BBC First

The A Word

The A Word is a six-part drama series about a messy, extended family with a child newly diagnosed with autism. At the heart of the family are Alison and Paul Hughes, a couple in their mid-30s 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, Joe 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.

With its stellar line up - Christopher Eccleston, Lee Ingleby, Morven Christie, Greg McHugh, Vinette Robinson - The A Word is a captivating drama that intimately explores the raw emotions facing a family and their beautiful child.