed to unsettle their recipients. For example Ms Montoya received an ominous note telling her that a grave matter had come to Karen’s attention. Cesca naturally thought this must mean her relationship with Jonah had been rumbled – unthinkable, as they’re so discreet. No-one will notice anything as long as it occurs in the bike shed, the art room that is always mysteriously empty, or the cleaning cupboard. Actually, since they only had a caretaker for a day, and they don’t seem to have school cleaners, there’s probably not a lot of use for that cleaning cupboard.

The messages Ruby Fry and others got had them so upset that Grantly Budgen summoned a union rep, and it was all a good chance for people to tell Karen what they thought of her. Everything got sorted out eventually, and Karen and Harry had a mother/son bonding moment on the stairs and went out for that classic peace-making snack, the pizza.

Meanwhile, as Karen sorted out the problems of her youngest child, middle child Jess was checking into a hotel room with the sleazy Hodge, who is using her to get at sister Bex. It’s going to take more than a pizza to sort that lot out.

The plan of segregating boys and girls in lessons is not going well, with the boys falling even further behind. Even a cunning scheme to motivate the boys by getting a local businessman in to run a kind of Dragons Den workshop ended in humiliation for Kyle Stack and a small invasion by the girls, led by Sambuca Kelly, who were angry that they’d been left out. Sadly the best invention they could come up with was a dating website. I know it’s worked well for Sarah Beeny, but honestly, girls, there’s more to life than romance, particularly when Jonah Kirby is already taken, Bolton Smiley has left, Josh Stevenson is gay and Kyle Stack is thick and unpleasant. That only leaves a choice of Ronan Burley and Finn Sharkey, and even if they concentrate full-time on romance it’s not going to be enough to keep a dating site busy.

Grantly Budgen and Ruby Fry went on a date, in the sense that they arranged to have lunch together and Grantly said “It’s a date,” as you do. But when Janeece told Ruby that she thought Grantly fancied her, Ruby went all awkward and made a huge point of telling Grantly how much she loved her husband and how she soooooo wasn’t looking for a relationship. After her little racist blip last week, Ruby was back on form, and I hope that this little double-act with Grantly keeps going because it’s very funny.

Next time: We find out what Bex did in her two-year lost weekend when pictures are discovered on the internet. And she wasn’t backpacking in Thailand.

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