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The A Word 

The Hughes family work and love and fight like every other family. Then, their youngest son is diagnosed with autism and they don't feel like every other family anymore.


Peter Bowker
4,184 ( 43)

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2017   2016  
3 nominations. See more awards »


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Series cast summary:
Max Vento Max Vento ...  Joe Hughes 12 episodes, 2016-2017
Lee Ingleby ...  Paul Hughes 12 episodes, 2016-2017
Morven Christie ...  Alison Hughes 12 episodes, 2016-2017
Christopher Eccleston ...  Maurice Scott 12 episodes, 2016-2017
Molly Wright Molly Wright ...  Rebecca Hughes 12 episodes, 2016-2017
Vinette Robinson ...  Nicola Daniels 12 episodes, 2016-2017
Greg McHugh ...  Eddie Scott 12 episodes, 2016-2017
Pooky Quesnel ...  Louise Wilson 12 episodes, 2016-2017
Leon Harrop Leon Harrop ...  Ralph Wilson 11 episodes, 2016-2017
Adam Wittek ...  David Nowak 10 episodes, 2016-2017
Tommie Grabiec ...  Pavel Kaminski 10 episodes, 2016-2017
Matt Greenwood Matt Greenwood ...  Tom Clarke 8 episodes, 2016-2017
Daniel Cerqueira Daniel Cerqueira ...  Dr. Graves 8 episodes, 2016-2017
George Bukhari George Bukhari ...  Terry / ... 7 episodes, 2016-2017
Emelia Rae Levy Emelia Rae Levy ...  Emily Scott 6 episodes, 2017
Ibrahim Ismail Ibrahim Ismail ...  Ramesh 6 episodes, 2016-2017
Craig McDonald-Kelly ...  Gary Mallard 6 episodes, 2016-2017
Thomas Gregory Thomas Gregory ...  Luke Taylor 5 episodes, 2016
Harrison Newell-Parker Harrison Newell-Parker ...  Bill Hibbs 5 episodes, 2016-2017
Michelle Tate ...  Linda 5 episodes, 2016-2017
Lucy Gaskell ...  Sophie Berwick 5 episodes, 2017
Travis Smith Travis Smith ...  Mark Berwick 5 episodes, 2017
Abby Ford Abby Ford ...  Sally 5 episodes, 2016


In this moving BBC drama, the Hughes family living in the Lake District are like any other family; when their young son Joe is diagnosed as autistic, their lives are changed forever, and the family members must pull together to better learn their son's condition. Written by Tom Daly

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Release Date:

13 July 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Poika joka katosi musiikkiin See more »

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Spooky quesnel and Lee ingleby both starred in inspector George gently See more »

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User Reviews

Decent family drama that's not really about autism
22 May 2016 | by FlagStewardSee all my reviews

I was a bit nervous about The A Word, I anticipated that the BBC would not pass up the chance to get preachy. Fortunately they (mostly) resisted that temptation - the autism's main role is to stir up an already complex web of family relationships, and The A Word follows the response to that perturbation in the same way as say Mike Leigh does (without getting that miserable). So the autistic son plays an oddly peripheral role, not least because he shuts us out as viewers as well as his parents; the core of the drama revolves around his parents trying to cope with him and trying to present a happy, "normal" facade. I'm no expert on how families cope with that sort of thing, but there seemed to be some truth in their response, even if you could quibble with the detail.

And it's just nice to have a "serious" drama these days that isn't trying to find a Nordic murderer...

I think they got the length just about right - I'm not sure I could have stuck with 26 episodes of the original Israeli version, but there was enough room for most of the subplots to "breathe" without outstaying their welcome. The exceptions were both on the business side - it felt like the original script had an interesting subplot about control of the brewery that was butchered until it barely made sense, and ditto about the development of the pub. Another half an hour would have cracked it - but both could be developed in a second series.

Oh, and I'd disagree that a microbrewery and a glorified burger van make you "rich". The brewery looked like it was around 15 barrels capacity, so one step up from a "starter" microbrewery, the kind you would have after a few years trading and perhaps some awards that got you recognition beyond the local area - that would describe Coniston brewery, which I assume is where it was filmed? But you don't get "rich" off that kind of setup. If they were rich, they wouldn't be converting a derelict barn in the middle of nowhere to turn into a pub, they'd be buying an existing pub (of which there are plenty for sale in the Lakes). It's true that the BBC "Waitrosed" their home life but in terms of income they're on a similar level to people with a burger van and a back street boozer in the inner city.

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