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Neurodivergent actors take lead roles in CBBC drama


CBBC is to air a new drama, based on the award-winning book A Kind of Spark, by Elle McNicoll.

Filmed on location in Knutsford, the drama has been cast with neurodivergent actors playing the lead roles.

The live-action series is described as “a story of sisterhood, neurodiversity and standing firm in the face of a mob.”

It tells the story of an autistic teenager Addie, who when she learns about the witch trials that happened centuries ago in her hometown, she knows that there’s more to the story of these ‘witches’, just as there is more to her own.

Her desire to be herself becomes entwined with the historical mystery of Maggie and Elinor, two sisters who lived in the 16th Century.

“Autistic women and girls are massively underrepresented in all factions of media and art,” explained McNicoll.

“Autistic people in general are commonly misrepresented. I wanted characters, on the page and on the screen, who can make vibrant, bright and lively autistic girls and young people feel that their way of being is something to celebrate and find joy in, not something to disguise or suppress. That they should never let the narrow expectations of others define their worth or happiness. They are to be the main character, not something on the periphery.”

The series will air on BBC iPlayer on 31 March and CBBC from 17 April.

It was created for television by Anna McCleery (Free Rein, Secret Life of Boys) and produced by 9 Story Media Group. The lead writers are Anna McCleery and Elle McNicoll (A Kind of Spark, Show Us Who You Are) with Karissa Hamilton-Bannis and Vicki Lucas.

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