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Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

EVEN-YEAR-OLD Joe Hughes was sit­ting on the roof of his school as this sec­ond se­ries be­gan last week, dan­gling his feet from up high.

Aside from the ob­vi­ous short-term trauma, it also meant that Joe’s par­ents, Ali­son (Mor­ven Christie) and Paul (Lee In­gleby) were forced to face the re­al­ity that Joe might not cop­ing with his school as well as they thought.

And so ev­ery­thing moves on. Now Joe is pre­par­ing for his first day at a spe­cial­ist school in Manch­ester. There are prob­lems as the changes up­set Joe’s rou­tine, but there’s also com­edy from no-non­sense grand­dad Mau­rice (Christo­pher Ec­cle­ston) – “They set­tled me into school with a Chi­nese burn and a dead leg”.

There’s a clever scene when Joe joins his new class­room for the first time, ten­ta­tively lured in by the chance to com­plete a puz­zle, while Ali­son and Paul, look­ing around at the other chil­dren, are clearly un­com­fort­able. “Can we stop pre­tend­ing that it’s not just a bit weird?” says Paul.

Bril­liantly acted, this is a charm­ing and hon­est por­trayal of a fam­ily learn­ing to cope with autism and spe­cial needs. And it also has a stonk­ing sound­track of 70s and 80s mu­sic, heard through the head­phones that Joe (Max Vento) wears when­ever pos­si­ble.

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