(Series 8, Ep. 20) What did I love about this episode? Against expectations, I loved the wedding – particularly the part when Connor busted out his sign language moves. I’d completely forgotten that Imogen is deaf (or partly deaf), so it was unexpected but completely appropriate, touching and beautiful. It even made Emo Imogen genuinely smile.
I also loved the acting of Katie McGlynn as Jodie/Scout. Her useless mother died, and Jodie’s reaction was to go straight to school to sit her exam, so she could get a place at university and become a teacher and try to inspire and support kids the way the Waterloo Road staff have inspired and supported her over the years. I know – snarf at that last bit, since she spent most of this term being bullied by Nikki Boston. But we’ll forget all that for the sake of a happy ending for Scout, as we see her leave Waterloo Road for the bright lights of university. Or Coronation Street. Continue reading
(Series 8, Ep. 19) I tweeted earlier this week that whoever thought of Barry Barry’s name was a genius. It’s memorable, it’s funny and it instantly labels him as Somebody. It describes him and defines him – everything he does is about not only living up to being A Barry, it’s about living up to being The Barry.
So when Sian went against him in supporting Kacey about her gender issues, Barry just couldn’t let it go. She’d also insulted his male ego by calling him a boy, so his revenge had a sexual element. Actually, it could have been a lot worse – he broke into her flat and managed to creep around fairly easily while she was in her underwear and in the shower – but Barry Barry isn’t evil and he has his own moral code, so all he did was to steal a photograph of Sian and Michael Byrne kissing, and a pair of her knickers.
After that it was a simple matter of taunting her – which Barry does most effectively. Because she wouldn’t be working at Waterloo Road if she had anything resembling teaching skills, she handled the sudden appearance of the photo all around the school all wrong by trying to humiliate him in a sex ed class, but it was Sian who ended up getting most wound up and she slapped him. Hard. Continue reading
I like Strictly. It’s the comfort food of Saturday night telly. A glitzy, sequined, orange spray-tanned shepherds pie of a programme. Many people have put a huge amount of physical effort into training for it, but all you need to do as a viewer is watch. Slouching on your sofa, drink in hand, taking the piss. And bitching with other Twitter folk about how much the wardrobe department must hate Tess.
This year, we’re all keeping an eye on Darcey Bussell as the new judge. She’s undoubtedly knowledgeable on dance but her first appearance was marred by (presumably nerve-driven) repetitions of a horsey “Yah?” to every contestant, but that have fortunately stopped now. Perhaps because Craig is sticking pins into her leg under the table.
In the order of things, he and Len have been separated by the Bussell this year, which means Len is the person who gets slapped in the face by Bruno’s histrionic arm movements (which is actually pretty funny). Darcey can be as harsh a marker as Craig, and frankly I’ve got my eye on her after she marked the delightful Lisa Riley much lower than everyone else last week – I don’t trust ballet dancers to be well-balanced around bigger women, and in my (entirely ill-informed) opinion, Riley is top-notch in every respect.
Regular readers of pauseliveaction may recall our love for Scott and Bailey and our excitement at its return. Turns out, it’s back slightly earlier than expected. Who knew that ITV knew a good thing when they saw it?
For newcomers, Scott and Bailey is a series based around the activities of the Major Incident Team (which, as one character points out, seems to deal almost exclusively in murders) of a Manchester-based police force. Its particular focus is on two of its officers; Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) and Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones). At first glance you’d think it was the archetypal chalk/cheese pairing with a healthy dollop of Wimmins Ishoos. It’s true that the younger Bailey is at times the hotheaded counterfoil to the more centred and professional Scott and that we see much of their respective personal lives. But both characters are portrayed as rounded individuals, capable of the same flaws and talents as, well, anybody. Tribute must be paid to both the terrific acting of Sharp and Jones and also to the perfect casting. Sharp’s enigmatic stillness and Jones’ nervy, emotional intensity are perfect both for their individual roles and for each other. They are perfectly balanced and entirely believable as a partnership.
It also says much for the acting and writing that other characters get a chance to shine alongside such a strong central relationship. Amelia Bullmore is terrific as Scott and Bailey’s boss Jill Murray and again the fact that the senior figure is a woman is perfectly done in that it is believable but not overplayed. The episode begins in the toilets with Scott and Bailey psyching up Murray before she goes into front of the TV cameras. But at the same time you feel that the only relevance of their gender to this scene is that they are all the same so can be in the same toilet. No jokes are made about women in charge by the respectful, professional men around them. However, the minute this is hinted at, this is slapped down. A special mention must also go to Pippa Haywood as the head of another police syndicate, whose outrageous banter with Murray is almost worth the asking price alone. Continue reading
(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
(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