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DVD Review

DVD cover

Waterloo Road
The Complete Series Three


Starring: Eva Pope, Neil Morrissey, Denise Welch, Jason Done and Philip Martin Brown
Acorn Media UK
RRP: £49.99
Certificate: 12
Available 24 May 2010

In the melting pot that is a Rochdale comprehensive school, teachers struggle with the task of educating the new generation, a generation that has concerns of its own. Both parties on this divide navigate the almost meaningless experience which defines their lives sometime to shine but mostly to survive Waterloo Road...

Waterloo Road is an ongoing successful drama based around the teachers and pupils of a school, their lives their loves and the general struggle to make it through another day. The whole of series three is now out on DVD. This immediately begs the question, why? Series three has already been released albeit in two parts, so who is left to buy it all over again. It’s not like the discs appear to have anything on them which has not already been made available.

Series three opens following a death at the school, which is alluded to in the first episode. I have to say that because apart from the discs I get to review I can’t honestly say that I follow the series. Both the strength and the weakness of the show is its ability to shed characters, which isn’t odd, as a school would normally have a high turnover of staff and pupils. Like Doctor Who this gives the show the opportunity to continually reinvent itself, an interesting prospect unless you get to like particular characters.

So season three opens with a whole new set of characters, including Neil Morrissey (Eddie) as the new deputy head, mind you, the headmaster - Jack Rimmer, played by Jason Merrells - only makes it to episode seven when he is replaced by Rachel Mason (Eva Pope), a new love interest for the deputy.

In the subsequent episodes the show covers the loss of the old headmaster, the ongoing relationship between Donte and Chlo, there are problems with the girls football team and day trips out and all the usual stuff that never happens in a real school. Although the show declares itself a drama the reality that this is an episodic soap opera with the requisite number of bizarre coincidences leading to improbable storylines. That said, for the most part, the show is well acted - some of the younger cast can be a bit variable, but the adults all put in solid performances.

The season is spread across six discs with a combined running time of 1145 minutes. The show is presented in its original aspect ratio of 16:9. There are a few extras but these tend to be either text based or photos, which is a little disappointing.

If you have previously bought the series in its two-part format then there is absolutely no reason to buy this set as it is the same discs. If you have yet to get this season then this might save you a few pounds, but I would advise you to shop around as new DVDs tend to be sold at a premium. You might actually be able to pick up the same episodes considerably cheaper than this.

Overall, the show is generally enjoyable and has a large fan base; it has now moved into its fifth season on television, I’m just not sure what was the point of reissuing season three in a single box was?


Charles Packer

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