It’s been two years since we saw Ralph and Katie tie the knot in the third season of hit drama The A Word. The wedding scenes aired during lockdown provided the celebration of love and diversity that we all needed at the time.
Now the much-loved characters (played by the brilliant Leon Harrop and Sarah Gordy) have inspired their own six-part spin-off series which will offer fans an insight into their first year of marriage. Ralph & Katie will focus on domestic challenges faced by newlyweds, with the added ingredient being that the couple has Down’s Syndrome.
Joining writer Peter Bowker are d/Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent writing talent Genevieve Barr, Annalisa Dinnella, Amy Trigg, Lizzie Watson and Tom Wentworth. Bafta-winning Jordan Hogg (a director with cerebral palsy) completes the team.
Harrop and Gordy are reunited with Pooky Quesnel, who reprises the role of Louise, Ralph’s mum; Nigel Betts and Sherry Baines, who play Katie’s parents Steve and Clare; and Matt Greenwood, who previously delighted fans as Tom.
It’s an exciting time to be back in the titular roles, says Harrop, who made his acting debut in 2009 in an episode of The Street and has since gone on to star in Sky comedy drama Brassic among others.
“I felt really excited and so happy that they were continuing the story of Ralph and Katie,” said the 30-year-old. “I love playing Ralph because he’s funny and cheeky. He likes to look after Katie and is trying to be more independent.”
“After that lovely wedding in The A Word, I wanted to know what married life would be like for Ralph and Katie,” added Gordy, 46, who’s known for The Long Call and Strike.
“Katie had refused to be married in an ordinary white dress so I expect Ralph and Katie will do it their way.”
Above all, starting with a double bill on Wednesday, the series champions inclusivity and disability. And it does it all against the backdrop of the everyday, relatable challenges that come as part and parcel of family life. It’s an important story to tell, said Harrop, as “it shows people that if you are born with a disability, it’s not the end of the world. We can still have amazing lives too.”
“Diversity is what real life is,” added Gordy. “We are all different and Ralph and Katie have the ability to liberate others to be what they want to be. Everybody has a lot to learn.
“It is not all easy for Ralph and Katie but there is always love and honesty at the centre. We are all different, which is a liberating thought. And really importantly this story has joy.”
Ralph & Katie, BBC1, Wednesday, 9pm
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