Ground-break­ing com­edy There She Goes

David Ten­nant and Jes­sica Hynes on the joys of play­ing the par­ents of a se­verely learn­ing dis­abled child in a ground­break­ing new se­ries…

TV Times - - My Tv Times Week - Emma Bul­limore

There She Goes Tues­day / BBC4 / 10Pm

You may re­mem­ber Shaun Pye for his per­for­mance as Ricky Ger­vais’ neme­sis Greg in Ex­tras. Now he has writ­ten a very dif­fer­ent com­edy for BBC4, based on his own ex­pe­ri­ences of be­ing Dad to a learn­ing dis­abled daugh­ter, who was born in 2006 with a chro­mo­so­mal dis­or­der that doc­tors are still try­ing to di­ag­nose.

‘Peo­ple have asked if com­edy is the right fo­rum for this, but there have been lots of sit­coms about chil­dren, like Out­num­bered, that have drawn on the writ­ers’ ex­pe­ri­ences of their own kids. Why should my daugh­ter be excluded from that?’ says Shaun.

‘She’s amaz­ing, funny, ir­ri­tat­ing and lovely in her own unique way – why should we wrap her up in cot­ton wool? Like­wise, the lan­guage isn’t al­ways po­lit­i­cally cor­rect, be­cause when we had her, I didn’t know the right terms to use.’ There She Goes sees David Ten­nant play Shaun, while Jes­sica Hynes is his wife. The five-part se­ries tells an hon­est, per­sonal story of a fam­ily com­ing to terms with hav­ing a child, Rosie, who re­quires so much more at­ten­tion, love and pa­tience than they were ex­pect­ing.

Here, David, 47, and Jes­sica, 45, tell TV Times more…

What made you want to be a part of this se­ries?

David: I was so moved by it when I first read it; it was un­like any­thing I’d ever seen. It seemed so hon­est and can­did. I knew Shaun a bit but I had no idea that this was his life. It’s a story that needs to be told. Jes­sica: Par­ent­hood changes you and, al­though this story is about a very spe­cific ex­pe­ri­ence, some of the emo­tions were just so re­lat­able. As par­ents we all feel like we’re fail­ing and we look at other peo­ple think­ing, ‘Oh, they’re so happy and bril­liant,’ but ac­tu­ally most peo­ple find it dif­fi­cult. There’s a con­spir­acy of si­lence but there is an­other side to it, and this se­ries goes there.

After a lot of con­sid­er­a­tion, it was de­cided it would be un­fair to ask a learn­ing dis­abled ac­tor to play Rosie. What was it like work­ing with young star Mi­ley Locke? David: She’s ex­tra­or­di­nary, maybe it’s be­cause she’s young and so she lacks a cer­tain self-con­scious­ness that an older ac­tor might have.

She could turn on a dime – she talked a lot about her puppy right up to when they called, ‘Ac­tion!’ and then sud­denly she dis­ap­peared into the char­ac­ter of Rosie – it was a real mas­ter­class! We were very lucky to find her.

It’s a very emo­tional sub­ject but the se­ries is a com­edy – how cru­cial was it for this story to be told with hu­mour?

Jes­sica: I think it’s im­por­tant to tackle ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing with hu­mour, there’s noth­ing that doesn’t ben­e­fit from it.

David: We never felt that we were mak­ing a BBC com­edy par­tic­u­larly – there was never a pres­sure to have a laugh ev­ery three min­utes. This is Shaun and his fam­ily’s real life, we’re not try­ing to give an ob­jec­tive per­spec­tive of life with

dis­abil­ity – no scenes in the show are made up – so we just tried to tell the story as it is.

What do you hope view­ers will feel when they watch the show? David: It al­lows you to think about how you would be in that sit­u­a­tion, to ask ques­tions about your­self as a par­ent and see the world as oth­ers see it. Good TV helps you to have a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on life, and this is def­i­nitely one we haven’t seen be­fore on tele­vi­sion.

Jes­sica: It was a real priv­i­lege be­ing part of it and, maybe I’m a bit of a fraud for feel­ing this way, but, if I see some­one out with a learn­ing dis­abled child now I feel like they are my peo­ple. And I think if you got into the show as a viewer and you loved it, it might make you feel like that too.

There She Goes Is PRE­VIEWED on pages 58-59

Good TV helps you to have a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on life, and this is one we haven’t seen be­fore… David Ten­nant

Writer: Ex­tras star Shaun Pye drew on his own ex­pe­ri­ences

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