“It’s actually quite rare to see the honesty of that written down. I think parenting is often sentimentalised, and sort of cleaned-up for consumption.”
A father of five, Tennant describes family life as full of triumphs and disasters. In There She Goes, he feels any parent will recognise the honesty of the way Crawford and Pye have told their story. “That, I think, is the killer for this show. Just how true it is.”
Co-lead Jessica Hynes, who deservedly won a Bafta for her moving performance as Rosie’s mother Emily in series one (available to stream now on BBC iPlayer), agrees. “There’s something very truthful about the struggle that parents face sometimes, and how hard it gets, and how easy it is to lose sight of each other.” She knows lots of parents who love that aspect of the show, “just watching real people struggling and coming through.”
There She Goes’ unvarnished honesty made series one hard viewing for people close to the couple in real life, says Sarah Crawford. Both series are divided between two timelines, the very early days of Rosie’s life as a baby, when the life-altering implications of her still-undiagnosed chromosomal condition have knocked the family off their feet, and the present-day, when Rosie’s a rambunctious ten-year-old whose family have – largely – found ways to cope.
The dual timelines were a suggestion from producer Clelia Mountford. “When we were writing it, we thought ‘Well, there’s funny things that happen with Jo’ and then ‘Do we want to completely ignore the fact that it was awful for a while?’” Told chronologically, the tone would have been unbalanced, Pye explains, too miserable to begin with and too sitcom-y later on. “We wanted to tell a broader truth”