BBC One Commissions ‘The A Word’

BBC One Commissions ‘The A Word’

November 28, 2014

Written by Jade Downes

Ben Stephenson, BBC Controller: Drama Commissioning has announced the commission of The A Word, a six part drama series to be co-produced by Fifty Fathoms Productions, Tiger Aspect Productions and Keshet UK.

The A Word is based on the Keshet International and July August Productions’ series and drama format which was written and created by Keren Margalit. The A Word has been developed and written for BBC1 by Peter Bowker (Marvellous, Occupation, Blackpool).

The A Word is the story of the Scott 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 and what it is like to have a child who fails to fit the mould.

The A Word will be Executive Produced for Fifty Fathoms and Tiger Aspect by Patrick Spence and Peter Bowker. Executive Producers for Keshet are Sara Johnson, Avi Nir and Keren Margalit. Lucy Richer will Executive Produce for BBC One.

Peter Bowker said, “I loved the original series and wanted to honour its spirit while writing something new.  We have the opportunity here to make something funny, tough, realistic and inventive about contemporary family life and autism. In a society where imperfection increasingly comes with blame attached it seems timely to look at how autism is regarded both within a family and the wider community – and to give some insight into how that experience might be for the child on the autistic spectrum.  It’s a drama full of ideas – about parenthood, about disability, about communication, about community – and will emphatically engage an audience whatever their experience of the subject”. 

Sara Johnson, Head of Drama and Co-productions at Keshet UK, added, The A Word is so close to our hearts at Keshet, Keren Margalit’s original version is a beautiful series and a story which we are so proud and excited to share with the world. We couldn’t be happier to have found the ideal partners to do this in the brilliant Peter Bowker, along with Fifty Fathoms under the capable lead of Patrick Spence, and the perfect home on the BBC1 platform.”

Filming will commence in summer 2015.  Further production and cast credits will follow.  A TX in early 2016 is currently anticipated.


For further information please contact:                                                                                                       

Iain McCallum

Head of Press and PR Fifty Fathoms/Tiger Aspect

00 44 207 434 6727

00 44 7771 636612


Laura Saunders

Senior PR Manager

Keshet International

T: +44 207 771 0043


About Fifty Fathoms Productions

Fifty Fathoms was set up in 2010. We are a boutique label, producing drama for British and international broadcasters.

At Fifty Fathoms, we create an environment in which a writer can deliver their boldest work; and we will do whatever it takes to champion and protect the uniqueness of their vision.

Writers we are working with include: Ronan Bennett, Peter Bowker, Clara Brennan, Bill Gallagher, Guy Hibbert, Robert Jones, Lucy Kirkwood, Graham Moore, John Ridley, Heidi Thomas and Jack Thorne. We are developing projects for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Sky; and we have a key supplier development deal to develop further series for Sky Atlantic.

We have recently wrapped on two productions:

FORTITUDE (Simon Donald) is a 12 x 60’ crime thriller set in the Arctic Circle for Sky Atlantic and Pivot, directed by Sam Miller, Richard Laxton, Hettie MacDonald and Nick Hurran, starring Sofie Grabol, Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Richard Dormer, Chris Ecclestone, Luke Treadaway, Jessica Raine, Veronica Echegui, Nicholas Pinnock and Johnny Harris.  This will transmit early 2015.

MARVELLOUS (Pete Bowker) is a 90’ single film for BBC2, directed by Julian Farino and starring Toby Jones and Gemma Jones.    This transmitted on September 25th.

Fifty Fathoms sits under the umbrella of Tiger Aspect and Endemol.


Contact us

4th Floor, Shepherds Building Central, Charecroft Way, London W14 0EE
+44 (0) 20 7434 6700

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