Never before has there been a cool, edgy kids TV series that can attest to hiring neurodivergent actors, performing a script adapted from a book written by a neurodivergent author (also one of the show’s screenwriters) and employing neurodivergent consultants, crew and actors. That is, until now.
“It was the most accessible experience I’ve ever had at work,” says Elle McNicoll, author of the children’s bestseller A Kind of Spark and one of the screenwriters for its adaptation as a CBBC drama. She and three of the cast members, all of whom are neurodivergent, are speaking to me on Zoom the day before the release of the tale of a young woman looking into her town’s history of witch trials. The first episode was screened the previous evening and there’s a palpable buzz in the air.
“I said to the BBC, it has to be autistic-led. There’s this expression: ‘Diversity is being invited to be party, inclusivity is being asked to dance’. But what if we threw the party? What if it was our party?” says McNicoll.