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Waterloo Road: Be careful with Beyoncé!

rhiannon waterloo road(Series 10, ep.3)  I found the main story in this week’s Waterloo Road really sad. Verruca Salt, a girl with pitifully low self esteem (me calling her Verruca probably wouldn’t help, so it’s Rhiannon from now on) had a virtual baby to look after and, bless her, it looked to be just about as much fun as she’s ever had in her life. Taking to virtual baby motherhood like a duck to water, Rhiannon took beautiful care of “Beyoncé” and even enjoyed talking to her as she wheeled her to school. She was probably only a whisker away from putting Beyoncé’s name down for nursery and arranging to have her vaccinations done.

It was all the more poignant because she thought she was really pregnant, and was harbouring visions of herself and Darren (the father) and a real Beyoncé (not the real Beyoncé – that would be implausible) living in domestic harmony.   Continue reading

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Waterloo Road: Dynasty seals Barry’s fate

dynasty waterloo road(Series 9, ep.18)  We know that Dynasty Barry is most certainly not the first Barry to have been interviewed by the police, but she’s the first one who’s been interviewed by them for a job and not as a suspect. However, despite doing probably the best interview they’ve ever seen (watching the elegant way she dealt with all the questions, I was thinking that scene should really be shown in schools to help future job-seekers), she was still haunted by being a Barry, as the woman interviewing her knew about her dad, who is currently banged up for armed robbery.

The key question (apart from the diversity one, which Dynasty handled beautifully by saying she had a sister who’d once contemplated a sex change, and that hadn’t thrown her) was whether she’d be able to arrest a member of her family. Dynasty had a little think – the question was rather less hypothetical for her than it would be for most people – and the answer was a resolute yes.   Continue reading

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Waterloo Road: There’s a riot on the roof of the school!

lula waterloo road(Series 9, ep.17) The issue of immigration, both legal and illegal, has been addressed more than once on Waterloo Road, and deportation of illegal immigrants has also featured, most recently with the character of Ndale. This time the situation was addressed differently, because the person due to be deported was fairly long-time cast member Lula Tsibi.

Most of the episode was, predictably, as mad as a box of frogs. Any situation which gives Audrey McFall the chance to get fired up with righteous fervour gets my vote, and in this she was prancing about, eyes sparkling as she announced that this time they would be “making history, not studying it.” I expected her to start brandishing her souvenir sword in an inspirational manner, but sadly she didn’t – she had her hands full with handing out marker pens to make placards and phoning the local press.   Continue reading

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Waterloo Road: Fresh from a funeral to a fun day of learning

connor maggie waterloo road(Series 9, Ep.7)  Grantly was given a fitting and dignified send-off, which would have been slightly less dignified if Harley had dropped his side of the coffin. Luckily Nikki Boston was on hand to help, because it could have been nasty. It wasn’t really fair to ask upset schoolboys to carry the precious remains anyway. Harley would have been better deployed giving an emotional reprise of his deadly poem from last week. As it was, the only speech was delivered by Maggie, who proudly announced that she and Grantly had been blessed with a wonderful family consisting of Harley, Verruca Salt and Tariq, who’d turned up to pay his respects and do some PE coaching. He’s a multi-tasker, that lad.

As soon as the crematorium curtains closed it was back to school and business as usual. It’s what Grantly would have wanted, because he wasn’t lazy and feckless at all – at least, not during his last day at work.

nikki waterloo roadAnd it was definitely looking like a routine sort of day when a never-seen-before Troubled Teen peered through the school railings. This happens practically on a weekly basis and sometimes their problems are dealt with in one episode and they’re never seen again, and sometimes they get moved into the school-house and stay for a while. Eve, however, was not looking for Education, she was looking for her mother. Nikki Boston. Yes, I was shocked too, but not as shocked as Nikki was (though Nikki wasn’t as shocked as Tom Clarkson was when he heard his sperm had been stolen and Our Josh was the result – at least Nikki had been aware of Eve’s conception and birth). Eventually it came out that Nikki had been all in favour of having an abortion, and only agreed to go through with the birth on the understanding that Eve’s father would bring her up (this, coincidentally,  also happens in my novel Two’s Company, though obviously not to Nikki Boston).

I’ve got to give massive praise to Heather Peace for the way she acted the scenes with Eve, and especially the scene in the car after Eve had left. I’m always amazed when an actor can show such massive vulnerability as to be able to snot-cry on camera. I also have to say that Nikki looked really pretty in this episode, despite the purple sports/leisure wear.   Continue reading

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Waterloo Road: Grantly Budgen poetried to death

grantly waterloo road(Series 9, Ep.6)  I suspected Grantly’s days were numbered as soon as I heard that Philip Martin-Brown and Melanie Hill were pitching up on daytime TV. It’s almost always a bad sign. Then Grantly turned up for his first day back as a teacher, looking apprehensive at first but quickly morphing from being a feckless, feet-up-on-desk, Racing Post-reading curmudgeon to being the kind of inspirational mentor figure that people fondly remember in their later years. Like Sidney Poitier in To Sir With Love, or Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. Actually, that one is particularly apt because it was a very poetical episode – in the sense that there was a lot of poetry in it.

grantly barry waterloo roadTom Clarkson’s legacy to Waterloo Road was, apparently, that he’d set up some kind of poetry competition. I can’t imagine Tom Clarkson would have had time for such a thing, what with running up and down corridors with his eyes filled with tears and coaching the football team and that. Anyhoo, now all that was required of Grantly was to get the kids producing a few poems and to announce a winner.

Harley, who has a bond with the miserable old git for some reason I can’t quite remember, produced a few lines which rhymed, scanned and made sense, so Grantly jumped to the reasonable conclusion that he must have copied it from th’internet. Harley went huffy and threw his masterpiece in the bin and tricked Grantly into putting a bet on Kacey Barry’s boxing prowess as revenge.   Continue reading

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Waterloo Road: The return of the giant broccoli

waterloo road(Series 8, Ep.21)  Back we go to Waterloo Road, refreshed after the holidays. Sian Diamond has gone, and Cockney Lorraine has replaced her as Deputy Head with girlfriend Nikki Boston. It is her school, after all, so she doesn’t have to go through boring stuff like a proper recruitment procedure. Though Lorraine’s accountant has spotted that there’s not a lot of money to be made in a school (unless you’re Barry Barry and have sidelines in drugs and nicked cars) and has advised her to dump it. Lorraine, however, isn’t just in it for the money. She has a Vision, and like Michael Byrne she wants to do her best for the people they both insist on referring to as These Kids. If it comes down to a contest between These Kids and her Ferrari, though, she’s going to have a tough decision on her hands.

Grantly Budgen needs a new kidney, and Maggie the Dinner Lady isn’t a suitable match. He is therefore currently undergoing regular dialysis at home, which is the front bedroom of the boarding house for troublesome teens. As if the troublesome teens don’t have enough to worry about already.

The thing worrying Connor and Emo Imogen is how Jane Beale is going to take the news that they’re already married. They weren’t the most worried pupils this week, though. That would be problem-pupil-of-the-week Fergal Doherty, pursued by the father of his ex girlfriend who died of something drugs-related, and making ends meet by getting Harley off his head on something potent and unspecified. Dear, innocent Harley was only saved from a long drop off the school roof by the swift intervention of someone the teacher with the pointy face picked up in Africa.

Kacey Barry, meanwhile, has decided she wants to be called Robbie (“Robbie Barry” has a certain swagger to it, I agree) and use the boys’ toilets. Barry’s not happy about this, and Tom Clarkson has suggested the unisex teachers’ toilets as a compromise. I’m not sure who the unisex teachers are, but it’s kind of them to let Robbie/Kacey use their toilets.

The most exciting thing for me this week was spotting that there’s a giant sculpture of broccoli (and other veg) above the canteen door. It was only glimpsed briefly, but from now on I’m going to be on broccoli-watch to see if it reappears again. It would have gone so nicely with the W of pie from Series 6.

Posted by PLA          (More Waterloo Road here)

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