It’s the day of Millcross Primary School End of Year Show in this sublime final episode of what has been a completely engaging series of Peter Bowker’s The A Word.
This is an episode centred around endings. The end of year show that Rebecca has pulled together at Joe’s old school. The end of hopes and dreams for Paul and for Nicola. And almost the end for permanently confused by life Maurice (former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston).
There’s a whole lot of plot packed in to this final episode and Peter Bowker doesn’t waste a single word or scene. We have by the absolute bucket-load all of the things that have made this second series of The A Word so completely engaging. It is by turns funny and heart-wrenching. It will make you guffaw, then floor you completely. Never more so than when Nicola and Eddie discuss their future. Nicola asks Eddie to ‘speak like me’ with devastating results.
Also in trouble are Paul and Alison. Alison recognises that Paul can’t blame Joe for his condition, so he takes his feelings out on her. But no amount of insight can fix the problems in her relationship.
It’s not all endings, though, in this final episode. There are some – sometimes tentative – new beginnings. Maurice and Louise set their relationship back to Day 1, and what a Day 1 it is! Mark, who has been Paul’s barometer of Joe’s future, contemplates grown-up independence. Nicola has a best friend for the first time in her life and Rebecca faces a future she’s previously denied herself.
This second series of The A Word has been little short of perfect. Writer Peter Bowker’s history of working with children with disabilities comes to the fore as he writes beautifully for the amazing youngsters in the cast. Bowker has calmed down the things that were maddening in the first series – Alison’s crazed tiger-mother, for example – and the series settled into a sublime groove. And so we look at endings and beginnings one last time. Is this the end of the story of the Hughes family or the beginning of the rest of their story?
We truly hope that we meet them all again. There’s so much more story to tell, we can only hope we get to see it unfold.
You can watch The A Word series 2 on the BBC iPlayer.
Written by Peter Bowker, Director Luke Snellin, Producer Jenny Frayn