Christopher Eccleston

The joy of difference in BBC's The A Word

Max Vento in the A Word (Credit: BBC)

Over three series, The A Word has been widely praised for its honest portrayal of autism and the tensions this unleashes on a family. But The A Word is also laugh-out-loud funny and joyful – and, given its Lake District setting, beautiful to look at.

The BBC One drama, which finished its third series in early June, tells the story of Joe, a young boy with autism, and his fractious, larger-than life extended family.

Peter Bowker and Christpher Eccleston make real reality television

Peter Bowker doesn’t “do diversity”. Yet, over the past couple of decades, this RTS and Bafta award-winning screenwriter has become TV’s “go-to guy” for dramas featuring people with disabilities.

A comic and compelling double act, of Bowker and his long-time collaborator the actor Christopher Eccleston, entertained the RTS North West’s capacity audience at the Lowry in March. They traced the development of Bowker’s work as he has, increasingly, challenged stereotypical representations of people affected by learning disabilities.