I had a text from a friend of mine asking me if I had watched this programme the night before last as it had a story line about a recovering alcoholic who had relapsed . I don’t really watch much TV and wasn’t a regular viewer of this show but my interest was peaked so I watched it last night.
Waterloo Road is a British television drama series set in a Scottish comprehensive school of the same name broadcast on BBC1.
The story line for this character in the summary reads:
Christine’s alcoholism continues to be a recurring storyline in this series as she struggles with being in the demanding role of Head Teacher. With George, a friend and former drinking partner, being around once more old habits appear to be remembered by them both. Christine comes close to downing a whole bottle of vodka during the first episode but declines, proving herself to be stronger than she once was. In the last episode, Christine struggles at Simon and Sue’s wedding reception with the alcoholic drinks that surround her.
The summary of this week’s episode:
Christine wakes up with a horrific hangover. In a massive error of judgement, she gets into her car while still under the influence and drives to school.
From that moment on, Christine’s day descends from bad to worse until her whole future hangs in the balance…
You can watch it here:
To me this felt like watching what would have happened to me if I played the tape forward to the very end of not stopping drinking. How her error’s of judgement multiple under the influence of either a hangover or drinking. How rationality and stability is replaced with her increasingly labile emotional state and reactions. It also showed how unforgiving people can be and how misunderstood addiction to alcohol remains.
Also, as my friend pointed out, there were no telephone support or advice lines offered at the end of the show to help people who had been affected by the storyline, which is both unusual and disappointing of the BBC. The BBC should be commended however for tackling this as an issue in a popular TV show that is watched by 4-5 million people. If I had been watching it with a drink in my hand it would have made very uncomfortable viewing.
(Apologies to those reading this outside of the UK who will not be able to view the episode but there is a clip on Youtube)