Drama revolving around autism wins attention - and a place in Cannes

MUMBAI: The A Word, a series revolving around autism. by Fifty Fathoms and Keshet International and aired on BBC One on 22 March at 9.00 pm claimed a viewership of an average 4.7 million viewers which went up to 5 million in the final 15 minutes.

The numbers were double that of the competition on ITV1 and Channel 4 and 1.2% above the average annual share for the slot. It is based on the original Israeli drama Yellow Peppers by Keren Margalit who is also executive producer on the UK series.

Directed by Peter Cattaneo and written by Peter Bowker, the series has also been selected as one of the 12 high-end drama series to make an international debut at the inaugural MIP Drama screenings on 3 April. The series will be the first of all the dramas to debut at JW Marriot Hotel in Cannes from 10.10 am.

The impact of the premiere was also demonstrated through social media activity which revealed a nationwide conversation about viewers’ emotional response to the series, which was also trending on Twitter in the United Kingdom.

Bowker is a multiple BAFTA winner and Golden Globe nominee (Marvellous, Blackpool.) Cattaneo is an Oscar nominee and BAFTA winner (The Full Monty Rev).

The A Word is a smart, contemporary drama about a messy, extended family with Joe, a child with autism, which is unable to communicate because of a gulf between their deepest feelings and how they express them.

Alison played by Morven Christie and Paul Hughes enacted by Lee Ingleby are a mid-30s couple building a life in the Lake District for themselves and their two children. They live in close proximity to their extended family which includes Nicola played by Vinette Robinson and Steve enacted by Greg McHugh who are grappling with unfaithfulness in their marriage. Maurice played by Chris Eccleston plays a recent widower who is owner of the family brewery.

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