BBC One Renews ‘The A Word’ For Second Season; Orders ‘Us’ Adaptation & Barbara Windsor Biopic

The A Word (FT)

Fresh off of the news that BBC Two has renewed Peaky Blinders and ordered new drama The Boy With The Topknot, BBC One has renewed Autism drama The A Word for a second season and given the greenlight to David Nicholls adaptation Us and Barbara Windsor adaptation Babs.

The A Word follows the Hughes family who work and love and fight like every other family. Then their youngest son is diagnosed with autism and they don’t feel like every other family anymore. They realise that if their son is ever going to communicate, they are going to have to learn how to communicate themselves. It’s a funny and thought-provoking series about parenthood and childhood.

The drama series is based on the Israeli drama format which was created by Keren Margalit and was adapted for UK screens by Peter Bowker. Fifty Fathoms Productions, Tiger Aspect Productions and Keshet Productions UK are producing the series, which stars Christopher Eccleston, Morven Christie, Lee Ingleby, Greg McHugh, Vinette Robinson and newcomer Max Vento. The executive producers are Patrick Spence, Peter Bowker, Jenny Frayn, Sara Johnson, Avi Nir and Lucy Richer.

BBC Two has ordered six episodes for the show’s second season, which will again be written by Peter Bowker. “I am delighted that the show has resonated with a wide audience and am thrilled to have the opportunity to take the family and Joe further along their journey”, said Peter Bowker. “Also delighted to be rifling through my musical history and calling it work.

“If the first series was about diagnosis and denial then the second series is about the journey that is undertaken when you ‘go public’ about the fact that your child is different”, he added. “This series is both about being the family with a child that is different in a small community, as well as being a part of the wider ‘autism community’ and all that this entails.”

UsUs, based on the David Nicholls novel of the same name, lls the story of Douglas and Connie Petersen, a couple whose marriage is on the rocks. When they go on a family grand tour of European cities, Douglas sees it as a last bid to win back the love of his wife, and repair his troubled relationship with his son. Reflecting David Nicholls’ signature mix of humour and heartbreak, Us will bring the Petersens’ poignant and often hilarious story to life, and take the audience with them on their once-in-a-lifetime trip across Europe.

Nick Payne, whose previous screen credits include the BBC One series The Secrets, is set to pen the scripts. A formal episode order has not yet been set, but the BBC has stated that it will be a “multi-part” adaptation. The Honourable Woman indie Drama Republic is producing, with Roanna Benn, Greg Brenman, Elizabeth Kilgarriff and David Nicholls serving as the executive producers.

“Drama Republic is hugely passionate about the work of both David Nicholls and Nick Payne, and so we are over the moon to be making Us for the BBC”, said Drama Republic’s Roanna Benn and Greg Brenman. “Us tells a universal story of a marriage in crisis, but from a uniquely brilliant perspective: minutely observed, deeply moving, very funny and full of surprises.”

Barbara WindsorBabs is a one-off drama about the life of acclaimed actress Barbara Windsor. The drama will be set in the 1990s and as Barbara is preparing to perform in the theatre that evening, she takes us on a journey of all the people and events that have shaped her career: her lonely childhood and complicated relationship with her father, to her doomed marriage to Ronnie Knight, capturing the attention of Joan Littlewood and becoming the blonde bombshell in the Carry On films.

Death In Paradise executive producer founder Tony Jordan is penning the script for Babs, which has been in the works at the BBC for more than two years. The BBC’s recently launched in-house division BBC Studios is producing in association with Red Planet Pictures. The executive producers are Lorraine Newman and Hilary Salmon for the BBC, and Tony Jordan for Red Planet Pictures.

“Although it’s been spoken about in the past to do my life story, it wasn’t until two years ago, when I was approached by the brilliant writer Tony Jordan and the BBC, that I knew this was the right time, and undoubtedly the only person I felt knew me well enough to tell my story”, said Dame Barbara Windsor.” Tony knows the real me and what makes me tick, and I was particularly taken by the way he wants to tell my tale, which is not in the way people will expect it to be. Tony certainly has captured the moments of my life that have made me who I am today. I am honoured and excited that Tony and the BBC have commissioned this.”