Waterloo Road returned to BBC1 last night and I’m not sure it was worth them bothering to reconvene a new term. I rather wish they’d taken an inset day or two.
This long running drama, set in a fictional Rochdale school, is now in its fourth series and unless I’m just missing something, I don’t get why. In fact, I must be missing something because in March of last year, viewing audiences reached six million so there has to be an appeal that escaped me last night.
It’s got a great cast, I’ll give it that. Neil Morrissey – who has long featured in a starring role in my private alone moments – Eva Pope, Denise Welch… it should have been really good, but, well, it wasn’t.
Last night’s new series premiere focused on not only Rachel’s trembling-but-determined return as head teacher following the fire of last series, but also the introduction of chav family from hell, the Kelly’s.
One of my pet peeves with soaps and dramas are the ridiculous names they give their characters and sure enough, one of the Kelly children was called Sambuca… oh purleeze. Maybe she had a cousin called Jack Daniels or a dad called Glen Fiddich.
Anyway, said hellish family also contained Earl, a gun toting psychopathic teenager with a grudge against his own shadow who threatened two boys with his gun then farmed it off on his younger brother Denzil when the school was evacuated and surrounded by police.
Rachel – a woman with a lot to prove and a chip on her shoulder that required a piece of battered fish to make it swallowable – rushed into the school when a gunshot rang out. A teenager who’d previously cut his hand came running out covered in blood and everyone assumed he’d been shot, but he hadn’t… all of which I saw coming a mile off.
The teenager who’d cut his hand startled young Denzil and the gun went off accidentally, harming no-one, but he did kill a ceiling tile.
The ‘what’s going to happen next’ factor was woefully predictable and the grizzled, seasoned teachers a tad too grizzled and seasoned to be taken seriously.
I simply couldn’t buy into it at all; the plotline featuring the new family, the inner city deprivation, the chavtastic kids… it was clichéd and tedious, ditto the heroic teacher.
Waterloo Road is not for me I’m afraid but I’d love to know what it is that made six million of you tune in last year! Let me know.