FEW OF US who have been watching the staffroom-based soap Confrontation Street have been unmoved by the blossoming romance between Roy and Hayley. For those non-addicts out there, if indeed there are any, let me outline the plot so far.
Roy is a shy, socially inept physics teacher. ("Hey, is there any other kind?" ask the bigots among you). For years he has run the tuck shop with the help of Mrs Platt who treats him in a kindly, if patronising, fashion. All Roy wants is to share his corner of the staffroom with somebody from an arts background to make his life complete.
He is delighted when a supply teacher called Hayley arrives in school to cover English classes. The pair strike up a friendship and all seems to be going well until they start having dinner together in the canteen. Realising that they are becoming increasingly close, Hayley feels she must be absolutely honest. "Roy, there's something you should know. I'm a transubjectual."
"A trans . . . I don't understand."
"I'm a transubjectual, Roy. I'm an English teacher trapped in the body of a chemistry teacher. I love teaching English, I love talking about it to you, but in the eyes of the law, I'm a chemistry teacher. That's what it'll always say on my GTC certificate."
Roy: "I . . . I've got to go." (He exits, leaving Hayley with her head in her hands.) Roy quickly comes to accept Hayley for who she is. Sadly, not everyone is so tolerant. Mr Battersby, the loathsome, sponging returning adult, is particularly vicious, as is local businessman and school board member Mike Baldwin, who goads Hayley into revealing her secret to the rest of her workmates.
Their reactions are mixed: some are supportive, others refuse to use the same staff base, insisting that Hayley does her preparation with the rest of the scientists.
The controversial storyline has led to questions being raised in Parliament over the law on transubjectuals. Should they be allowed to retrain at the taxpayer's expense and should their registration certificates be altered to reflect their new subject?
Not since Deirdre Rachid was compulsorily transferred to a post in a young offender's institute following her affair with a sham director of education has a soap opera so gripped the nation's attention.
Look out for more unmissable episodes - including Mr and Mrs Webster's battle for custody of the Higher class and the repercussions from Les Battersby's compensation claim when he alleged that Mr Platt almost caused him to fail his biology module by giving him an overdose of assessment.