Did we like it?
Waterloo Road, I was defeated, you really bore; Waterloo Road, Promise to avoid you for ever more.
What was good about it?
• There’s a quality cast (except Angela Griffin whose little frowns of incredulity have always annoyed us. She does them in every scene. Will she ever learn to act?).
• The new kid in town, Brett, had the looks and charm to carry off the heartthrob role. And he’s got some really cool decks in his den. Remarkably, it’s actor Tom Payne first TV role; the lack of experience never showed.
• The political angle may have been superficial but at least some attempt was made to show the horror of letting schools fall into the hands of rich businessmen such as Roger Aspinall, the “a widget-making egomaniac.”
• Finding amusement in the emotional stares which ended almost every scene. Reminded us of those classic Crossroads cliffhangers.
What was bad about it?
• The loopy Lorna sub plot, borrowed from the Manual of How To Make Run of the Mill Soaps
• Denise Welch’s flirtatious French teacher Steph – it’s like an anachronistic sitcom character has accidentally wandered in.
• Old-style English master Grantly Budgen has been fired just because he falls asleep at his desk after knocking back a few in the pub at lunchtime. Teachers like that were treated like Gods at our school.
• The creators Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus have previously brought us Bad Girls and Footballers’ Wives but Waterloo Road never comes close to hitting the hilarious heights of those classics.
• Good guy Jack has been replaced as headmaster by posh deputy Andrew.
• Bad boy pupil Donte didn’t get a look in.
• Music by Keane and Razorlight thrown in to give it a contemporary feel. That’s become such a TV cliché. (Bet they don’t last the series without using I Predict a Riot when a little bit of mayhem breaks out) Channel 4’s Teachers always featured great music, and not just tracks plucked from the Radio 2 playlist.