There She Goes is a brand new comedy airing on BBC Four starring David Tennant and Jessica Hynes as the parents of nine-year-old Rosie, played by Miley Locke, a child with an undiagnosed chromosomal disorder and severe learning difficulties.
On first description, it might not sound like much of a comedy. Rosie cannot speak, she cannot feed herself, nor put herself to bed. She regularly goes into a ‘zombie state’ where she cannot walk and groans incessantly if she does not get what she wants. The show makes it clear that this is parenting at its hardest. However, despite the daily difficulties her family have to face, there’s an undoubtable sense of acceptance, optimism and humour.
The series operates over two time frames with two very different outlooks. The majority of moments take place in the present, when Rosie is nine, and her parents are unafraid to ridicule her behaviours or laugh at themselves. There’s a sense that, sure, life with Rosie is not always convenient, but after nine years they’re almost used to it. If it takes two packets of crisps to get their child out of the bath, then so be it.
In the midst of these laugh-out-loud moments, there are deeply emotional flashbacks to 2006, when Rosie was less than one year old. It’s here that we see the vulnerability of a new mum who knows there’s something wrong with her daughter, a father that avoids being at home, a family being stretched apart. It is these cuttings that transform the show from a simple comedy, to something much more profound.
And so it should be. In the creation of There She Goes, writer Shaun Pyehas certainly found a niche in the market, and with that comes the responsibility to produce something remarkable. What makes the show so special though is that it is inspired by Pye’s own life and family. Having a disabled child himself, he describes this series as less of a sitcom, and more of an autobiography presenting the last 12 years of his life. It’s hilarious and infuriating, charming and annoying, ingenious and most of all, ridiculous.
There She Goes is a story that needs to be told. When an estimated 1.4 million people in the UK have some form of learning disability, it feels of utmost significance to have a show that offers a raw and honest perspective on how they can affect lives. It gives the recognition of just how hard life with a disabled child can be. It shows that it’s okay to think the things that make you feel terrible for thinking, but most of all, it teaches you that despite all of the trials and the tribulations, the love between a parent and child prevails.
Image: Kevin via BBC / merman Productions