Waterloo Road Review: A Bad Education

May 26, 2010 by  
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WATERLOO ROAD: Wednesday 26th May, BBC One, 8pm ALERT ME

Waterloo Road school is still experiencing teething problems having merged earlier in the season with John Fosters – a nearby private school – thrusting class divides and personal grievances out into the open.

In tonight’s episode deputy head teacher Christopher Mead is desperately trying to impress Camilla Hayes – head of St. Mary’s grammar – in a bid to forge a good relationship between the two schools so they can share sports facilities. However, not everything goes to plan as he struggles to keep a lid on various confrontations that threaten to derail the meeting and Waterloo Road’s reputation in the process.

Following on from last week, spoilt but unloved Finn continues along his spiralling descent into personal abandon when he receives a legal variant of marijuana in the post. In typically reckless behaviour he decides to take his stash into school where he persuades Josh and Amy to get stoned on the premises with dire consequences.

Tom Clarkson is finding it difficult to define the boundaries between being a teacher, a friend and a father to Josh who is being led astray by Finn’s wild streak. When Tom discovers Josh is under the influence he faces the dilemma of how to administer an appropriate punishment and risk ruining their relationship. As Kim Cambell warns him: “He’s treating you like a mate.?

In addition to this maelstrom brewing in the playground and in the staff room, Ros is battling with her sexual identity as her crush on Jo – the school’s resident lesbian teacher – gradually becomes more apparent.

Waterloo Road makes for fairly entertaining drama but it hardly challenges the audience, partly as a result of largely predictable plotting. As every individual’s personal life begins to bleed seamlessly into the everyday mechanisms of the school, the tension emerges from the potential conflicts that arise as a consequence of allowing their problems to interfere with their work.

Season 6 has already been filmed with the BBC announcing a seventh season earlier in the year. With a vast array of characters and multiple plot strands, Waterloo Road still has some mileage in it but for quite how much longer it remains to be seen.