The A Word

Did you catch the first episode of ‘The A Word’ last night? If so, what did you think? If I’m honest I was a little disappointed with it, but going to give it time to develop and will definitely tune in next week to see how the story unfolds.

The opening scene brought a smile to my face as Joe, the five year old boy in the drama, walked along a road in the Lake District singing his heart out to one of my favourite Arctic Monkeys tracks (my 4yr old is a huge fan too). Headphones on, colourful windmill in hand, perfect lyric rendition – this show has promise I thought. But as the episode developed the focus shifted away from Joe to the angry adults around him and part of me thought, it’s no wonder the boy dons his headphones and emerses himself in music as often as possible to block them out.

The BBC drama is the latest in a line of dramas to tackle the subject of Autism and it’s about an extended family centering around a child called Joe diagnosed on the autistic spectrum. The soundtrack did not disappoint throughout, but the characters did, but maybe that’s because I’m expecting too much too soon – this is just the first episode after all and scenes need to be set, characters need to be introduced, but this is where the episode failed for me. It seemed that too much had to be crammed into a short space of time, as the series is only 6 episodes long, so we were launched straight into many different tangents with little focus on the main character. The focus was instead on the miscommunication within the family and their struggles to express deep emotions – hopefully as the drama unfolds these issues will centre more around Joe himself and give us an insight into his perspective.

It was also a little disappointing that from the off Joe was hailed a ‘genius’ and that his diagnosis took less than a day, something that in reality would never happen. However I did like Christopher Eccleston’s take on the part of the blundering grandfather who just speaks his mind without thinking of how his words might affect the people concerned and how his opinions might be a little politically incorrect. So all in all the drama has promise and I’m going to keep watching – from a parenting point of view and also from a learning point of view. I want to know more and I hope the drama will deliver.

Have a read this great review in the Guardian that I spotted this morning in which a father and his autistic daughter give their verdict.

We’d like to hear your verdict too – why not comment below.

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