(Series 10, ep.10) It wouldn’t be a proper end-of-term at Waterloo Road without an art teacher telling her class to use their imagination in turning the canteen into a sparkling fairytale ballroom. And it would definitely not be the end of term without someone being injured and at least one branch of the emergency services being involved. For good measure this time there was also a hastily improvised explosive device.
No surprise that most of this mayhem (apart from the jazzing up of the canteen with streamers) was caused by Justin Fitzgerald. It was his eighteenth birthday, but he behaves more like he’s eight than eighteen, sulking and snivelling his way through life like the spoiled brat he is. I’m sorry, but I’ve got no sympathy for the weasel. After he punched Allie in the face and Vaughan marched him down to the police station, I was really hoping they’d follow through on the “worst case scenario” of a year in prison. Later on, as he threatened his father with a gas canister and a lighter (meant for Allie), was I the only one who was hoping he’d light it and blow himself and his useless lump of a father to kingdom come? Or am I just a very bad person? Continue reading
(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 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
(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 10, ep.1) There are always a lot of new faces at the start of a new term in Waterloo Road, and it’s sometimes hard to remember who’s who at first. They’ve made it stunningly easy this time, as every new character belonged to the same extended family.
New head teacher Vaughan Fitzgerald (Neil Pearson) is living with art teacher Allie Westbrook (Nicola Stephenson) and her two children, Floyd and Tiffany (Leo Flanagan and Sammy Oliver). They’ve only been at Waterloo Road for five minutes when Mrs Fitzgerald turns up and dumps the Fitzgerald sons, Leo and Justin (Zebb Dempster and Max Bowden) on their father before heading off to a medical facility in Edinburgh to have a breakdown in peace. 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