The A Word: Everything you need to know about series two of the hit BBC show

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  • BBC One drama The A Word is officially set to return to our screens this year with series two, and by the sounds of things the second instalment will be just as thought-provoking as the first.

    The A Word follows the story of the Hughes family, who, after trying to ignore their instincts, are forced to come to terms with the fact that their youngest son, Joe, suffers with autism.

    The first series watches the intriguing shift in the family dynamic as they struggle to work out what this diagnosis means for the rest of their family unit. It was positively received by viewers are drew in nearly six million viewers for it’s first episode.

    A year on and the new series looks to delve deeper into how the family is coping with their new found identity and the reality of not feeling ‘normal’ any more.

    The series has an impressive cast, written for BBC One by BAFTA-winning Peter Bowker. It stars Morven Christie and Lee Ingleby as mum, Alison, and dad, Paul, as well as Christopher Eccleston as playing grandfather Maurice.

    Whether you’re an avid watcher gearing up for the return of the hit BBC show or new to the party and need filling in, you can get your fix on The A Word below.

    Image: BBC

    What happened in The A Word series one?

    The A Word is about a family of four living in the Lake District, made up of mum, Alison, and dad, Paul, and their teenage daughter Rebecca and son Joe. Up until the diagnosis of five-year-old Joe’s autism, they felt like any other family, laughing, fighting and learning their way through life. But when they are forced to face up to some home truths about the way they communicate and how Joe is coping, they struggle with feelings of denial.

    The whole family reacts differently to Joe’s new situation but as the series continues Joe’s behaviour becomes more worrying until his disappearance in the final episode see’s the whole community come together to ensure his safety.

    Peter Bowker, describes the show to the BBC as ‘funny, tough, realistic and inventive about contemporary family life and autism.’

    He continues to describe how the first series explores both how autism affects a family an a community, saying, ‘in a society where imperfection increasingly comes with blame attached, it seems timely to look at how autism is regarded both within a family and the wider community – and to give some insight into how that experience might be for the child on the autism spectrum.’

    ‘It’s a drama full of ideas – about parenthood, about disability, about communication, about community – and will emphatically engage an audience whatever their experience of the subject.’

    What should I expect from The A Word series two?

    In the next series the story picks up two years later and Joe, now aged seven, is coming to terms with the every day reality of living with autism. He has started to notice that he is different to other children and is learning how to deal with this.

    Peter comments on Joe’s dawning that he is ‘different’, saying, ‘different is what Joe feels, and fears might be something bad’

    ‘It’s up to the whole family to help Joe make sense of who he is and his place in the world. But to do that, they must first be honest about themselves.’

    Lee Ingleby, who plays Paul, spoke to Digital Spy about how the second series looks at the difference in the family as time has moved on.

    ‘We get to tell that story a couple of years later. They’ve lived, as a family, with the diagnosis of autism now for two years. So series two is about, as he’s getting older, how it presents new walls to climb over… and stigma, and understanding, and all those kind of topics.’

    ‘It’s really lovely to play in a drama just about people, rather than ambulances and police cars – it’s just about the drama at home’

    When does The A Word series two start?

    There’s not much information yet on when the new series is set to air, but the BBC have revealed that we can expect the show back on our screens this autumn.