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Royle Family star Craig Cash opens up on A Word spin-off role

BBC: Trailer for Ralph & Katie starring Pooky Quesnel

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Fans of BBC’s The A Word, which ran for three series from 2016 to 2020, will remember sweet couple Ralph Wilson (played by Leon Harrop) and Katie Thorne (Sarah Gordy) who captured viewers’ hearts. The two are now featuring in an uplifting spin-off show set to launch this week. Craig, who played Dave Best in hit comedy The Royle Family from 1998 to 2000, also stars a harmless but awkward neighbour of the couple called Brian, and talked about his similarities to the character.

Fans will remember Ralph and Katie weren’t the central focus of The A-Word, which depicted the life of a family who are constantly learning about autism when their young son, Joe Hughes (Max Vento) is diagnosed with the condition.

Ralph and Katie are a married couple who are living with Down’s Syndrome.

Despite Ralph’s interfering mother Louise Wilson (Pooky Quesnel) often making things difficult, the pair are surrounded by supportive friends and family.

The highly-anticipated spin-off sees a few familiar faces from the original cast but also features some new characters.

Among these is Brian, Ralph and Katie’s nosey and chatty neighbour who often “puts his foot in it”.

Speaking to press, Craig was asked to describe the character.

“I think he’s like a well-meaning pain in the a***,” Craig commented.

Talking about whether Brian’s occasionally thoughtless lines teach the audience, Craig said he “hoped so”.

“I don’t know, I do hope so,” he replied. “As I said, he is well-meaning but he puts his foot in it, I guess like everybody else does.”

When asked if Brian’s perspective is similar to how Craig himself views the world, he laughed.

“I don’t think so! I certainly hope not. I don’t think he thinks he’s being funny in any way, I think he’s just being honest.

“He’s a bit boring, he’s a bit kind of lonely, really. His wife’s left him, for obvious reasons.

“He’s just trying to fill the blanks in his own life by being over-efficient with those that don’t really need him.”

When asked where he’d like the relationship between Brian and Ralph and Katie to go in a second series, the actor joked: “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask the writers!”

He continued: “I like it when he feels a bit paternal towards them, they’re like the kids he never had.

“Maybe he can get off with another neighbour! Find a new love interest.”

Director Jordan Hogg described the series as “unadulterated joy”.

He added: “I think the audience will very quickly learn that everybody needs a bit of Ralph and Katie in their life.

“It’s just unadulterated joy at times. The stories we talk about, these issues don’t just affect disabled people, they affect all of us.

“All of us at some times are going to be in the situations that Ralph and Katie are in at times, and it’s these stories that we connect to.”

Ralph and Katie will start Wednesday, October 5 on BBC One at 9pm.

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