Ralph & Katie

‘The last time we saw Ralph and Katie, they’d just had the wedding of the year. So what happened next?’

A spin off of hit series The A-word, Ralph & Katie is a new 6 part comedy drama documenting the first year of Ralph (Leon Harrop) and Katie’s (Sarah Gordy) marriage. Leon and Sarah tell us more about bringing this groundbreaking, heartwarming and perception-challenging series to a primetime, mainstream audience.

How did you feel when you were first approached to be a part of Ralph & Katie?
Leon: I felt really excited and so happy that they were continuing the story of Ralph and Katie.

Sarah: Excited. After that lovely wedding in The A Word, I wanted to know what married life would be like for Ralph and Katie. Katie had refused to be married in an ordinary white dress so I expect Ralph and Katie will do it their way.

What is this series about? Which themes / questions does it explore?

Sarah: The first year of Ralph and Katie’s married life.

Leon: It’s about the first year of married life for Ralph and Katie. It explores cancer, family issues, a dad coping with his daughter moving out, jealousy, Valentine’s Day and promotion.

What do you like most, or find most interesting, about your character?

Leon: I love playing Ralph because he’s funny and cheeky, he likes to look after Katie and is trying to be more independent.

Sarah: Katie has Down’s syndrome, but she would remind you that she is a woman and a baker first. She is quietly confident about who she is and a good friend. Katie has a way of encouraging others to believe in their own uniqueness. Katie loves Ralph and laughter.

Inclusivity and disability set against a backdrop of real lives, loves, family and life’s daily challenges is a theme dealt with in the series: how does the series approach it?

Leon: The two lead actors have special needs and lots of the people involved in the making of the show had a disability too which is fantastic.

What makes this show special? Why is it important to tell this story?

Leon:It shows people that if you are born with a disability it’s not the end of the world. We can still have amazing lives too.

Sarah: Diversity, which is what real life is. We are all different and Ralph and Katie have the ability to liberate others to be what they want to be. Everybody has a lot to learn.

Because it is looking at life from a different perspective. It is not all easy for Ralph and Katie but there is always love and honesty at the centre. We are all different, which is a liberating thought. And really importantly this story has joy.

Can you talk about your experience working on Ralph & Katie?

Leon:I really enjoyed it. It was very challenging as the hours were long and lots of lines to learn but we had lots of support too. It was great meeting up with new and old cast members too.

Sarah: We have a lot of diverse abilities on Ralph & Katie so everything has been considered to accommodate. It has been interesting to see that what has been done to accommodate one person’s needs often results in it being easier for everybody. I really enjoyed it and felt cared for as well as respected. Even my hair is in better condition.

What can the audience expect from Ralph & Katie?

Leon:It’s got funny moments and sad moments too. I think people will enjoy seeing Ralph and Katie in their first year of married life.

What will the audience love about Ralph & Katie?
Sarah: The gentle humour. Being able to relate to the life situations, not just for Ralph and Katie but their friends and family as well.

What will you take forwards with you into life and career?

Leon: I would love a second series of Ralph & Katie but I haven’t thought about anything else yet as I am so excited about Series 1.

Now you have been a lead actor in a series what’s your next career goal?

Sarah: It is a privilege to play a lead actor. I do enjoy it and I want to do more film work. For me it is all about the character. I would like to play a character who ages in the story. Or perhaps has a side her family wants to see and how she sees herself.

Ralph & Katie starts Wednesday 5th October at 9pm on BBC One.