(Series 10, ep.8) I still don’t know quite what to make of Justin Fitzgerald. On one hand, I’m entirely with Allie in thinking he’s not the kind of boyfriend you’d want your daughter to have – some of his behaviour in this episode (taking her phone away, lying about where they were going) was the kind of pattern you see in domestic abuse. He’s manipulative and has a very nasty streak.
On the other hand, I have to have some sympathy with him as well. He has been entirely messed around with by his father, who thought dumping his sons into the middle of a new family while their mother had a breakdown elsewhere was a good plan, and then proceeded to follow this up with sending Justin away to boarding school at the first sign of trouble. 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 9, ep.20) The end of another term at Waterloo Road, and by WR standards it went off without a hitch. Nobody died, Christine managed to stay sober and the only injury was Kacey Barry plummeting from a climbing wall and breaking her wrist (followed by dreadful first aid – how not to deal with a person who could well have had a spinal injury).
We left Connor and Emo Imogen bound for an exciting life of being a chef and a trainee actress respectively in That London; Nix and Vix off for their own exciting life in That Berlin (and what a lovely happy ending that was for Nikki Boston); Carol Barry sticking with George even though he isn’t rich; Kevin Chalk learning to walk again; Dynasty about to embark on a career in the bizzies; Kacey waiting for her wrist to heal before setting her sights on the Olympics; Christine moving in with Audrey so she can hopefully stay sober enough to teach English next year even if she isn’t head; and Simon Twinkle-Spark wondering why nobody likes him. He’d wonder that even more if he’d seen Sue Twinkle-Spark being kissed by his old buddy Hector Reid. Teamwork makes the dream work, indeed. Continue reading
(Series 9, ep.19) Christine’s descent back into alcohol hell was fairly predictable, given that not an episode goes by without she gazes longingly at a bottle at some point. I blame her handbags – they are conveniently big enough to conceal a bottle or a wine bag. She should go either small bag or string bag and there’d be far less temptation.
However, the bag situation is what it is and Christine’s situation was that she woke up next to a tattooed man whose name she didn’t know, and her bedroom carpet had been ruined by red wine.
Christine’s reputation was about to go the way of the bedroom carpet, when she was late for a meeting with Darren’s social worker and didn’t tell her about Darren’s penchant for pervy photography.
George was optimistic. “The occasional defeat doesn’t mean you’re losing the war,” he said. He didn’t know about Christine crashing her car and walking away (in odd shoes) at that point. Though he did know about the boozy breath and fuzzy teeth. Continue reading
(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
(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
(Series 9, ep.16) After only the briefest of happy interludes, the engagement of Vix and Nix is no more, thanks to Nikki being unable to resist the allure of Mr Hector Reid. If only Nikki and Hector hadn’t arrived at the school at the same time as Barry was dropping Gabriella off (in an Audi this week. Where is Barry getting all these different cars? It’s like Gone in 60 Seconds at that school gate at the moment). Gabriella, who is enjoying the pleasures of Barry but seems to have far more fun sniffing Hector’s boxing gloves, wasted no time in checking Hector’s phone. Texts from Nix to Hex revealed the truth, and Gabriella revealed it to Vix in a handily-arranged extra-curricular jewellery making workshop.
There was a lot of crying, and Nikki begged Vix to forgive her. Vix had the Twinkle-Spark family on her side. Sue was furious: “Is she gay? Is she bi? Is she a total bitch?” Simon was disappointed in Hector – he thought he and Hector had a shared mindset. Barry thought Hector needed sorting out. “You can’t just go in there and punch him on the nose,” argued Gabriella. “Yer I can,” said Barry (though he probably wouldn’t have, because Hector is a PE teacher and has his own boxing gloves and everything). They made do with puncturing the tyre of Hector’s motorbike with a handy nail gun. Continue reading