TV Times - My battle with Waterloo

THIS week I learned a lesson about the value of gut instinct.

Long-time readers of this column will know I despise Waterloo Road and I remain continually baffled by its on-going success.

But as those of you who have to share your television know, you don’t always have a choice about what you watch on it.

So, sometimes there is no escaping programmes.

You could do something else, something active perhaps, but that’s never really been my style.

So if I happen to be in at half seven on a Wednesday and don’t manage to make sure my wife forgets it’s on, I’m stuck watching Waterloo Road.

But last week something occurred which I never thought would – I actually enjoyed an episode of the secondary school “drama”.

Not the absolutely horrendous scenes involving the PR women that the head had brought in, to help promote a better image of what surely must be the worst school in England.

Nor the continued storyline where Mark Benton’s overly nice teacher attempts to toughen up, despite the fact his continued presence is letting the kids down to such an extent it would make Jamie Oliver cry again.

And not the romantic exploits of resident hunk Robson Green.

None of that rubbish led to my enjoyment.

That came through pure drama, fine understated acting from members of the young cast and brilliant emotional kick.

This particular plot strand involved the final hours of the life of Sambuca Kelly, who has been suffering from terminal cancer throughout the current run.

It’s a storyline that has been well handled from the beginning, with Sam’s initial desperation becoming acceptance.

Her final episode was played out in Blackpool, along with her boyfriend and best friend, enjoying a day of fun.

She finally passed away in the arms of her mum and father-figure teacher Tom.

It could have proved cheap and schmaltzy but it was really well done.

This storyline showed what Waterloo Road could be, if it really wanted to.

I admit that I was taken in by it, wondering if I had been wrong all along.

Then I saw the promo for the next episode and knew my gut instinct was right all along!

Waterloo Road IS wafer thin, sensationalist rubbish masquerading as a drama series.

It crowbars educational issues and teenage problems into each hour.

Next week we have another twist in the teen affair scandal when the two girls Aiden has been carrying on with both find out they are pregnant.

Cue more teenagers scowling and shouting at each other, more parents shaking their heads and more people threatening to close the school down... the same as it has been for the last five years. I can’t take any more of this rubbish.

I really need to find something else to do at half seven on a Wednesday.