The A Word is a drama series on BBC One based on ‘Yellow Peppers’ by Keren Margalit. The series centres around 5-year-old boy Joe (Max Vento), who is diagnosed with autism, and the effect it has on both him and his family.
The A Word is set in the Lake District and follows the ordinary life of the Hughes family: Mum Alison (Morven Christie), Dad Paul (Lee Ingleby) and their two children Joe and Rebecca (Molly Wright). But as the reality of Joe’s autism diagnosis unfolds, their seemingly ordinary family begins to crack under the pressure of accepting Joe’s diagnosis and how to deal with.
As well as the four main Hughes family members, there are also several extended family members that play a big role in Joe’s autism diagnosis. Alison’s brother Eddie (Greg McHugh) and his wife Nicola (Vinette Robinson), who is a doctor, initially bring up that Joe may have communication problems, as 99% of the time, he has his headphones on and prefers to listen to a wide range of music than interact with his peers- But it doesn’t go down very well.
From there, the story focuses on how Alison and Paul try to deal with Joe’s autism, at first, finding it particularly hard to accept, but as the series goes on, the two of them come to the realization that they have to do what is best for their son, during this difficult time in his life. Morven Christie, who plays Alison Hughes plays a very convincing role, the emotions she portrays throughout the episodes and the lengths in which she goes to, to help her son, are both heart-warming and slightly irritating in equal measure.
Another thing that is very strong and effective throughout the series, is the way in which is focuses, at one point on all of the family members, and how it affects them and not just young Joe. All of the cast do an excellent job of conveying the emotions they feel as they each deal with Joe’s autism in different ways, which really highlights the different emotions and struggles of accepting your child has autism in an effective, convincing and relatable way.
Overall, The A Word is more than just a drama about a child with autism, it goes much deeper than that and explores the ways in which the family deals with it and how it affects them on a much wider scale. Although, Max Vento, who plays Joe, plays his role extremely well, the cast that supports him, equally do a fantastic job, making The A Word a very heart-warming, often humorous and emotional drama series.
The A Word is on BBC1, Tuesdays at 9:00pm.
Dir: Peter Cattaneo
Scr: Peter Bowker
Cast: Max Vento, Lee Ingleby, Morven Christie, Molly Wright, Christopher Eccleston
Prd: Marcus Wilson