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THE A WORD UK

Every family is a puzzle. And sometimes the pieces just don’t fit.

MIPDrama Screenings International Preview, April 2016

Nominee for Best Series Launch of the Year at Digital TV Content Innovation Awards, 2016

Nominee for Best English-Language Drama Series at C21 International Drama Award

Winner of the Special Jury Prize for a European Fiction at La Rochelle Fiction TV Festival, 2016

Winner of the 2016 Autism Hero Award

Winner for Best Scripted Format at the C21 Format Awards, 2017

National Autistic Society’s Autism Uncut Film and Media Awards

The A Word is a 6-part drama series for BBC One about a messy, extended family with a child newly diagnosed with autism at its center.

More than that it is a drama about a family who cannot communicate.  Not because they aren’t smart, articulate or funny, but because, like most of us, there is a gulf between their deepest feelings and how they express those feelings.

At the heart of the family are Alison and Paul Hughes, a mid-30s couple building a life in the Lake District for themselves and their two children: teenage daughter Rebecca and five year-old son Joe.  A beautiful, dreamy boy who’s never knowingly without his headphones, Joe lives in a world of routine, set to a soundtrack of punk, new wave and indie classics.  Until the week he starts school, he is considered eccentric, maybe a little anti-social, maybe a little behind on the developmental checklists and at worse, a little odd.  But when Alison’s brother Eddie and his wife Nicola return to the family home to rebuild their broken marriage, we find the first people brave or tactless enough to suggest that Joe’s problems run deeper.  And the moment Nicola says the unsayable, Maurice, the family patriarch, begins to express his own misgivings about his grandson…

In the weeks following his diagnosis, Joe’s character and Joe’s autism magnify and exaggerate the tensions and fault lines that run throughout this multi-generational family as they struggle to adapt to the changes in their lives and, more importantly, to learn to communicate.

The A Word is a smart, contemporary drama full of ideas – about parenthood, about disability, about community.  It is funny, audacious, raw and innovative – and in shining a light on this particular and unusual set of circumstances, it will have universal appeal for anyone who has ever been driven crazy by their family…

"Whether you have an interest in autism is irrelevant – The A Word is a masterclass in ensemble acting and scriptwriting that is as funny as it is heartrending and I simply cannot recommend it enough."
Metro, March 2016
"a programme so engaging that within its first five minutes it had me rather twittishly scribbling: "This is brilliant!" in my notes...it makes you laugh as much as it makes you cry and cringe and gasp... The A Word is about a whole lot more than just autism itself. It's about the unique bonds of family life – and how, when s*it happens, it puts those bonds to the ultimate test"
Daily Star, March 2016
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KEY INFORMATION

Genre: Drama.

Screenplay by: Peter Bowker (Marvellous, Occupation, Blackpool).

Directed by: Peter Cattaneo (episodes 1-3), Dominic Leclerc (episodes 4-5) and Susan Tully (episode 6).

Cast: Christopher Eccleston (The Leftovers, Fortitude), Lee Ingleby (Our Zoo), Morven Christie (Grantchester), Greg McHugh (Fresh Meat), Vinette Robinson (Sherlock), Max Vento (6 year old new comer).

Producer: Marcus Wilson (Doctor Who, Life on Mars).

Production Company: Fifty Fathoms and Keshet UK.

Duration: S1: 6 X 60'; S2 in production.

Year of broadcast: 2016.

KI Sizzle Reel 2016 from Keshet International on Vimeo.

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