Peter Bowker's BBC1 drama The A Word is back for series two – and Joe is growing up. This warm, funny and moving drama shows us how the Hughes family is coping with young Joe's autism and whether they're finally learning to communicate with each other.


Here are all the characters you need to meet – and where you've seen the actors before:

Morven Christie plays Joe's mum Alison Hughes

Morwen Christie plays Alison in The A Word

Who is Alison in The A Word? Alison's world was turned upside down in series one when her young son Joe was diagnosed with autism. Since then she and husband Paul have been trying to cope with the challenges he's faced – and with the issues that raises in their marriage.

Where have you seen her before? Morven Christie has played Amanda Hopkins in Grantchester, Zoe Morgan in Hunted and Fi Healey in Twenty Twelve. She also appeared in 2015 Doctor Who double bill Under the Lake / Before the Flood as O'Donnell.

Lee Ingleby plays Joe's dad Paul Hughes

Lee Ingleby plays Joe's dad Paul in The A Word

Who is Paul in The A Word? Paul is Joe's father. He, too, has been struggling to cope with his son's autism diagnosis and the difficulties he's faced so far. In series one we saw him trying to get his new gastropub off the ground while coping with the problems at home.

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Where have you seen him before? Lee Ingleby has just come to the end of his time as DI John Bacchus in Inspector George Gently as the series wraps up for good. He has also played George Mottershead in Our Zoo and Alan in White Heat – but he will be forever remembered as Knight Bus conductor Stan Shunpike in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Christopher Eccleston plays Joe's grandad Maurice Scott

Christopher Eccleston as Maurice in The A Word

Who is Maurice in The A Word? Maurice is Alison's father and Joe's grandfather. A widower, he lives nearby and loves to get himself involved in his children's personal business – whether they want him there or not. Maurice has an abrasive and blunt personality.

Where have you seen him before? Of course, Christopher Eccleston is instantly recognisable as Doctor Who. Since quitting that role in 2005, he's been in Heroes, The Shadow Line, Fortitude, and Safe House.

Max Vento plays autistic child Joe Hughes

Max Vento plays autistic Joe in The A Word

Who is Joe in The A Word? Joe Hughes is the boy at the heart of The A Word. Diagnosed with autism just after starting school, he struggles with communication and seems to live in his own world. Joe loves music and prefers to have his headphones on at all times, listening to his favourite songs on repeat. It can be hard to get through to him.


Where have you seen him before? The A Word is Max's first TV role. His biography on his agent's website reads: "I am a typical little boy who loves drama and acting. I have appeared in Annie and I have also appeared in a commercial for Better Bathrooms last year."