BBC1’s new spin-off series Ralph & Katie arrives in October 2022 and will continue the story of the well-loved characters from hit drama The A Word, played by Leon Harrop and Sarah Gordy, who both have Down’s Syndrome.
"This project is close to my heart, I love it. It’s wonderful being the leading lady," says Sarah Gordy. "Doing Ralph & Katie was a big surprise and I thought, ‘Yes! I am working with Peter Bowker [who also wrote The A Word] again! It was so exciting."
The six 30-minute episodes will follow the first year of marriage for the inspirational young couple, as they get to grips with a new set of challenges faced by all newlyweds following their groundbreaking wedding featured in The A Word.
Here’s everything we know so far about BBC1's uplifting new spin-off Ralph & Katie...
Ralph & Katie release date
Ralph & Katie starts on Wednesday, October 5 on BBC1 at 9pm, going out in double bills. The series will also be available as a box-set on BBC iPlayer. We’ll update this guide as soon as we know if Ralph and Katie will get a US and international air date.
Is there a Ralph & Katie trailer?
Yes! The trailer shows Ralph and Katie settling into married life together, but how will they cope with all the challenges that come with being a Mr and Mrs?
Ralph & Katie plot
Following on from their wedding in series three of The A Word in 2020, Ralph and his new wife Katie embark on the biggest adventure of their lives. But they have to get to grips with various challenges during their first year of married life, and each episode will feature a different story focusing on the domestic challenges that are faced by all newlyweds, but with the added fact that Ralph and Katie have Down’s Syndrome.
Ralph (Leon Harrop) and Katie have set up home together and are trying to tackle domesticity, romance and regular visits from Ralph’s fierce but doting mum Louise (Pooky Quesnel) and Katie’s anxious parents Clare (Sherry Baines) and Steve (Nigel Betts). While family friend Tom (Matt Greenwood) is on hand to offer advice, we'll also meet new faces including dedicated Danny (Dylan Brady), the couple’s support worker, and Katie’s pal Emma (Jamie Marie Leary), who works with her at a bakery. Meanwhile, Craig Cash plays Ralph and Katie’s nosy but well-meaning neighbour Brian.
Ralph & Katie cast — Sarah Gordy on playing Katie
Sarah Gordy told us: "For Ralph and Katie, it’s their journey through the bad times, and the good times," says Sarah Gordy, who plays Katie. "But both Katie's family and Ralph’s family are still interfering. It's a nightmare!"
Sarah’s hugely proud the pioneering series is putting two actors with Down’s Syndrome centre stage, while several of the crew are also neurodivergent or have disabilities. ‘It’s fantastic. This project is so close to my heart, it’s wonderful being the leading lady!"
As well as playing Katie in The A Word, Sarah Gordy has had plenty of TV roles, including Call the Midwife, Doctors and Holby City. She was Lady Pamela Holland in Upstairs Downstairs and was most recently seen in ITV drama The Long Call.
"It’s great to be able to take the character of Katie forward after her exciting journey in series three of The A Word," says Sarah. "The wedding and the dress was a dream come true for Katie. I am so looking forward to seeing what comes next in Ralph and Katie’s married life."
Ralph & Katie cast — Leon Harrop on playing Ralph
Leon told us: "The story begins when they are husband and wife but different things come through, like a health scare, things with Katie’s parents [Clare and Steve, played again by Sherry Baines and Nigel Betts], and Christmas. Ralph and Katie are a married couple now, it’s a proper relationship and the right thing for them. When they got married, Ralph said to Katie he would help her and she said the same thing."
Away from playing Ralph in The A Word, Leon Harrop has appeared in No Offence, Moving On, Casualty and Brassic.
Ralph & Katie cast — who else is starring
In Ralph and Katie Pooky Quesnel reprises the role of Louise, Ralph's mum, now Katie's mother-in-law. Other familiar faces are Nigel Betts (Ridley Road, Boy Meets Girl) and Sherry Baines (Jungle Cry) who play Katie's parents Steve and Clare. There is also a welcome return for Matt Greenwood (Bohemian Rhapsody, Waterloo Road) who previously delighted audiences as Tom.
New faces include Craig Cash (The Royle Family, The Fast Show, Gogglebox) as their neighbour Brian, Dylan Brady (Get Even, Coronation Street) as Dan, Jamie Marie Leary (Traces) as Emma, Sam Retford (Screw, Ackley Bridge) as Gary and Daniel Cerqueira (Pennyworth, The Spanish Princess) as Dr Graves.
Leon Harrop says of Craig Cash joining the show. "Craig’s brilliant and when we found out that he was playing the character, I was happy, he’s a funny guy. Brian’s like a spy and a stalker, though! He thinks he is helping but he’s not. There’s a scene where Ralph has a problem and he doesn’t want to talk to anyone, and he goes out and kicks the fence and tells Brian to go away!
"And we have Danny [ex-Corrie star Dylan Brady] who is a very good personal assistant for Ralph and Katie, he comes in and helps them. And there’s Matt Greenwood who plays Tom [the family friend who also appeared in The A Word] and Ralph and Katie help him to find a boyfriend!"
More about Ralph & Katie and filming news
Ralph and Katie filmed in some stunning lakeside locations in the Lake District and Manchester's Space Studios in the first half of 2022. It's co-produced for the BBC by ITV Studios and Keshet Productions in association with Tiger Aspect.
"Ralph & Katie is a natural step forwards from the ongoing ambition of The A Word to increase representation and diversity both on and off screen," says writer Peter Bowker, who also penned The A Word. "Equally exciting is the opportunity to work again with two young actors as talented as Leon and Sarah. It is a tribute to their performances in The A Word that the BBC have commissioned this series.
“The writing team have delivered a series of scripts that are full of joy, humour and authenticity. It will be exciting to see the wonderful cast bring them to life under the Direction of the force of nature that is Jordan Hogg.”
"After three series of The A Word, we’re so excited to see Sarah and Leon lead their own show and by the team of talented writers that Pete and his team are assembling to bring this new chapter in Ralph and Katie’s relationship to life," says Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama.
"We’re so pleased that Ralph and Katie’s story will be continuing and that Leon and Sarah, two marvellous actors, are getting this well-deserved opportunity to play the central characters in a BBC drama," says Carol Boys, Chief Executive of the Down’s Syndrome Association.
A brief catch-up on The A Word
The A Word, which returned for a third series on BBC1 in 2020, follows the Hughes family, whose lives were changed after their son Joe (Max Vento) is diagnosed with autism. The most recent season saw Joe come to terms with his parents Alison (Morven Christie) and Paul (Lee Ingleby) splitting up.
In the series, Ralph is the son of Louise Wilson (Pooky Quesnel), who is dating Maurice Scott (Christopher Eccleston). The A Word also stars Greg McHugh and Vinette Robinson, Molly Wright and Julie Hesmondhalgh.
Get the latest updates, reviews and unmissable series to watch and more!
I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.
Thank you for signing up to Whattowatch. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.