Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ex-Sister Who Was Doing It for Herself

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ex-Sister Who Was Doing It for Herself

Article excerpt


The Thieving Headmistress

9pm, BBC2

FINE wines, designer clothes, expensive jewellery, trips to the Mediterranean, a new Mercedes- can this really be the life of a school headteacher? Sounds unlikely, but yes, it was, for Colleen McCabe.

And the reason she could live such a high life was that she was spending the south London school's money as if it were her own. This wry and entertaining drama-documentary stars Pauline Quirke as McCabe, a former nun turned ambitious and tyrannical headmistress of St John Rigby School in West Wickham.

Surrounding herself with fawning governors, and appointing an inexperienced woman to administer the school finances, McCabe was able to maintain her fraud unchallenged for years. She persuaded the governors to take out a credit card, paid for by the school, and was soon running up bills of [pounds sterling]8,000 a month. The programme has the usual problems of dramatised documentaries - for example, was a teacher really admonished for calling McCabe a "fat, lazy cow who knows sod all about education" or is that writer's licence? But, overall, this is a smooth, comic telling of a story which it is sometimes hard to believe actually happened.

Jane Hall

9pm, ITV1

"I am not frigid, I'm just nervous," says Jane (Sarah Smart, pictured right) tonight as she tries to come to terms with an unexpected turn of events: she has not one but two blokes fancying her.

This second episode of Sally Wainwright's comedy-drama continues the story of shy trainee bus-driver Jane, accompanied by her alter ego - a smart, sassy version of herself who appears from time to time. The comedy is as light and flimsy as last week, but the whole thing gets carried along by the pace of the production plus the wonderful performance of Sarah Smart as Jane (is it just me, or are there shades of the young Julie Walters in there? …

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