Two years on, life has changed dramatically for Joe and his family. Alison and Paul are divorced and living 100 miles apart. Joe spends his weeks with Alison in Manchester and weekends with Paul in the Lakes. The old family home has been sold, and Paul is doing up a new house for him and Joe to move in to. Only Maurice seems to be holding it together – and if Maurice is the one holding it together you know you are in trouble.
Since retiring, Maurice has become a Volunteer Firefighter. When a fire breaks out at Paul’s new house, he is part of the team that deals with it.
Maurice sees himself as the man who solves his family’s crises, but when he takes Joe to the fire-damaged house, he manages to cause a bigger crisis as Joe is left traumatised by what he’s seen and the lack of a place to call home. Joe expresses his discombobulation in the only way he knows how: he rejects his music by throwing his headphones in a lake.
Joe’s actions send Paul into a tailspin and set him at odds with Maurice. But Maurice is already embroiled in several other crises . . .
In Manchester, Alison has started to make a life for herself, balancing work and Joe with studying for a degree. But when she gets sacked from her part-time job in a cafe, it’s a blow to her confidence, and Maurice takes it upon himself to drive to Manchester with Joe to console his daughter and give her a much-needed pep-talk. Luckily for Maurice, his actions have a positive effect this time – and when Alison later meets Ben, a fellow parent who she finds she has a spark with, things feel like they might be looking up for her.
Meanwhile, Ralph has decided that he wants to get married to his new girlfriend Katie and move out of his mum’s house. But he doesn’t want Louise to know and tells Maurice to keep it secret. The secret doesn’t last long, however . . . and soon Louise becomes convinced that Ralph hiding something else from her. So it falls to Maurice to play detective and follow Ralph and Katie in order to find out the truth. What he discovers is that Ralph and Katie have opted for Supported Living, to help them live independently. Ralph didn’t want to tell Louise because he feared he’d be letting her down by asking for help. Alone with Ralph, Louise sets him straight: he could never let her down. He’s a force of nature.
Maurice ends his week on a high. He’s fought multiple fires – literally and metaphorically – and proved himself as the patriarch who can keep his family on track. But then Rebecca lands him with a bombshell. She’s pregnant.
Maurice tells Rebecca she needs to tell Alison and Paul, and soon. He offers his granddaughter his unstinting support but as the moment arrives for Rebecca to break the news, he decides to finally heed his Doctor’s advice and give this family crisis a miss. Having delivered Rebecca to her intrigued parents, he escapes his family . . . and does a runner from his own home . . .
- Caroline O’Neill as Pauline
- Christopher Eccleston as Maurice Scott
- Daniel Cerqueira as Dr Graves
- David Gyasi as Ben
- Greg McHugh as Eddie Scott
- Harrison Newell as Bill Hibbs
- Ibrahim Ismail as Ramesh
- Julie Hesmondhalgh as Heather
- Krissi Bohn as Jean
- Lee Ingleby as Paul Hughes
- Leon Harrop as Ralph Wilson
- Max Vento as Joe Hughes
- Michael Begley as Jim
- Molly Wright as Rebecca Hughes
- Morven Christie as Alison Hughes
- Nigel Betts as Steve
- Pooky Quesnel as Louise Wilson
- Sarah Gordy as Katie
- Sherry Baines as Clare
The A Word returns to BBC One on Tuesday 5th May at 9pm