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The A Word

The A Word

  • Premiered: 
    March 22, 2016
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: BBC1
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Drama
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
    Based on the Israeli TV series (Yellow Peppers) 
  • Subject Matter: Family
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Plot Synopsis

Based on an Israeli TV series, THE A WORD is a drama series that focuses on the dysfunctional Hughes family, which copes with raising Joe, an autistic five-year-old boy. Charming and funny, Joe is a boy who makes eye contact, doesn't seem unhappy or distressed, has a love of music but is on the autistic spectrum nevertheless. He has significant problems processing and expressing emotion, has difficulties expressing and understanding language, and uses his vast knowledge of pop music as a way of appearing social while successfully keeping the world at bay. His father, Paul, has lived in the Lake District his whole life, working from age 16 at his father-in-law's brewery, Paul is now stepping out on his own and building the gastropub that he and the area needs.. Joe's mother, Alison, born and raised in the Lake District, was a typical British head girl: charming, funny, and smart. She is her father's favourite child, embodying the virtues that he values: determination, stamina and indefatigability. She can't stand being out of control, but knows that to help Joe she has to relinquish control. But knowing and doing it are two different things. Joe's 16-year-old sister, Rebecca, has the best family relationship with him. Rebecca might talk a lot of sense, but her voice is one that's increasingly drowned out in the Hughes house, leaving her feeling invisible and taken for granted. The series opens in their idyllic Lake District home, where the extended Hughes family reunites for Joe's fifth birthday party. But tensions soon rise among Alison, Paul and patriarch Maurice when newly-arrived Eddie and Nicola suggest Joe has communication problems. Following Joe's autism diagnosis Paul, Alison and Rebecca clash over how best to deal with his first weeks at school. Eddie is troubled by thoughts of Nicola's ex-lover, and Maurice tries hard to avoid his singing teacher Louise. SundanceTV aired the U.S. premiere of THE A WORD on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at 10pm ET/PT.

Season 2 of THE A WORD had its U.S. premiere on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 10pm ET/PT on SundanceTV. Two years on, in the idyllic landscape of the Lake District, seven-year-old Joe is growing up and changing. He has started to notice he's different from other kids. And when he says the word 'autistic' out loud, seeing it as something bad, Alison and Paul know they must talk to their son. But how do they broach the subject with a child for whom language is already a struggle? And how do they respond to the news that Joe is struggling at school far more than they thought?
The third season of THE A WORD had its U.S. premiere on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 11pm ET/PT on SundanceTV. In the two years since viewers last saw the family, everything has changed once more. Joe is ten, and living in two places at once, processing the seismic change in his life through the filter of his autism. His parents, Alison and Paul, are divorced and living 100 miles apart. His sister Rebecca has returned home from University with a secret that will change everything further. Only Joe's granddad Maurice is holding it together, and if Maurice is the one holding it together you know you are in trouble.


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Fifty Fathoms Productions