New comedy-drama Ralph & Katie is a spin-off from The A Word and focuses on the two titular characters who were first seen in that original show, played by Leon Harrop and Sarah Gordy, both actors with Down's Syndrome.


The show's writing team was also made up completely of emerging disabled writers, while director of all six episodes, Jordan Hogg, is also disabled.

At an event for the series attended by and other press, Hogg explained that the team looked to make the set "accessible to everybody" by putting in place reasonable adjustments on set with the show's creative coach, Jess Mabel Jones.

Hogg detailed some of these adjustments, saying: "If you look at it crudely, [Jess] is like an interpreter, essentially, for Leon and Sarah - she helps Leon and Sarah with these techniques. And we were kind of pioneering really, we were kind of figuring it out, going through a series of different techniques."

Dylan Brady as Danny and Leon Harrop as Ralph in Ralph & Katie.
Dylan Brady as Danny and Leon Harrop as Ralph in Ralph & Katie. BBC/ITV Studios

Hogg continued: "We had a technique called mirroring, where nine times out of ten, Jess did a performance and Leon and Sarah gave the performance back to the camera. So I could sit at the monitor thinking, 'Oh I can use that line, I can use that cut'. But sometimes we needed to go to nuclear, so I had to perform a scene to Leon and he performed it back to me.

"But I had no idea of what shot I had or what I could use or what I couldn’t use because obviously I couldn’t see what was going on on the other side of the camera. But as a director to try and get inside the character’s head like that and perform and get the right stuff from the guys was great.

"We didn't just put in stuff for Leon and Sarah, we totally changed the industry in how we’ve done them, we were accessible to everybody. We did an easy read call-sheet which, if you look at call-sheets, it's like looking at the Matrix. But we did a really simple call, it was just time for breakfast, time for lunch and all the scenes we're doing and that was it."

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Hogg explained that everyone on the production also wore name badges, including "their name on it, their job and their pronouns and something they liked". Hogg said this was partly because "nine times out of ten people don't know what a grip does, people don't know what a best boy does and what-not".

He continued: "You could just go up to these people and ask them what their job does. It started conversations and things, just created a nice environment for everybody.

"And these things we did just literally cost nothing. It was ultimately the will we had to make this accessible to everybody, that's all it took, and all we thought about was everybody’s individual needs, we treated everybody as an individual, not as a whole."

At the same event, Hogg also explained why he wanted to show to be "the British version of This Is Us", saying: "I think the audience will very quickly learn that everybody needs a bit of Ralph and Katie in their life."

Ralph & Katie is available in full on BBC iPlayer now, while the first two episodes air on BBC One at 9pm and 9:30pm. Check out our Drama hub for more news, interviews and features or find something to watch with our TV Guide.


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