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Home » Ralph & Katie: A Gentle Comedy-Drama About A Couple With Down’s Syndrome

Ralph & Katie: A Gentle Comedy-Drama About A Couple With Down’s Syndrome

In Review

Set in the Lake District, this BBC show is a spin-off from The A Word – but it ‘stands on its own’

“If you’re in the market for a gentle comedy-drama in which nothing bad happens, then Ralph & Katie may be the thing for you,” said Anita Singh in The Daily Telegraph.

Leon Harrop and Sarah Gordy play the Ralph and Katie of the title, a newlywed couple going through the normal relationship mini-dramas – misunderstandings, a mother who won’t stop sticking an oar in – while living with Down’s syndrome.

Set in the Lake District, the show is a spin-off from The A Word, the BBC series about a family living with autism; but don’t be put off it if you haven’t seen that, because it “stands on its own”. It’s also very heartwarming – one of those “cosy sorts of shows, like Doc Martin, where every character is a good person and every situation can be happily resolved by the end of each episode (and they are only half-an-hour long)”.

Comedy-dramas have got more “whizzbang” over the years, said Ben Dowell in The Times: higher concept, faster-paced, maybe bolder. Ralph & Katie, by contrast, plays out in a “cruelty-free world” in which the dramatic tension stems from miscommunication. It has a feeling, at times, of children’s TV drama; but there’s enough grit in the oyster to keep it fresh and alive.

It’s true that Ralph & Katie can be on the twee side, said Jack Seale in The Guardian. But it “isn’t just good-humoured, it is funny”; and in its best moments it recalls a bygone era of British soaps, Coronation Street in particular, before they became overrun with killers, adulterers and cast-obliterating catastrophes.