One of BBC One’s most popular drama series has begun filming its spin-off show in Manchester this week.
The A Word – which follows a young boy and his family to show how they cope with the revelation that he has autism spectrum disorder – drew in millions of viewers and developed a dedicated fanbase after running for three series between 2016 and 2020, and now, production has started on its spin-off.
The new miniseries Ralph & Katie will continue the story of two fan-favourite characters, Ralph and Katie Wilson.
The BBC has revealed that each of the six episodes in the series will feature a different story focusing on the domestic challenges the couple face, which are said to be “issues faced by all newlyweds, but with an added ingredient in the mix being that the couple have Down’s syndrome”.
Leon Harrop and Sarah Gordy both reprise their roles for the series.
Pooky Quesnel will also reprise her role as Ralph’s mum Louise, Nigel Betts and Sherry Baines as Katie’s parents Steve and Clare, and Matt Greenwood as Tom.
Other new and familiar faces heading to Manchester’s Space Studios and stunning locations in the Lake District include Craig Cash as Brian, Dylan Bradys as Dan, Jamie Marie Leary as Emma, Sam Retford as Gary, and Daniel Cerqueira as Dr Graves, who have all played parts in a number of popular Manchester and Northern-based shows in recent years.
The groundbreaking spin-off series is created by Peter Bowker, who is also lead writer, as he was on The A Word, while the rest of the writing team is made up entirely of new and emerging disabled writers.
Those writers are Amy Trigg, Annalisa Dinnella, Genevieve Barr, Tom Wentworth, and Lizzie Watson.
Speaking as production began, Peter Bowker said: “The writing team have delivered a series of scripts that are full of joy, humour, and authenticity, and it will be exciting to see the wonderful cast bring them to life under the direction of the force of nature that is Jordan Hogg.”
In a bid to encourage a more inclusive future behind and in front of the camera, ITV Studios and BBC Drama are teaming up with TripleC DANC on Ralph & Katie to offer behind the scenes access for those across the North West who are deaf, disabled, autistic and neurodivergent, and interested in how a high-end TV production is made to kick-start their career.
Those on the programme will have access to meetings with various heads of departments as they discuss scripts, location scouting, scheduling, budgeting, set design, and wardrobe, and paid trainees have also been recruited in casting, ADS, Production, Costume, Unit Stills, and EPK.
“We’re embarking on something that’s never been attempted in our industry,” explained award-winning series director Jordan Hogg, who is himself disabled.
“We’re changing the world.”
Ralph & Katie will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer later this year.
Featured Image – BBC
Portugal deny claims Ronaldo threatened to leave World Cup after being benched
Portugal have denied recent claims that Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to leave the 2022 World Cup after he was benched before their match against Switzerland.
Speaking in an official statement, the Portuguese FA rubbished a number of reports that their all-time leading goalscorer and national hero threatened to leave the tournament following manager Fernando Santos’ decision to drop him ahead of the game in the round of 16.
Ironically, the previous European champions weren’t left in short supply of goals, as they went on to win in a staggering 6-1 victory against the Swiss, with Ronaldo only coming on for 17 minutes at the end.
Nevertheless, the Portugal Football Federation (FPF) has insisted that no such conversation took place between the player and head coach Santos. As per national outlet A Bola, Ronaldo has apparently also made it clear that his country’s success at Qatar 2022 is his top priority.
The FPF went on to clarify in the statement: “Cristiano Ronaldo builds up a unique track record every day at the service of the national team and the country, which must be respected and which attests to the unquestionable degree of commitment to the national team.”
They also went on to thank him for his dedication and continued contribution to the squad by coming on as a substitute regardless of his reaction to being dropped.
The statement concludes by saying that the “players, coaches and FPF structure is, as it has been since the first day, fully committed and enthusiastic in building what the country wants to be Portugal’s best-ever participation in a World Cup.
Featured Image — Portugal/Cristiano Ronaldo (via Twitter)
Peter Kay issues heartfelt thanks to Manchester fans and teases ANOTHER big announcement
Peter Kay has sent a lovely message to fans in Manchester after making his triumphant return to the live scene last weekend.
The Bolton comedian has just ticked off the first two nights of a mammoth run at the AO Arena, which includes 42 Manchester shows between now and 2025.
On his opening night – his first real venture into the spotlight since he largely stepped away from the public eye 12 years ago – he was moved to tears by the standing ovation he received before he’d even started the show.
And now Peter has issued a heartfelt thank you message.
He said in a statement: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came to the first shows in Manchester.
“It was incredible to be part of such a happy experience.
“Everybody deserves a bit of joy. Here’s to a lot more in the shows to come!!”
And that’s not all – his post also hinted that there’s yet another announcement to come (because apparently more than 100 tour dates and breaking the internet with ticket demand wasn’t enough).