What’s interesting about The A Word is it grew out of an Israeli series, Yellow Peppers. That family dynamic, I thought was a brilliant set-up. Obviously it’s grown away from that as the series has gone on, but I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Yellow Peppers. But the other thing Yellow Peppers did was I felt it gave me permission to be a little less literal in the way I might depict autism, so there’s whole idyll that Joe has built for himself, around the headphones, and the morning walk.
And obviously it drove people f***ing mad, imagine Twitter saying, “Why’d they let that child walk down the middle of the road?” You know? But it’s kind of symbolic as much as anything. So, I think it allowed me that, it gave me permission to do that. The other thing was that, because I’d written Marvellous before this, I’d already seen that you can be playful with the form while still being true to the emotions of this. I think those two things helped.
A companion piece to yesterday’s interview with Christopher Eccleston: here’s me talking to Peter Bowker, writer of The A Word, all about how the show is changing in its third year, his creative influences, and more.
This I think is one of the best interviews I’ve ever done – a really interesting look at how Peter writes and what shapes his writing. We also spoke at length about what Peter thinks about the rest of television, which is always a really interesting thing to get into with a writer. Very pleased with how this one turned out!
(And I should also note that the above picture of Peter was taken by Amy Sussman, and I took from Getty Images.)