BBC One’s The A Word tells the story of a family whose youngest son is diagnosed with autism.
Adapted by Occupation writer Peter Bowker from the Israeli series by Prisoners of War creator Keren Margalit, the new six-part drama is a funny and thought-provoking series about parenthood and childhood and what it’s like to have a child who doesn’t fit the mould.
The cast includes Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who), Lee Ingleby (Our Zoo), Morven Christie (Grantchester), Greg McHugh (Fresh Meat) and Vinette Robinson (Sherlock), alongside newcomer Max Vento.
Tuesday 22 March 2016, 9pm
In the idyllic landscape of the Lake District, Paul and Alison Hughes are building a life for themselves and their two children: teenage daughter Rebecca (from Alison’s first marriage) and five-year-old son Joe.
Joe is a music lover who’s rarely without his headphones; to some he’s a little eccentric, to others he’s a little odd. But when Alison’s brother Eddie and his wife Nicola return to the family home to rebuild their broken marriage, they become the first people brave enough to suggest that Joe’s problems run deeper. The moment Nicola says the unsayable, family patriarch Maurice expresses his own concerns for his grandson.
And when Joe is finally diagnosed with autism, the whole family finds itself in an unfamiliar and unpredictable world.
Tuesday 29 March 2016, 9pm
Following Joe’s diagnosis, Alison is keen to protect her son. Not wanting the community to know about his autism, she takes Joe out of school without telling Paul.
He and Rebecca hit back, believing Joe shouldn’t have to bend to fit the world. As Paul struggles to keep on top of his gastropub project, Alison ropes the family in to help home-school Joe. She asks Nicola to meet up with paediatrician Michael for advice.
The thought of Nicola with her ex-lover Michael haunts Eddie as he tries to get to grips with running the brewery, under Maurice’s critical eye. Meanwhile, Maurice has problems of his own, as Louise continues to look for someone to satisfy her physical needs.
Tuesday 5 April 2016, 9pm
Alison is faced with a blast from her past when Maggie, a speech and language therapist, arrives to assess Joe.
Her visit brings Paul, Alison, Eddie, Nicola, Maurice and Rebecca together, but exposes some uncomfortable truths, as Maggie highlights the family’s inability to communicate. For the first time, they’re made to realise how hard it must be for Joe.
Confident that she’s found a miracle-worker in Maggie, Alison goes all-out to secure her help, leaving Rebecca feeling ignored. As Rebecca turns to boyfriend Luke for attention, Maurice finds himself succumbing to Louise’s request for physical contact…but can he deliver the goods?
Meanwhile, Eddie is determined to put his own stamp on the brewery and prove to Maurice he’s much more than failed businessman and celebrity cuckold.
Tuesday 12 April 2016, 9pm
Paul and Alison have told Joe’s school about his autism – reluctantly on Alison’s part. With Polish worker Maya now helping out with Joe at home, Alison volunteers to help in his classroom.
In an attempt to win Joe some friends, she invites two boys, Ramesh and Bill, for a sleepover. While it’s not the evening that Alison planned, it leads to a surprising breakthrough moment with Joe – but how long can it last? And how will Alison react when she learns that Paul wants a very different future for their family?
Rebecca feels confused and hurt when Luke blanks her after they sleep together. When she opens up to Eddie and Nicola, Maurice finds himself facing a difficult conversation with Louise.
Tuesday 19 April 2016, 9pm
The family suffers a blow when police reveal that their ‘Polish’ helper Maya is in fact Ukrainian, and is living and working illegally in the UK. As Maya faces deportation, it’s a double loss for Alison: Maya’s presence makes her panic less, and she’s one of the few people Joe has really bonded with.
Alison tries to get Joe to understand that he must say goodbye to Maya, but Paul is annoyed when she pushes Joe for an emotional response. As their son’s behaviour reaches crisis point, Alison and Paul face some painful questions about their future.
While Nicola is making herself more at home in the community, just as Eddie starts to consider an alternative future. And as Rebecca is coached on the best way to get revenge, Maurice feels 14 again when Louise’s head is turned by another man.
Tuesday 26 April 2016, 9pm
It’s the launch day of Paul’s gastropub, and the family gathers to open its doors. While Maurice gets to grips with the half-done décor, Alison determines to reconcile with Paul. As Luke’s romantic gesture falls flat with Rebecca, Nicola has some shock news for Eddie.
Seeing Joe is in the way, Maurice takes him on a visit to Louise’s – but within minutes the day has taken an unexpected dark turn.
Can the family join forces with the community to ensure the safety of its youngest member? And where will the crisis leave each of them as the day draws to a close…?
Watch the trailer…
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