Episode 1 The A Word


Episode 1

Drama series. When Joe says the word 'autistic' for the first time, seeing it as something bad, Paul and Alison know they need to talk to him about it.


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Transcript


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# I was tired of being upset

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# Always wanting something I never could get

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# Life's an illusion, love is a dream

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# But I don't know what it is

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# Everybody's happy nowadays

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# Everybody's happy nowadays... #

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BELL DINGS

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Food for table three.

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There you go, a cappuccino.

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PHONE RINGS

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Hello?

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# Life's an illusion, love is the dream

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# Life's the illusion, love is the dream

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# Life's the illusion, love is the dream... #

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Stay back.

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I went up the ladder, but he started moving around

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so we're keeping it calm and low-key.

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Calm and low-key? It's not a hostage negotiation.

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What are his demands?

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A pizza and helicopter to Alton Towers? I'm here now.

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Fun time's over.

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We've rung his mum and dad.

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Look, we don't want to alarm him in case he falls.

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I've got it. Calm and low-key.

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Joe! Joe! Ground Control to Major Tom. Get down here now!

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Not so close to the edge, Joe.

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Hey! Joke's over, son. Now get down!

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I'm counting to three and you're coming down. One. Two...

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..three.

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Has anybody got a big net and a bag of crisps?

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Why didn't you keep your eye on him?

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I thought it was your job.

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I'm his Learning Support. I'm not with him every minute of the day.

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Well, who was, then? Buzz Lightyear? Now, come on, Joe!

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That's enough! Down! Down!

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All right, call off the Swat team. Batman and Robin have arrived.

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Mr Joe's Dad! It's Joe!

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It's Joe! He's doing a Joe!

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I can see. Thanks, Ramesh.

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Special needs is all well and good.

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That's enough, Mr Elliot.

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Well, this is a thing, little man.

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Everybody's Happy Nowadays. Buzzcocks. 1979.

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-Written by?

-Come down now, Joe.

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Everybody's Happy Nowadays. Buzzcocks. 1979. Written by?

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-Come down and I'll tell you.

-Written by?

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-No. That's not what happens.

-What happens?

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What happens is you come down and I'll tell you.

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Is Baby Emily here?

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Baby Emily is waiting in the playground.

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Everybody's Happy Nowadays. Buzzcocks. 1979. Written by?

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Hey? How did he get hold of your ladders?

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I were getting a football off the roof.

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Not, strictly speaking, part of my job description,

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but that's by the by.

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You couldn't stop him? A seven-year-old?

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I didn't see him.

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And even if I had, I couldn't've, you know, physically stopped him.

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Well, not without filling out a form in triplicate.

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Pete Shelley.

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Well done.

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Sorry, folks, sorry.

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As long as he's safe and sound.

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Yeah. Don't worry about it.

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I'm sure you'd rather he was sitting on the roof than

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hitting his head on his desk, hey? You're brilliant at handling it.

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I... I can't think how it must be for you.

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I've explained to my two that he's different so they're fine

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with it, but maybe not all the other kids are, you know?

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Yeah, thanks, Linda, but, erm, thanks again and sorry, folks.

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We'll sort it.

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Mr Joe's Grandad? Is Joe really in trouble?

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I doubt it, son.

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They'll probably give him

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a government grant for performing arts.

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Grab hold...grab hold of that.

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Did anything happen at school today, Joe, that made you sad?

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-Or upset?

-Let me see now.

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Why did you go up there, Joe? Were you missing Terry this afternoon?

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I was missing Terry this afternoon.

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Was it your school work? Something too hard for you?

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Was it my school work?

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Joe.

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Has someone been bullying you, Joe? Cos I tell you what,

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if a lad gives you a dig, you give 'em a dig back.

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-But ten times harder.

-Thanks, Maurice.

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OK. Let's try this.

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You went on the roof because...

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Because.

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-Joe?

-Because...

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I'm autistic.

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I'm autistic. I'm autistic. I'm autistic. Nobody wants that.

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Told you it was bullying.

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Maurice. Go and tell Louise that

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he won't be coming for his uke lesson today.

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Can't you phone her?

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Look, we owe her two weeks money and he needs his music for next week.

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Go on.

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-Hi.

-Hiya.

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Hello, Emily. I hope you've had a nice day with Alison.

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It's all in the book, OK?

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Oh, OK, quick, thank you!

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Pleasure.

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Now, then, young lady...

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Right, then, it's Wednesday, so it's pasta with tomato sauce,

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and banana for afters.

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Nicola.

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Oh, shit!

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Well, this is a surprise.

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And you know I don't like surprises.

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Well, we came to see you! Didn't we?

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Yes, we did!

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Hasn't she grown? And a lovely smile.

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Ye... Yeah, though I think her increasingly organised limb

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movements are more remarkable than a smile which has been around

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since she was six weeks and socially reinforced ever since.

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Where's Eddie?

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Eddie? Ah, what, what do you mean, where's Eddie?

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He's at work, of course. Eddie, Eddie's at work. Why?

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We just like to see both of you together, that's all.

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Are you all right?

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Like I said, I don't like surprises. And neither does Eddie.

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PHONE RINGS

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Eddie. Erm, there's a problem. You need to get here.

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Right now.

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Joe?

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Joe. You know that word you said? Autistic? Do you remember?

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Whole Wide World.

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Wreckless Eric. 1977.

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You know how you find some things a bit more difficult

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than the other kids?

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Let me see now...

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No. Hong Kong Garden.

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Siouxsie And The Banshees. 1978.

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So today, when you went up on the roof, what did you go up there for?

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Can you remember?

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Did somebody say something to you, Joe?

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The Haribos.

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What about the Haribos?

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-What about the Haribos?

-You didn't find them, did you?

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-No.

-Where didn't you find them?

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Under the sink.

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And where didn't you eat them?

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Under my bed.

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Right! OK. Right.

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Is it me or did he just do a number on us?

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I thought you were going to ask him what he thinks autistic means.

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Well, I thought you were.

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He clearly doesn't want to talk about it, does he?

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No. Because he thinks it's bad. Or wrong.

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No, we don't know that.

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Well, why else would he say, "Nobody wants that"?

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There's got to be something on the internet about this!

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Or we could talk to actual human beings that have been through

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the same thing.

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Please not the Parents Support Group.

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How can you say that when you've never been?

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Three little words. "Parents", "Support" and "Group."

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Three more. "Narrow", "Minded" and "Twat".

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It's like I've never been away.

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Ah, there she is! Oh, you're back.

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Ah, look at ya. My baby!

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All right?

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It's James.

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Alison.

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Oh, I think we met on Facetime once.

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Was that Uganda?

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You were moving around in the background in a very small towel. I don't remember the country.

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DOOR OPENS

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Guess who's here?

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Shrek.

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Not this time.

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Hello you.

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You went away and you came back.

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That's right!

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I've been back all the time.

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That's right.

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Something Better Change.

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The Stranglers. 1977.

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Correct.

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Joe won't be here today and they wanted you to have this.

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Thank you. He's not still on the school roof, is he?

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Ralph mentioned it.

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-No. No.

-Wait there. I've got next week's music for him.

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Hiya.

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-Tricky chord change from G to F.

-G to F, you're saying. G to F.

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Yes.

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You all right. You keeping busy?

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Yes, thank you.

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Just children you're teaching now, is it? No adults? No men?

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Or women? At all?

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No. Not at the moment. But, er, thanks for the interest.

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CAR APPROACHES

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CAR HORN BLARES

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That was so close.

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So close.

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You can give me a lift to the brewery.

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Have a look at that computer shit. You put it in wrong.

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Dad, it's you. Not the program.

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And I can't. Nicola needs me.

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Light bulb need changing, does it?

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So... Uganda. That must've been quite an experience.

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Yeah. Before that, worked on a conservation project in Zanzibar.

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-Wow.

-Freeing dolphins from tuna nets.

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Really?

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Really?

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-That's fascinating.

-You into conservation?

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Yeah, yeah. I do my bit.

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I can't pass a worm on a path without putting it

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in the nearest flowerbed.

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PAUL CHUCKLES

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Hiya, Eddie, we were wondering when you'd be back. Vincent!

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-How was the drive?

-Very, very fast.

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-Just keep pretending.

-I am pretending.

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Pretend you're still married? What would I do that for?

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Because I asked? And because everyone else has agreed

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to go along with it.

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But mainly because Nicola says so and she's got your cock in a noose.

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She just hasn't told her mum and dad yet that we've split up and I've moved away.

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It's been two years! We should have christened you Soft Touch and had done with it.

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Dad, just behave yourself.

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I'm not making any promises. Unlike you two on your wedding day.

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Right.

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OK, he's started using the word autistic.

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And we should have been ready for that, but we weren't.

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And worse than that, he clearly thinks it's a bad thing.

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We tried to talking to him about it, he doesn't want to, so I just, I don't really know what we do next.

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Well, maybe try talking to each other about it first.

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That's all we ever do.

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No, I mean, one of you pretend to be Joe,

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and then the other explain it to Joe so Joe understands.

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-OK, like role play?

-Yeah.

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Paul. Two more beers down this end when you're ready.

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Any chance your family could role play as paying customers?

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Who would have thought that offal could find its way into a salad?

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This is wonderful.

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You must know more than anybody in your line of work

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that marriages have their ups and downs, right?

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It's a long and winding road, that's for sure.

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Amen to that.

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Where's Emily? There she is.

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Always full of beans. Lining things up. Our Eddie was the same.

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'Cept in his case it was his mam's shoes, so,

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we've all got our crosses to bear.

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No offence.

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None taken.

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So let me get this right,

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Joe's the only one who doesn't know he's autistic?

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It's a little bit more complicated than that.

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So it's, like, what, a secret?

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No, no, it's not a secret, exactly.

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If you were keeping it a secret,

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maybe that's why he thinks it's a bad thing.

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Told you he's smart, didn't I?

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Way smarter than your last boyfriend.

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It's not exactly a high bar, though, James.

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-VINCENT:

-You don't get to win Hanwell Lads Welterweight three times on the trot

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without some staying power.

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-MAURICE:

-Oh, you boxed, did ya? I didn't know that.

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Do you like having a baby cousin, Joe?

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Joe.

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Do you like Baby Emily?

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I like Baby Emily.

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It's good practice for when you have a baby sister

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or brother of your own one day.

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We don't want another baby. We have enough with me.

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Oh, I see.

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Well, we like a man who speaks his mind, hey, Vincent?

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-Well done, Joe!

-THEY CLAP

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What if James has got a point?

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About what?

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That, that we're cowards, for not talking to Joe about his autism.

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Are you sure that's what he said?

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He didn't have to.

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I think he might be right.

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What was it Nicola said we should do again?

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Try talking to each other the way we would talk to Joe if he could understand.

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All right, well, you'd better start, then. I'll join in at the chorus.

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So, Joe, you know that word you used?

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BED SQUEAKS IN NEXT ROOM

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SQUEAKING CONTINUES

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Is that what I think it is?

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Yep. But I'm afraid to say it out loud.

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We should have got her that futon she wanted.

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SQUEAKING CONTINUES

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SQUEAKING

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AIR PUMP SQUEAKS

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She went straight off.

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Good as gold.

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-This is mad.

-I realise it's a difficult situation,

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but I think now the subterfuge has begun,

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it'd be even worse if we told them the truth.

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So I have to cancel t'ai chi

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and then humiliate myself to save you from feelings of embarrassment?

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Thank you for understanding.

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Strange, isn't it?

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You have seen me undress a thousand times

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and I have seen you undress a thousand times.

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But this feels uncomfortable

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because a previous intimacy has now been abandoned.

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Just so we're clear.

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You saying "undress" over and over really isn't helping much.

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You have watched me defecate whilst giving birth.

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I pretty much think we have nothing left to hide.

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I saw you defecate. I didn't watch.

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There's a crucial difference.

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Have to give you bigger portions next time.

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At the gastropub.

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Still got an appetite?

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For food. I meant.

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No, just, erm, just thirsty.

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-I'll bet.

-Hm?

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Help yourself.

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You don't have, erm, any energy drinks

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-or anything like that, do you?

-No energy drinks, no.

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Plenty of milk, though.

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Make yourself a Horlicks, if you like.

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Although you might want to put some clothes on before you do.

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Hot milk and bell ends are an accident waiting to happen.

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HE BREATHES HARD

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Anyone I know? What are you doing? It's two o'clock in the morning.

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Nervous tension.

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-He's got a tattoo with Becky's name on it.

-Is it spelt right?

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Don't think he's got much of a sense of humour.

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Cos he doesn't laugh at your jokes?

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No further questions, your honour.

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SHE LAUGHS

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Sorry. You don't mind, do you?

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No. Of Course not. Course not.

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Are you awake?

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Yeah.

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When you said "autistic", Joe,

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what do you think that word means?

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What do you think it means?

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-Come on, Paul. Stop dicking around.

-I'm not.

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I'm not, because that is what he's going to say, isn't it?

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-Because he doesn't know what it means.

-OK.

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Neither does anybody.

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OK. I'm sorry. Fair enough. Fair enough.

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Can you just, say what, what you think he might say.

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Er...

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I don't know what it means.

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But people keep using it about me.

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So I think it's got something to do with me and it might mean

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that I don't play football like the other boys...

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..and I go and play my music any time I can,

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and I like remembering songs and...and bands.

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And sometimes you get annoyed with me

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and you talk through your teeth and you say "I'm fine" -

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and that's how I know that you're annoyed with me.

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And you love me.

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And you think I'm the best boy in the world.

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And it's just a word.

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It's just a word and I'm going to have to get used to it.

0:22:310:22:34

Is there anything that you want to ask me now?

0:22:380:22:41

What do you think it means? Me being autistic.

0:22:430:22:46

He'd never ask that.

0:22:460:22:48

No, I know.

0:22:480:22:49

What do you see when you see me, huh? Mum?

0:22:530:22:57

I see a puzzle that I love.

0:23:030:23:04

A boy I thought was one thing and turned out to be another.

0:23:070:23:09

And I see a boy that sometimes has difficulties

0:23:130:23:16

making himself understood.

0:23:160:23:18

Half in and half out of the world.

0:23:200:23:22

We all have secrets and...

0:23:250:23:28

and hidden feelings, but yours are buried deeper, maybe.

0:23:280:23:31

And I see a boy who we might look after all our lives.

0:23:350:23:37

A boy that's loved, but might never find love with anybody else.

0:23:400:23:44

And that's... Sometimes that's hard for your mum and dad.

0:23:440:23:46

And maybe sometimes that makes it hard for you because...

0:23:480:23:52

sometimes you can see that in us...

0:23:520:23:53

..the panic.

0:23:560:23:57

MUSIC: Brassneck by The Wedding Present

0:24:090:24:11

# No, I sent you that letter

0:24:200:24:21

# To ask you if the end was worth the means

0:24:210:24:24

# Was there really no in-between?

0:24:240:24:27

# And I still don't feel better

0:24:300:24:32

# I just wondered if it could be like before

0:24:320:24:35

# And I think you just made me sure

0:24:350:24:38

# But that's typically you

0:24:390:24:41

# And I might have been a bit rude

0:24:410:24:43

# But I wrote it in a bad mood

0:24:430:24:46

# I'm not being funny with you

0:24:490:24:51

# But it's hard to be engaging

0:24:510:24:53

# When the things you love keep changing

0:24:530:24:56

# Brassneck!

0:25:020:25:03

# Brassneck!

0:25:070:25:08

# I just decided I don't trust you any more

0:25:100:25:14

# I just decided I don't trust you any more... #

0:25:140:25:18

Vardy. Leicester City.

0:25:200:25:22

Vardy. Leicester City.

0:25:260:25:29

Rashford. Manchester United.

0:25:290:25:31

Rashford. Manchester United.

0:25:330:25:37

Who's your favourite player?

0:25:380:25:40

Sorry to interrupt, guys, I just need to get to the kettle.

0:25:430:25:46

-Sorry.

-What do you think, Joe?

0:25:460:25:48

Manchester United.

0:25:480:25:50

No, no, no, no, no. That's your favourite team.

0:25:500:25:53

Marcus Rashford is your favourite player.

0:25:530:25:55

Right, go and get your stuff and I'll test you again on the way.

0:25:550:25:59

You said it. Last night. The panic he feels in us.

0:26:000:26:04

He worries that he doesn't fit in.

0:26:040:26:06

And this might be a way that he can.

0:26:060:26:08

He doesn't like football.

0:26:090:26:11

It doesn't matter. Football cards. Dates. Stats.

0:26:110:26:14

It plays to his strengths.

0:26:140:26:15

It's all the other lads talk about.

0:26:150:26:17

It's got to be worth a try, hasn't it?

0:26:170:26:19

I thought we were trying to work out how to talk to him.

0:26:190:26:21

We are. And we will. But this is something we can do right now.

0:26:210:26:24

Arms up!

0:26:280:26:29

Favourite player?

0:26:310:26:32

Marcus Rashford.

0:26:330:26:34

Stewed apple for pudding. No more sweet things.

0:26:390:26:41

Her or me?

0:26:410:26:42

Both!

0:26:420:26:44

According to my thermometer, Emily should be having her breakfast.

0:26:440:26:49

This is ridiculous.

0:26:520:26:53

Really? I think it suits you.

0:26:530:26:55

We are adults.

0:26:550:26:56

And I know your reasons for lying to your mum and dad...

0:26:560:26:59

For not telling them the truth.

0:26:590:27:00

Shall we just settle on misleading?

0:27:000:27:02

Go on.

0:27:020:27:04

Well, whatever your reasons, we can't go on like this.

0:27:040:27:06

Not least because this one will soon be able to talk

0:27:060:27:09

and when she does, she might just mention the fact that Mummy

0:27:090:27:12

and Daddy live in separate houses - in separate cities.

0:27:120:27:15

She might be a late talker.

0:27:150:27:18

We sit down and we tell them. Now. Agreed?

0:27:180:27:21

Your mother and I. We have some news for you.

0:27:260:27:29

-Typical.

-How did you guess?

0:27:310:27:33

-Guess what?

-You both smiled as though you'd guessed.

0:27:350:27:38

What's the news?

0:27:380:27:39

You tell us. You've clearly guessed.

0:27:390:27:42

Nobody's guessed.

0:27:420:27:43

The reason that Nicola was

0:27:430:27:46

looking at you like that is that we have some news of our own.

0:27:460:27:50

-We're splitting up.

-A trial separation.

0:27:500:27:52

-It's permanent.

-It's mutual.

0:27:520:27:54

I'm leaving him.

0:27:540:27:56

There's nobody else.

0:27:560:27:58

He had an affair.

0:27:580:27:59

-It's amicable.

-I hate him.

0:28:010:28:03

Right. Favourite player.

0:28:060:28:09

Marcus Rashford.

0:28:110:28:13

Who does he play for?

0:28:130:28:14

Manchester United.

0:28:140:28:15

Brilliant. Brilliant.

0:28:150:28:17

So if any of the lads ask about football, that's what you say.

0:28:170:28:21

All right? Top lad?

0:28:210:28:23

Top lad. Hair set to handsome.

0:28:230:28:26

Hair set to handsome.

0:28:260:28:28

BELL RINGS

0:28:280:28:30

Off you go, mucker.

0:28:300:28:31

IN POLISH:

0:28:560:28:58

I can see that Vincent might be a bit of a handful,

0:29:080:29:10

but it's a big decision to make at their age.

0:29:100:29:12

Certainly surprising.

0:29:120:29:14

Has somebody thrown this?

0:29:140:29:16

Big decision to make at any age come to that.

0:29:170:29:20

Indeed.

0:29:200:29:21

Which is why I appreciate you being supportive of my indecision over the years.

0:29:210:29:25

Is that's what you call it?

0:29:250:29:26

You two have had more reunions than Take That.

0:29:260:29:28

-No more.

-Then why lie to her mam and dad?

0:29:280:29:30

Because last time she told them, they gave her so much grief.

0:29:300:29:33

Wake up and smell the laundry.

0:29:330:29:35

Nicola doesn't want to admit to herself that it's over.

0:29:350:29:38

Dad, I have a new life in Manchester.

0:29:380:29:40

New, maybe. I doubt it's a life.

0:29:400:29:42

Hello, Ralph. How you doing?

0:29:440:29:46

Is that job still going?

0:29:460:29:48

Brewery Assistant? Yeah.

0:29:480:29:50

Can I apply?

0:29:500:29:51

'Course you can. 'Course you can. I'll get you the application form.

0:29:520:29:56

No need to look so nervous.

0:30:000:30:02

Don't worry, Ralph. He makes me nervous, too.

0:30:020:30:04

Don't tell my mum about this.

0:30:040:30:06

Fat chance of me having a conversation with your mum.

0:30:060:30:09

All right. I won't do, not if you don't want me to.

0:30:090:30:12

Has she said she don't want you working with me?

0:30:120:30:16

Has she said she's got a problem with me, like?

0:30:160:30:19

No. But she's not good with change.

0:30:190:30:21

-What?

-"Has your mum said anything about me?

0:30:260:30:29

"Does she ever talk about me at all?"

0:30:290:30:31

# I want you back

0:30:310:30:32

-# I want you back... #

-Oh, give over.

0:30:320:30:34

I was looking after Ralph.

0:30:340:30:36

"Perhaps you just don't want to admit to yourself that it's over."

0:30:360:30:40

First one to tell me the first sound they heard this morning?

0:30:470:30:51

-Maisie?

-A bird singing.

0:30:520:30:54

Very good. Maisie's table can go.

0:30:540:30:57

What sound did you hear this morning, Joe? Can you remember?

0:30:580:31:02

Ramesh?

0:31:050:31:07

A car. Probably diesel because of the sound of the engine.

0:31:070:31:10

Very good. Ramesh's table can go.

0:31:100:31:12

Joe?

0:31:130:31:14

What sound did you hear, Joe? Can you remember?

0:31:170:31:20

What did you hear, Joe? Just tell Miss! Tell her.

0:31:200:31:22

Can you think of anything?

0:31:240:31:26

Miss! Miss!

0:31:290:31:31

Was it a lamb bleating, Joe?

0:31:320:31:34

"Bleating". Good word, Ella. Joe's table can go.

0:31:340:31:39

I've got Theo Walcott, Robert Snodgrass and John O'Shea.

0:32:000:32:05

John O'Shea? Have you got Peter Crouch?

0:32:050:32:07

Yeah. My dad says he's just a beanpole.

0:32:070:32:10

Joe. Joe. What've you got? Hey?

0:32:100:32:14

Got any swaps?

0:32:190:32:21

Let me see now.

0:32:210:32:23

I don't think so.

0:32:260:32:27

Who's your favourite player?

0:32:280:32:31

Is it Aguero? Sterling?

0:32:310:32:33

Who's your favourite player, Joe?

0:32:330:32:35

Who does he play for? Chelsea? Or Spurs.

0:32:350:32:37

You've got to have a favourite.

0:32:370:32:39

Marty.

0:32:410:32:43

Marty the Zebra. Madagascar.

0:32:430:32:46

Eden Hazard.

0:32:490:32:50

-I gave you that yesterday.

-Didn't.

0:32:500:32:51

Anyway, Harry Kane is better...

0:32:510:32:54

# There she goes

0:32:550:32:58

# There she goes again

0:32:580:33:02

# Racing through my brain

0:33:020:33:07

# And I just can't complain

0:33:070:33:10

# This feeling that remains

0:33:100:33:14

# There she goes

0:33:160:33:20

# There she goes again

0:33:200:33:23

# Pulsing through my vein... #

0:33:240:33:28

Oi! Why can't you keep an eye on your ladders?

0:33:300:33:32

-Don't blame me cos you can't control your own kid.

-What? What did you say?

0:33:320:33:36

Paul!

0:33:360:33:37

-I think you and I need a word.

-What were you thinking!

-Joe's dad has every right to be angry.

0:33:370:33:41

Oh, God, are you all right?

0:33:410:33:43

Did you touch any moss up there? Or leaves?

0:33:430:33:45

I'm so sorry, Sarah.

0:33:450:33:47

He's never been good with heights.

0:33:470:33:49

I don't know how they let Joe get up there again.

0:33:490:33:51

I dare say he'll need an anti-histamine what with all

0:33:510:33:54

the excitement and dust, of course, but that's not your concern.

0:33:540:33:57

Ah, you're all right, aren't you, Bill?

0:33:570:33:59

You're tough as old boots, eh!

0:33:590:34:01

I know you mean well, Alison. He could've fallen.

0:34:010:34:05

And hit his head. They both could.

0:34:050:34:07

And I don't know how to say this, cos Joe is a lovely boy, but...

0:34:070:34:11

-But what?

-When things like this happen,

0:34:110:34:14

it's always Joe that they happen to, isn't it? Really?

0:34:140:34:16

I see. I didn't know you felt like that.

0:34:160:34:18

No other parent would be different. Sorry.

0:34:180:34:20

I know it's good up here, mate, but this has got to stop.

0:34:340:34:38

Marcus Rashford, Manchester United.

0:34:420:34:46

I can only apologise that this has been allowed to happen again.

0:34:580:35:00

Well, at least Joe had a mate up there with him this time,

0:35:000:35:04

it's kind of progress, isn't it?

0:35:040:35:06

I know we like to see the light side,

0:35:060:35:07

but he did set his mind on getting up there again and found a way.

0:35:070:35:10

-I worry what he might do next.

-Hang on.

0:35:100:35:12

He isn't the only kid to have had an odd bad day.

0:35:120:35:15

Well, his bad days used to be once a term, then once a week, but now they're every other day.

0:35:150:35:20

I do think that some of the children get upset

0:35:200:35:21

by some of Joe's behaviour, so that doesn't help him integrate.

0:35:210:35:24

The children have told you that, have they?

0:35:240:35:26

We've had feedback from some of the parents.

0:35:260:35:29

I think I can guess which ones.

0:35:290:35:30

We love Joe, we can handle Joe. The question

0:35:300:35:34

is whether Joe can handle this school any more.

0:35:340:35:37

I'll come in and talk to the parents.

0:35:370:35:38

Reassure them that there's nothing to worry about. Paul and I are happy to do that.

0:35:380:35:42

Yeah...

0:35:420:35:43

What are we going to say to the parents?

0:35:500:35:51

I haven't a clue.

0:35:510:35:52

Which is why we're going to talk to people at the support group.

0:35:520:35:55

I don't know if I can get cover tonight.

0:35:550:35:57

Come on. They're just people in the same boat as us.

0:35:570:36:01

People that've been through it.

0:36:010:36:03

And not a Fred Perry T-shirt between them.

0:36:030:36:05

What?

0:36:050:36:06

It's all a bit hand-knitted and cords.

0:36:060:36:08

-Are you serious?

-I'm sorry, it... it's the group thing. I...

0:36:080:36:11

Right, but you're perfectly happy to go to Old Trafford

0:36:110:36:14

with 65,000 strangers and chant inanely for two hours.

0:36:140:36:17

I'll see you there. 7.30.

0:36:170:36:19

It doesn't make any sense.

0:36:310:36:33

I just don't see the point of you separating at this stage of your lives.

0:36:340:36:37

Because we're so close to death, you mean.

0:36:370:36:40

Partly, yeah.

0:36:400:36:41

CRUNCHING

0:36:410:36:42

We should've broken up years ago, He's always been the same.

0:36:440:36:47

So it serves me right, really.

0:36:470:36:49

And, then, in the end is it better to

0:36:490:36:51

struggle on in a relationship or struggle on outside a relationship?

0:36:510:36:55

In the end, it's all a struggle.

0:36:550:36:56

Well, you know better than anyone.

0:36:560:36:59

Me? Is that why you made me cake?

0:36:590:37:03

So you can tell me you think I'm struggling?

0:37:030:37:05

I know it. And you hide it. Like I hide it.

0:37:050:37:09

To be fair, I knew, too.

0:37:100:37:12

Sorry. Sorry.

0:37:130:37:15

Welcome. Welcome, one and all.

0:37:150:37:17

Did you follow me?

0:37:170:37:18

I just wanted to tell my daughter that I don't want this.

0:37:180:37:21

-You should have thought of that before you slept with half the congregation.

-Oh, Mum, please!

0:37:210:37:26

-What?

-This explains so much.

0:37:260:37:27

And I want a word with you, Dr Graves.

0:37:270:37:29

Why are you pushing my daughter all hours when she has a baby at home?

0:37:290:37:33

Don't blame me. I have tried to challenge her dedication at every juncture,

0:37:330:37:36

but it's almost as if she enjoys the job.

0:37:360:37:38

-Tomorrow?

-We said a few days. It's been a few days.

0:37:420:37:45

Two days. Why are you so keen to get away?

0:37:450:37:48

Look at it. And it smells of animals and rain.

0:37:480:37:52

So did most of Africa.

0:37:520:37:54

Africa had heat, had mystery.

0:37:540:37:57

There's a nightclub in Keswick that's pretty mysterious.

0:37:570:38:00

Look, all I want is for us to get back to what it was like

0:38:000:38:04

when it was just us.

0:38:040:38:05

You know?

0:38:050:38:07

It was lovely. It is lovely.

0:38:100:38:14

But, well, I've not seen any of my school mates yet

0:38:140:38:17

and I've hardly spent any time with Joe.

0:38:170:38:19

Joe won't mind. Will you, Joe?

0:38:190:38:21

See. He doesn't mind.

0:38:250:38:26

-Don't do that.

-Do what?

0:38:260:38:27

You were making fun of him.

0:38:270:38:29

No, I wasn't.

0:38:290:38:30

It felt like you were.

0:38:300:38:31

Well, I wasn't.

0:38:310:38:33

Not the good suitcase. Haven't you put me through enough?

0:38:340:38:36

After 30 years of marriage, I think at least I deserve that!

0:38:360:38:39

Mum!

0:38:390:38:40

Look after yourself.

0:38:420:38:44

You too.

0:38:460:38:47

Your dad's a liar.

0:38:490:38:50

He can't help it.

0:38:500:38:52

I know.

0:38:520:38:53

So, do you want me to order you your own taxi, Vincent?

0:39:060:39:10

Or have you already arranged that?

0:39:100:39:12

No. No. I feel I should stay here for a few days.

0:39:120:39:15

-What?

-Sorry, Dad. That's not convenient.

0:39:150:39:19

Why? Because you and Eddie will have to pretend

0:39:190:39:21

you're still together until I'm gone. Is that what's bothering you?

0:39:210:39:24

I'm not stupid, Nicola.

0:39:240:39:26

Thanks for this, Alison.

0:39:460:39:48

My brain just goes to mush when I have to fill in a form.

0:39:480:39:51

No problem. I actually enjoy it.

0:39:510:39:53

I was that girl at school that used to colour code her notes.

0:39:530:39:55

Really? I'd never have guessed. Bet you ironed your pants as well.

0:39:550:39:59

I need to talk to Alison. You sit here with Jan.

0:40:010:40:05

We have tea and biscuits. We go home on the bus.

0:40:050:40:07

You need to talk to Alison. I sit here with Jan.

0:40:070:40:10

We have tea and biscuits. We go home on the bus.

0:40:100:40:13

Yep. Correct. All right?

0:40:130:40:15

It's all right.

0:40:150:40:16

OK?

0:40:170:40:18

Yeah, yeah. He'll be fine now.

0:40:180:40:20

Cool, OK, so...

0:40:200:40:21

this one is all done, this one is all done...

0:40:210:40:23

You know, when I first told our Mark he was autistic,

0:40:300:40:33

he was relieved.

0:40:330:40:34

He said he thought he didn't have any mates at school

0:40:340:40:37

because he was ugly.

0:40:370:40:38

-Oh, God.

-When I told the other parents, they ran a mile.

0:40:380:40:42

Now, they were ugly.

0:40:420:40:43

So, do you think I shouldn't bother talking to the parents?

0:40:430:40:46

I'm just not sure it's where you should be

0:40:460:40:48

putting your energies right now.

0:40:480:40:50

It's only if it helps Joe.

0:40:500:40:51

If it helps Joe? And how's that working out?

0:40:510:40:54

Cos it doesn't seem to me like the behaviour of a kid

0:40:540:40:56

who's happy to be at the school he's at.

0:40:560:40:58

We always said that he would go mainstream and local.

0:41:000:41:03

I mean we're... We're doing all this to get your Mark

0:41:040:41:06

back into mainstream.

0:41:060:41:07

Because that's what Mark wants. It's what he tells us he wants.

0:41:070:41:11

And he's 16. And six foot three.

0:41:120:41:15

LAUGHTER

0:41:180:41:20

-Sorry!

-Ah!

-Sorry.

0:41:200:41:23

-Sophie, this is my husband, Paul.

-Oh, hi!

0:41:230:41:25

-Hello. How are you? All right?

-Paul, this is Mark.

0:41:250:41:28

Hello, Mark.

0:41:280:41:29

Hello, hello.

0:41:290:41:31

This is Sophie, she's your new waitress.

0:41:310:41:33

What?

0:41:330:41:35

You need a part-time job and Paul needs the help.

0:41:360:41:38

Because, as you can see, he can't even make it to one meeting on time.

0:41:380:41:42

Wow. Er, thanks. I don't know what hours I could do.

0:41:420:41:45

Oh, Paul'll sort that. He's really flexible like that.

0:41:450:41:48

She's a hard woman to say no to.

0:41:480:41:50

Oh, I'm aware of that.

0:41:500:41:51

Also, Sophie was looking for someone to drive her

0:41:510:41:54

and Mark to gigs now and then so I thought you'd be up for that.

0:41:540:41:57

You don't have to, if you don't want to...

0:41:570:41:59

'Course he wants to. Mark's into indie.

0:41:590:42:01

-Is he?

-Yeah.

0:42:010:42:02

What bands you into, Mark?

0:42:020:42:04

I can't drive, you see, so it makes things difficult and, erm, yeah,

0:42:070:42:10

Mark loves a live band.

0:42:100:42:12

How's your waitressing?

0:42:120:42:13

Worse than my driving.

0:42:130:42:15

Thank you.

0:42:170:42:18

You're welcome! So welcome. Thank you for tonight.

0:42:180:42:20

Safe home!

0:42:200:42:22

-Yeah, yeah. Nice to meet you.

-Bye, Mark.

-See you at work.

-See you soon.

0:42:220:42:25

It got mad at the Fellside.

0:42:320:42:34

Really did, I was going to...try and get away earlier,

0:42:350:42:38

-but I couldn't, I just...

-No, no, you didn't try, Paul.

0:42:380:42:40

You sat outside in the car for two hours. Not coming in. I saw you.

0:42:400:42:45

So that's what the Sophie thing was about, was it?

0:42:490:42:52

Eh, stitching me up to give her a job.

0:42:520:42:54

No. No, that was about helping her out because she helped me.

0:42:540:42:59

It's called supporting each other.

0:42:590:43:01

It's what people do when they're all in the same boat,

0:43:010:43:05

bringing up a child that's different.

0:43:050:43:07

Well, I couldn't, I'm sorry.

0:43:070:43:09

Is that it?

0:43:100:43:12

I couldn't go in. I don't know why. I just couldn't, OK?

0:43:120:43:15

OK. Let's just say that Joe understands

0:43:240:43:27

what autistic means. Except that he doesn't, not really. Cos none of us do.

0:43:270:43:30

But let's just say that, that he sees some other kids,

0:43:300:43:34

more, you know, severely autistic than him.

0:43:340:43:38

Now, does he think that that's what autistic means?

0:43:380:43:41

Now, does he think that's how the world sees him?

0:43:410:43:44

How we see him?

0:43:440:43:46

Better that than he thinks it's a bad thing.

0:43:460:43:48

Might at least give him a sense of who he is. An identity.

0:43:480:43:52

Club Autistic. I bet it's got quite a waiting list.

0:43:520:43:56

If it helps to give him a feeling of belonging and support, why not?

0:43:560:43:59

But what about our club?

0:43:590:44:01

Eh? Me and you and Joe and Rebecca? Isn't that enough?

0:44:010:44:07

Not any more, no.

0:44:090:44:11

Look, we thought we were doing all right, turns out we weren't.

0:44:110:44:14

We need other people. We've always needed other people.

0:44:140:44:17

You saw that before I did.

0:44:170:44:18

I know. I just... I want to be the one with the magic touch.

0:44:180:44:22

With Joe. I just... I could always handle him.

0:44:240:44:27

I could always get through to him...in the end.

0:44:270:44:30

And it was a struggle, but I could always do it.

0:44:300:44:34

And it just... It felt better that way.

0:44:340:44:36

No, that's not true, is it? Made me feel better that way.

0:44:430:44:45

It's just in the last few months, I feel like I'm losing that.

0:44:500:44:53

I feel like I'm losing my boy.

0:44:550:44:57

So, first off, thanks, thanks to you and your kids for,

0:46:120:46:15

for doing your best to understand him - or at least trying to,

0:46:150:46:17

and for putting up with some of the things he does that are a bit...

0:46:170:46:21

Well, just out of the ordinary.

0:46:230:46:25

I know he can be distracting and, from what I hear these days,

0:46:260:46:30

upsetting to some of your children.

0:46:300:46:33

I get that the roof and the head banging are new

0:46:330:46:36

and they are hard to deal with.

0:46:360:46:38

And the running out the classroom.

0:46:380:46:39

Yep, that too, yep. But I'm not apologising for Joe.

0:46:390:46:43

I know there are a lot of good reasons for him to be here.

0:46:430:46:46

Nobody minds him being here at all.

0:46:460:46:48

OK, well, another way of thinking about that

0:46:480:46:50

is that it's good for your children to have him here.

0:46:500:46:53

For them to be around a child that's different,

0:46:530:46:55

that has a different way of looking at the world,

0:46:550:46:57

that communicates differently, that doesn't much care about, you know,

0:46:570:47:01

Sats or peer group approval or, God help us, football cards.

0:47:010:47:07

That's a privilege.

0:47:080:47:09

So I reckon with the right level of support

0:47:110:47:13

and the right attitude,

0:47:130:47:15

this school should do all right by children like Joe

0:47:150:47:18

and be a better school for having him.

0:47:180:47:20

Thanks, Alison. That's lovely, but can we get to specifics? About Joe.

0:47:200:47:25

And his behaviour. And what we can do about it.

0:47:250:47:28

We could. But we'd be wasting our time.

0:47:280:47:30

Because, well, Joe's not going to be coming here for very much longer.

0:47:300:47:34

We're going to find a school for him that's a bit more specialist.

0:47:340:47:38

It's not going to be easy. But that's what we're going to do.

0:47:380:47:41

I don't understand. When did you decide this?

0:47:410:47:43

When we realised that we were getting more out of the idea of him being integrated than he was.

0:47:430:47:47

So what's this all about? I thought you were going to reassure the parents.

0:47:470:47:50

I am reassuring the parents.

0:47:500:47:52

About the next child like Joe that comes here.

0:47:520:47:54

And the one after that...

0:47:560:47:57

A special school?

0:48:020:48:04

I thought you didn't want him going to a special school.

0:48:040:48:06

Well, it's not a special school.

0:48:060:48:08

It's, er, an autism unit in an ordinary school.

0:48:080:48:12

Well, you're still taking him out of the school he knows.

0:48:120:48:15

Well, something needed to be done. We've made the right decision.

0:48:150:48:20

Great. Good for you. What you talking to me about it for?

0:48:200:48:23

You've always got an opinion.

0:48:230:48:24

Well, you've never asked to hear it before.

0:48:240:48:27

Well, I'm asking for it now.

0:48:270:48:28

FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

0:48:280:48:29

I think my opinion giving days are behind me, Paul.

0:48:310:48:34

This job that Ralph has applied for with you.

0:48:410:48:43

Uh? What job?

0:48:430:48:45

He left the application form out, Maurice, so don't mess about.

0:48:450:48:48

Has he got any chance of getting it?

0:48:480:48:50

Yeah. He's a grafter. He's got a good job record.

0:48:500:48:53

We get on.

0:48:530:48:55

Well, that's good to hear.

0:48:550:48:56

Yeah, he's got a good chance and, er, if he does get it,

0:48:560:48:59

he'll get it on merit.

0:48:590:49:00

Well, that's great. Just make sure he doesn't, all right?

0:49:000:49:03

-What?

-Let him do the interview.

0:49:030:49:05

But, please, Maurice, don't give him the job.

0:49:050:49:07

-What? Why not?

-I can't tell you that. I just need you to promise me that you'll let him come close,

0:49:070:49:11

but not get the job in the end.

0:49:110:49:13

He's a grown man. He makes his own decisions.

0:49:130:49:15

I've got my reasons, I just don't want to go into them with you!

0:49:150:49:18

Oh, I get it.

0:49:180:49:20

Don't take it out on Ralph, you know, just cos you've still got a problem with me.

0:49:210:49:24

A problem with you? My God.

0:49:240:49:27

The view from your ego must be breathtaking.

0:49:270:49:29

Hard as it must be for you to believe, Maurice,

0:49:290:49:32

this isn't about you, it's about me.

0:49:320:49:34

And if what we had or didn't have means anything to you,

0:49:340:49:37

then that should be enough for you to do what I ask.

0:49:370:49:39

OK. OK. OK. I get the message. He won't get the job.

0:49:390:49:44

I promise.

0:49:460:49:47

Hiya.

0:49:520:49:53

Where's James?

0:50:120:50:13

DOOR BANGS

0:50:160:50:18

Do you love him?

0:50:330:50:34

Of course I love him.

0:50:340:50:35

We had tattoos done and everything.

0:50:350:50:37

"We"? Oh, wonderful.

0:50:370:50:39

Paul.

0:50:390:50:40

Look, in fairness to James, it must've been hard to come here

0:50:400:50:43

and meet your whole family in one go.

0:50:430:50:45

You had all that freedom...

0:50:450:50:47

No, it isn't that. It isn't that. Well, it is that.

0:50:470:50:51

-But it's more...

-How do you mean?

0:50:510:50:53

I know Joe takes a bit of getting used to. It's, like, I don't know,

0:50:530:50:57

it's like he's almost afraid of him.

0:50:570:51:00

Have you actually asked James about any of this?

0:51:000:51:02

No. We're not speaking.

0:51:020:51:04

Clearly. Look, stop trying to second guess what James is feeling

0:51:040:51:09

and just go and talk to him before it's too late.

0:51:090:51:12

Since when did you think talking about feelings was a good idea?

0:51:120:51:15

Oh, I don't. I just do it to annoy your dad.

0:51:150:51:17

Go on! Get after him.

0:51:170:51:19

He might be the love of your life or he might not,

0:51:190:51:22

but you need to find out and whatever happens,

0:51:220:51:24

we're here for you.

0:51:240:51:26

If you're happy, we're happy.

0:51:260:51:28

You're becoming all right, you know!

0:51:300:51:32

Can I have that in writing?

0:51:320:51:33

Just to be clear.

0:51:370:51:39

That was the old, "We want you to be happy but, please God, dump him"

0:51:400:51:43

tactic you just did then?

0:51:430:51:45

Correct.

0:51:450:51:46

Vincent, you're still here?

0:51:520:51:53

There's not a rail strike I don't know about, is there?

0:51:530:51:56

I just need a little time.

0:51:560:51:58

You've had a little time. Won't your congregation be missing you?

0:51:580:52:02

I've got a new curate. He's stepping in.

0:52:020:52:04

He won't even notice I'm gone.

0:52:040:52:06

You'll have to go back and face the truth some time.

0:52:060:52:09

Nicola's right, Vincent.

0:52:090:52:11

Perhaps I'll give it two years like you two did.

0:52:110:52:13

I didn't lie, by the way. About my marriage.

0:52:150:52:18

I just didn't tell you the truth.

0:52:180:52:20

You didn't feel you could tell your own mum and dad?

0:52:200:52:22

The last time I told you, I got nothing but judgment from you.

0:52:220:52:25

And I realise now that your response was partly you

0:52:250:52:27

projecting your own guilt on to my adultery.

0:52:270:52:30

I'm your dad, if you don't mind.

0:52:300:52:33

And I'm your ex-husband so, you know, we might want to be

0:52:330:52:36

moving this along to something slightly less incendiary.

0:52:360:52:39

I'm sorry, Eddie, but it needed to be said.

0:52:400:52:43

Again. Really?

0:52:430:52:44

OK, OK, you might have a point, Nicola. I've been thinking.

0:52:440:52:47

And praying. And this time, it's going to be different.

0:52:470:52:51

I'm glad to hear it.

0:52:510:52:52

I am going to redeem myself with you and God.

0:52:520:52:55

Just me would be a start.

0:52:550:52:57

I'm going to stay right here

0:52:570:52:58

and I'm not going to leave till I've got you two back together again.

0:52:580:53:02

James! James! Oh...!

0:53:100:53:13

You didn't get on.

0:53:230:53:24

Wasn't my bus.

0:53:240:53:25

Came after me.

0:53:310:53:33

I was just going to the shops.

0:53:330:53:35

You know we love you.

0:53:420:53:43

We love you.

0:53:440:53:46

Rolling Stones. 1967.

0:53:460:53:47

Sorry. Dad joke.

0:53:490:53:51

And you know you find some things harder than other kids?

0:53:530:53:56

Lost Weekend.

0:53:580:54:00

No, no, no, you don't, you don't get to ask a question.

0:54:000:54:02

Not till you've answered Mum.

0:54:020:54:04

What do you think autistic means?

0:54:060:54:08

Let me see now.

0:54:100:54:14

Well, it means....

0:54:140:54:18

It just means different, really.

0:54:200:54:22

I'm not the same.

0:54:260:54:28

Well, most of you is the same, but maybe a bit of you is different.

0:54:280:54:33

The bit that makes some things harder for you.

0:54:330:54:36

And some things easier.

0:54:360:54:38

Like you remember things better than the other kids and...

0:54:380:54:41

And the good news is that makes you Joe.

0:54:410:54:44

And Joe is an absolute belter.

0:54:440:54:47

"And the good news is we'll be landing immediately

0:54:470:54:50

"and the bad news is we're crash landing."

0:54:500:54:53

Joe.

0:54:530:54:54

Madagascar 2.

0:54:540:54:55

I know. I know.

0:54:550:54:57

I'm not the same.

0:55:000:55:01

Well, no-one's the same.

0:55:040:55:06

So... I am the same.

0:55:080:55:14

Well, everybody is a bit different.

0:55:140:55:18

And the bit of you that's different is autistic.

0:55:180:55:22

That's just what it's called.

0:55:220:55:24

I'm sorry. I'm very sorry.

0:55:270:55:29

No, no, no, hey, no, no, no, you don't, no,

0:55:290:55:31

that's not what we mean.

0:55:310:55:33

No, it's not that you've,

0:55:330:55:34

that you've done anything wrong or it's bad.

0:55:340:55:39

You never have to be sorry for this. Never.

0:55:390:55:43

Because we've all got things... We're all a bit broken, you know.

0:55:440:55:50

-We are.

-And...

0:55:520:55:55

-Just one thing.

-Yes.

0:55:550:55:57

I have a choc ice. In the freezer.

0:55:580:56:01

And it might be going mouldy.

0:56:010:56:04

No, no, it won't. You know that.

0:56:040:56:07

And from time to time you might need a bit more help.

0:56:070:56:09

But that's OK.

0:56:110:56:14

I don't want to talk about autistic any more.

0:56:170:56:19

Me neither, love, me neither.

0:56:190:56:23

Guess what?

0:56:360:56:37

James is staying.

0:56:370:56:39

Er, better than that.

0:56:390:56:41

We're engaged!

0:56:410:56:43

BOTH: Ah!

0:56:480:56:49

MUSIC IN HEADPHONES

0:56:510:56:53

# ..want to say

0:56:570:56:58

# There's nothing left I want to say

0:56:590:57:03

# There's nothing left I want to say

0:57:030:57:05

# Because I've put up with you for too long

0:57:050:57:09

# I thought I could stick with you but I was wrong... #

0:57:120:57:16

First day at a special school?

0:57:300:57:32

It's not a special school.

0:57:320:57:34

It's a specialist base.

0:57:340:57:35

Can we stop pretending that it's not just a bit weird?

0:57:350:57:37

It's not the way to my school.

0:57:370:57:39

You can see how it is with Joe at the moment.

0:57:390:57:41

They're going to need some help.

0:57:410:57:42

-We're supposed to be going to London. I've got a job lined up in a recording studio.

-No, you haven't.

0:57:420:57:46

You get on better than most couples that are together.

0:57:460:57:49

The reason being we aren't together.

0:57:490:57:50

-You promised me.

-Because I won't do your dirty work without knowing why.

0:57:500:57:53

Maybe it's just too big a change for him.

0:57:530:57:55

It's day one, Paul.

0:57:550:57:57

Exactly. Which means we can change our minds.

0:57:570:57:59

Two years on, in the idyllic landscape of the Lake District, seven-year-old Joe is growing up and changing. He has started to notice he's different from other kids. And when he says the word 'autistic' out loud, seeing it as something bad, Alison and Paul know they must talk to their son. But how do they broach the subject with a child for whom language is already a struggle? And how do they respond to the news that Joe is struggling at school far more than they thought?

Also growing up is Joe's sister, Rebecca. Now 19, she's been travelling round Africa on a gap year and crashes back into the family home with a backpack, a tattoo and a boyfriend, James. Having met Rebecca's family, and her kid brother, James can't wait to get away again. But it's clear Rebecca has other ideas.

Two years after splitting from Nicola, Eddie is the one that got away. He has a new life in Manchester, with a flat and a good job. But he can't quite shake the old Eddie off, not least because Nicola keeps dragging him back to the Lakes. Having never told her parents that she and Eddie are divorced, Nicola is horrified when they turn up for a surprise visit.

Maurice is feeling awkward too when he finds himself on old flame Louise's doorstep. They've hardly spoken in two years, but all that's about to change when Louise's son Ralph applies for a job at Scott's Brewery.