After Thomas

After Thomas

Kyle Graham is scared, not of monsters under the bed like an average six-year-old, but of just about everything. His mother Nicola knows he wants to stay alone and secure in his autistic world but she fears for his future. Her husband Rod is equally devoted but Nicola´s fierce determination to break into Kyle´s world puts intolerable strain on their marriage. That is until they meet Thomas, a golden retriever puppy, who unlocks a personality they never knew their son had. What follows is a fascinating and moving tale of two parents at breaking point who find hope they never dared to dream of. Gritty and real, funny and heart-warming, After Thomas is an uplifting and moving true story, starring Keeley Hawes (Ashes to Ashes, Spooks) and Ben Miles (Coupling, Prime Suspect).

Cast

Keeley Hawes as Nicola, Ben Miles as Rod, Andrew Byrne as Kyle, Sheila Hancock as Pat, Duncan Preston as Jim, Lorraine Pilkington as Rachel

Produced by

Elaine Cameron

Executive producer(s)

Beryl Vertue

Written by

Lindsey Hill

Directed by

Simon Shore

Channel

ITV1

First transmitted

26th December 2006 at 9pm

Duration

60 mins

Press comments

After Thomas was sans sentimentality, soap actors or even sex and proved to be the best thing I’ve seen on ITV in ages. Which is remarkable actually because the story – about a severely autistic child whose mind is unlocked by his touching relationship with a golden retriever puppy – had enormous schmaltz potential. But I didn’t wretch once – not even when the boy, Kyle, told his mother he loved her, something she had been warned he would never do.

“Keeley Hawes and Ben Miles played the parts of Kyle’s parents with skilful understatedness. Andrew Byrne, 6, who played Kyle, was exceptional in his portrayal of a child grotesquely locked inside his own world. The reason that this story seemed raw and true is probably because it was… For ITV to devote two hours in peak Boxing Day to a drama about the hell that is caring for a severely autistic kid when once it would have reached for another Animals Do The Funniest Things reel was risky but commendable.” The Times

“In advance, After Thomas seemed certain to be an exercise in pure schmaltz. After all, it was a drama – on ITV1, on Boxing Day – about a six-year-old autistic boy whose life was transformed by the love of a good puppy. The result, though, turned out to be surprisingly powerful. This was thanks partly to the strength of the acting (including an astonishingly impressive performance from Andrew Byrne as the boy) and partly by the unfailing sharpness of Lindsey Hill’s script… Beautifully-made.” The Daily Telegraph

“Given the usual coat of TV treacle, this could have been a sad, sweet, superficial drama but it was made with the close involvement of the real-life parents it’s based on, much of the dialogue was actually spoken and authenticity shines through every frame… it’s gripping viewing and a serious insight into this mysterious condition.” The Sunday Express