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The A Word star Pooky Quesnel reveals moving true story behind character's plot

Are you enjoying the BBC drama?

Francesca Shillcock

The A Word on BBC has recently returned for its third series and viewers have been loving watching the latest instalment. The drama, which stars Christopher Eccleston, Morven Christie and Lee Ingleby, tells the story of the Hughes family after their son Joe's autism diagnosis. While it's a situation that many families can relate to, one of the show's stars, Pooky Quesnel, revealed recently that a close friend gave her first-hand advice on her character's plot based on her own experience.

Pooky, who plays Louise, a music teacher and mum to Ralph who has Down's syndrome, revealed that her friend had given her guidance on how Louise would handle their family's situation in real life. Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, the actress explained: "I've got a friend who's an educational psychologist, and when I first got the script and I said, 'Ralph's going to get married', she went: 'Oh god, Louise won't like that. The parents I know, they really, really struggle letting the kids have their independence because their whole life has been defined, and their whole selves have been defined, in this carer role.'"

MORE: Meet the cast of BBC's The A Word ahead of third series

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Pooky plays Louise in the BBC drama

Pooky added: "[And] all of a sudden, they've got to release the reins – and Louise is the uber-control freak." The show's other star, Christopher Eccleston, who plays Louise's love-interest and Joe Hughes' grandfather Maurice in the programme, echoed the drama's ability to connect with real-life situations. "Everybody seems to be touched, in some way, by autism or Down's syndrome […] People are going to be watching it in lockdown, and it's about families being on top of each other and involved in each other's lives," he explained.

MORE: Inside Killing Eve star Jodie Comer's home in Liverpool

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Pooky with her on-screen son Ralph

Fans of the BBC drama have been singing its praises since it first appeared on screens for sensitively and accurately portraying families dealing with diagnoses of autism. Taking to Twitter, many expressed their love for the show. One person wrote: "Just started catching up on #theAword was a bit too close to home in 2016 when first aired as we were going through diagnosis with my son but captures the emotions. Amazing! @theaworduk," while another fan commented: "Just finished Series 3 of The A Word. Such a brilliant series, laughed and cried too many times. So brilliant to have the light shining on Autism in the mainstream without it being all the show is about. Well done. Perfection #theAword."

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