Waterloo Road Review: New Pupil Fergal’s past is shrouded in mystery while Grantly’s health problems worry Maggie and Michael is angered by Lorraine making decisions behind his back.

by Matt D

Waterloo Road

It does seem like quite a while ago since Waterloo Road moved from Rochdale to Greenock in Scotland. But in fact we’ve only had two terms in the new school and it already seems like a lot has changed. Plenty of staff members and students have arrived and departed while plenty of relationships have developed and cooled off. But some things never change, and this opening episode of the summer term run is no exception as it centres around a new bad boy pupil with a shady past.

The pupil in question is Fergal Doherty who, along with his mother Theresa, has travelled over to Greenock from Londonderry. It is clear right from the start that Fergal is a damaged young man as he keeps looking at a picture of a girl, later revealed to be an ex-girlfriend. It is also clear that Theresa favours Fergal’s brother, who is currently at university, over him which is something that Fergal really resents. Theresa is keen to keep a close eye on Fergal so applies to be Maggie’s catering assistant in the school canteen. Despite having little experience, Maggie takes pity on her and the two women hit it off. However Fergal isn’t keeping his nose clean and is spotted taking drugs in the toilets by Barry who spots an easy target. Barry agrees to give Fergal a fix if he can help him shift some pills around the school. Fergal is eventually able to convince a naive Harley to buy some primarily because Harley is sick of being treated like a child by both Lula and Grantly. However Fergal’s scheme backfires as Harley takes things too far and ends up climbing onto the roof in an attempt to prove that the drugs haven’t affected him.


Harley’s stunt lifts the lid on Fergal’s drug dealing and Michael is keen to inform the police. But Michael is stopped by Nikki, who believes there is more to Fergal than simply a low-life drug dealer. Meanwhile Theresa is threatened by a man who has tracked her down from Ireland and who threatens to harm her other son if she doesn’t give up Fergal. While Theresa temporarily frees her son, a frustrated Nikki comes back to the Doherty home to wait for Fergal. Theresa eventually confesses to Nikki that the reason for their move was because Fergal was wanted dead by several men after they discovered he was a drug dealer. The evil Diarmid finally tracks Fergal down at the school where he attempts to exact revenge for Fergal getting his daughter hooked on the drugs that eventually killed her. However it is revealed that it was Diarmid’s daughter who was the addict and she was the one who got Fergal hooked on drugs rather than the other way around. After Diarmid is arrested, Theresa apologises to Fergal for her actions but Fergal finally realises the strain he’s put on his mother so he hands himself into the police. But even though Fergal is gone for now I really doubt this is the last we’ll see of him.


Meanwhile Lorraine’s persistence to make decisions behind Michael’s back mean the head teacher is at his wits end. His first shock is that Lorraine has appointed Nikki as the new Deputy Head without even consulting him. While Lorraine tells Michael she wanted to cut through the red tape, the rest of the staff are less than pleased with the new appointment. Tom in particular isn’t happy that Nikki is exerting her authority straight away as they start to argue about which class would be best for Fergal. However Michael later explains to Nikki that he has no problem about her being Deputy he just wasn’t happy about the way Lorraine went about it. Despite this, Lorraine continues to but in and suggests to Michael that he should cool things down with Christine. Instead of agreeing with her, Michael claims that he is moving in with Christine. But the only problem is that he hasn’t talked to Christine about it yet however the two eventually agree that it would be the best move for them. Lorraine later confides in Nikki that her accountant wants her to close the school as it is beginning to lose money. Lorraine reveals to Nikki that she wants the school to be on a sound financial footing so that it can be influential to future generations. While Lorraine’s finances remain a worry to her, it appears as if a relationship is blossoming between her and Nikki. As the pair bond after being involved in the Fergal escapade, they begin kissing passionately.


Elsewhere Grantly is still having issues with his kidneys. Since he found out about his kidney failure, Grantly has been on dialysis and is thrilled that he will soon be able to carry out the procedure at home. But Maggie is less than pleased when she discovers that Grantly will need a transplant if he is ever going to recover. While Maggie waits to find out if she is a donor, Grantly asks his wife not to tell any of the other staff members about his condition. The problem is that Grantly’s colleagues realise something is up with him which leads Maggie to eventually tell Christine what has been going on. Though all of the staff and students are sympathetic to Grantly’s plight, he isn’t best pleased that Maggie has gone behind his back. Kacey’s storyline also continues this term, as she now wishes to be referred to as Robbie by her classmates most of whom support her. But Barry still has an issue with his sister wanting to be a boy and takes every opportunity to embarrass her. Finally Audrey shocks the rest of the staff when she returns from Africa with a spring in her step. Later it is revealed that she has a new African companion in the form of Ndale but the nature of their relationship is still unknown.

It’s fair to say that Waterloo Road is back with a vengeance. As always the school drama packs plenty of stories into its hour runtime. I personally wasn’t a fan of the central Fergal storyline as I feel we’ve seen this plot in Waterloo Road several times before. Despite that I felt the performance from Josie Walker as the concerned Theresa was thoroughly compelling throughout. I was personally more interested in Grantly’s storyline as I feel long-term fans of the show have become invested in his well-being. I’m also intrigued by what’s going to happen to the school now that Lorraine is losing money and where they’ll go with the Kacey/Robbie plot. Once again this is going to be a season full of change at Waterloo Road as at least four prominent cast members are leaving the show. However, the drama has always proved that it can handle change well and I’m looking forward to see where Waterloo Road takes us over the next few weeks.

What did you think to the start of this new run of Waterloo Road? What stories are your favourites? Leave Your Comments Below