The A Word

OVERVIEW | EPISODE GUIDE

Season 1, Episode 1
Diagnosis
Aired: 22.March.2016

In their idyllic Lake District home, the extended Hughes family reunites for Joe's fifth birthday party. But tensions soon rise among Alison, Paul and patriarch Maurice when newly-arrived Eddie and Nicola suggest Joe has communication problems.


Season 1, Episode 2
Home School
Aired: 29.March.2016

Following Joe's diagnosis, Alison is keen to protect her son. Not wanting the community to know about his autism, she takes Joe out of school without telling Paul.


Season 1, Episode 3
Therapy
Aired: 05.April.2016

Alison gets a blast from her past when speech and language therapist Maggie arrives to assess Joe. For the family, it is time to face some uncomfortable truths.


Season 1, Episode 4
Sleepover
Aired: 12.April.2016

An impromptu attempt to win Joe some friends leads to a breakthrough moment for Alison, but how long can it last? Maurice and Louise come to blows over Joe, while Rebecca turns to Eddie for relationship advice.


Season 1, Episode 5
Goodbye
Aired: 19.April.2016

The family suffers a blow when police reveal that their ‘Polish' helper Maya is in fact Ukrainian, and is living and working illegally in the UK. As Maya faces deportation, it's a double loss for Alison: Maya's presence makes her panic less, and she's one of the few people Joe has really bonded with.


Season 1, Episode 6
Lost
Aired: 26.April.2016

It's the launch day of Paul's gastropub, and the family gathers to open its doors. While Maurice gets to grips with the half-done décor, Alison determines to reconcile with Paul. As Luke's romantic gesture falls flat with Rebecca, Nicola has some shock news for Eddie.

Seeing Joe is in the way, Maurice takes him on a visit to Louise's – but within minutes the day has taken an unexpected dark turn.

Can the family join forces with the community to ensure the safety of its youngest member? And where will the crisis leave each of them as the day draws to a close...?


Season 2, Episode 1
Naming Day
Aired: 07.November.2017

Two years on, in the idyllic landscape of the Lake District, seven-year-old Joe is growing up and changing. He has started to notice he is different from other kids, and when he says the word 'autistic' out loud, seeing it as something bad, Alison and Paul know they must talk to their son. But how do they broach the subject with a child for whom language is already a struggle? Also growing up is Joe's sister, Rebecca. Now 19, she has been travelling round Africa on a gap year and crashes back into the family home with a backpack, a tattoo and a boyfriend. Two years after splitting from Nicola, Eddie is the one that got away. He has a new life in Manchester, but he can't quite shake the old Eddie off, not least because Nicola keeps dragging him back to the Lakes. Having never told her parents that she and Eddie are divorced, Nicola is horrified when they turn up for a surprise visit. Maurice is feeling awkward too when he finds himself on old flame Louise's doorstep.


Season 2, Episode 2
Get Away
Aired: 14.November.2017

As Joe starts at a specialist school in Manchester, how will Paul and Alison cope with the challenge of living apart during the school week?

Louise confides in Maurice and shocks him with a confession, while Eddie goes on a boys' night out with Nicola's dad.


Season 2, Episode 3
Are We Still Here?
Aired: 21.November.2017

With Paul and Alison living increasingly separate lives between the Lakes and Manchester, Paul makes an unexpected connection with Mark's mum, Sophie.

Meanwhile Louise and Maurice come to blows as she starts her treatment.


Season 2, Episode 4
Falling
Aired: 28.November.2017

Paul and Alison attempt to reconnect, and Maurice has a crisis during a fell race. Spending more and more time back at home with Nicola, Eddie tries to teach Joe to ride a bike.


Season 2, Episode 5
Family Album
Aired: 05.December.2017

Paul's feelings about Joe's autism emerge when Nicola makes a ‘film' of his son's behaviours - causing Paul and Alison to confront some difficult truths. Meanwhile, Maurice makes a shocking proposal.


Season 2, Episode 6
Same Deep Water
Aired: 12.December.2017

An End Of Year Show at Joe's old school brings his whole family together. But can they remain the family he knows?


Season 3, Episode 1
Episode 1
Aired: 05.May.2020

Joe struggles to cope with the changes resulting from his parents' divorce, as he spends his days shuttling back and forth between the old house in the Lakes and his mother's new home in Manchester. Since retiring, Maurice has become a volunteer firefighter, and is called in to a fire at Paul's house. When he decides to show Joe the damage, it only leaves the youngster feeling more adrift and drives him to reject his music.


Season 3, Episode 2
Episode 2
Aired: 12.May.2020

Joe's teacher provides much-needed support as his anxieties over Rebecca's pregnancy grow - but this leads to him becoming fixated on her as his source of security instead of his constantly changing family. Paul is shocked when Mark announces he has applied to join the Army, but is not sure which is more worrying - the hurt he will suffer from being rejected or the danger he will face if accepted. Maurice receives an expensive gift from a member of his hiking group, and fears how Louise will react when she finds out.


Season 3, Episode 3
Episode 3
Aired: 19.May.2020

Eddie surprises Maurice with some good news, revealing that Scott's Brewery is such a success that a company in London are interested in purchasing it for more than £1million. In Manchester, Ben asks Alison if she and Joe would like to go out for the day, and Joe later joins Paul for a camping trip in the Lakes, organised by Bill's mum Sarah. Paul invites Eddie along for one last hurrah, but tensions quickly flare when Eddie discovers that Maurice has been invited too. Father and son end up bickering around the campfire as the rain sets in.


Season 3, Episode 4
Episode 4
Aired: 26.May.2020

Alison organises a sponsored walk to raise money for Joe's class. Volunteering brings the family back together, and also provides Alison with a chance to get to know Heather better. But on the day, Joe refuses to leave his room, the pressure of being the centre of attention proving too much for him. Rebecca comes to his aid and shows him that the walk is not a thing to be feared, and in turn gains the confidence to talk about her feelings concerning her pregnancy and the possibility that her child may also be autistic.


Season 3, Episode 5
Episode 5
Aired: 02.June.2020

An unwelcome visitor arrives in the Lakes on the eve of Ralph and Katie's wedding in the shape of Ralph's father, whom he has not seen in more than 10 years. Louise is less than keen to have him around, as is Maurice - in part because Doug proves a far more likable person than he had imagined. Paul and Sarah's liberalism is put to the test when Mark and Joe want to strike out on their own. They decide to let the boys go for a day out on their own, but neither is able to resist checking up on them.


Season 3, Episode 6
Episode 6
Aired: 09.June.2020

Rebecca pays a visit to Joe's school to teach the class about pregnancy, an experience which eases her worries about her own child's future. However, while driving back to the Lakes, she goes into labour, and faces the prospect of giving birth by the roadside with only Joe on hand to help her. Ben returns from work in Derby with bad news for Alison. Ralph moves into his new flat with Katie, and Louise finds the experience of her son leaving home hard to take - but Maurice proposes a drastic solution to her loneliness.