In the penultimate episode of The A Word, series 2, Nicola makes a film that causes Paul to examine his deepest feelings about Joe.  It’s time for big decisions from Holly, Rebecca and Maurice. And Stuart is back!

It is a general rule of drama series that the penultimate episode delivers a pig punch, and that’s never more so than in episode 5 of The A Word series 2. Joe is back firmly in the spotlight here as Nicola makes a film showing Joe’s type of autism for her colleagues at the medical centre. Nicola’s film, however, reaches a wider audience than her colleagues and its effect on those near to Joe is powerful.

Dad Paul’s reaction is the most affecting as he has to admit his deepest feelings about Joe and Joe’s autism.  It’s genuinely touching to see Paul deal with his feelings about his son, even down to his mimicking one of Joe’s self-comforting mechanisms.

Paul has always looked at other children and compared Joe to them.  One of these is waitress Sophie’s son Mark, who is a big teenage lad with autism.  This week, Mark reads from the ‘Hopes and dreams’ section of his updated Education, Health and Care Plan and let me tell you, it’s a heart-wrencher.

Picture Shows: *Behind-the-scenes* Stuart (Ralf Little), Rebecca Hughes (MOLLY WRIGHT), Alison Hughes (MORVEN CHRISTIE) – (C) Fifty Fathoms – Photographer: various

After last week’s announcement that she doesn’t want to go to university, Rebecca makes a decision on her future. Helping in his own was is her dad Stuart (the fab scene-stealing Ralph Little), who walks a tight line between caring dad who can see things others can’t and general arse.


Grandad Maurice (former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston) is back to his world-class cack-handedness as he decides that his is-it-on-or-is-it-off relationship with Louise is in fact off. This is a man who we know has met at least four actual women in his life, and yet the ability to deal with them – or indeed most people – is generally beyond him. This week, a decision leads him to empty his Welsh dresser as a precursor to the most ridiculous proposal this generally ridiculous man has made yet.

Picture Shows: – (C) Fifty Fathoms – Photographer: various

The biggest laugh this week is from Eddie’s po-faced girlfriend Holly as she answers his question about the future of their relationship with a list that quite amusingly goes on for a long, long time.


The final scene is quite something as Paul shows Alison his own view of his son. But what of Joe himself? This is not to be missed.

Picture Shows: Joe Hughes (MAX VENTO), Paul Hughes (LEE INGLEBY) – (C) Fifty Fathoms – Photographer: various
You can watch The A Word series 2, episode 5 on BBC One on Tuesday 5 December 2017 at 9pm. You can catch up with previous episodes on the BBC iPlayer.

You can check out Joe’s awesome playlist (including songs new to Series 2) on the BBC’sThe A Word website.


Written by Peter Bowker, Director Luke Snellin, Producer Jenny Frayn


Maurice….Christopher Eccleston
Alison……..Morven Christie
Paul………..Lee Ingleby
Joe…………Max Vento
Eddie……..Greg McHugh
Nicola…….Vinette Robinson
Rebecca…Molly Wright
Louise……Pooky Quesnel
Ramesh…Ibrahim Ismail
Ralph……Leon Harrop
Holly……Anna Koval
Stuart….Ralph Little


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