Television: Growing pains

A hyperactive boy is at the centre of a three-part Channel 4 drama that every parent will relate to

The background in the C4 publicity still for Kid in the Corner, Tony Marchant's new three-part drama, shows an idyllic-looking family: glamorous blond parents and a smiling teenage daughter. But it is the foreground of the photograph that catches the eye - a blur of an eight- year-old boy manically shaking his head and sticking his tongue out at the camera.

It is this boy's hyperactivity that dominates the family - and indeed the whole of this gripping new drama. In the title sequence for the first episode, the parents, Alex (Douglas Henshall) and Theresa (Clare Holman), are desperately trying to restrain the rampaging Danny (a stunning debut from Eric Byrne) in a supermarket.

As Danny runs amok - eating lollies he hasn't paid for and tipping basket- loads of sweets onto the floor - Alex takes out his exasperation on his wife: "What do you want me to do? Tie him to the bloody trolley?" When a horrified bystander then asks Alex "Can't you control him?" he replies with a blunt "No!"

Theresa, too, is nearing the end of her tether over Danny. "It's relentless," she sighs to Alex. "We go from one shitty moment to the next, without anything in between. When do I get to love him?" Later in the episode, Alex's frustrations with his son spill over into shocking violence.

Although his parents don't yet know it, Danny has ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder), which causes problems with concentration and discipline. The series is being billed as "semi-autobiographical": Marchant has a teenage son with Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism, and has used his own experiences to help with the background to Kid in the Corner. Marchant also drew on stories from parents of children with ADHD, attending several conferences on the subject.

"Your biggest responsibility as a dramatist is to tell the truth," he says. "Whatever happens in this drama has happened to real-life parents of children with ADHD. No doubt there will be criticism of Kid in the Corner, but it will be misplaced because I've only told the truth."

Marchant insists this is not merely a drama about dealing with special needs. Uncom-promising yet deeply moving, it will certainly raise awareness about a much-misunderstood condition. But the series shouldn't be limited to an examination of one particular children's disorder; it is meant to be a more general reflection of the growing stresses that all parents are under.

Marchant says: "This is a story that every parent - and every teacher - will recognise. Some people may never have had to make the choices that parents of children with special needs have to make, but everyone understands difficult children. I wanted to show that it's not always easy to love our children, but ultimately what's most important is showing them the love we do feel."

Kate Anthony, the producer, agrees. "Any parent who watches this will say, `I've come very close to snapping like that'. It's typical of family life in general. It's about two parents who are constantly knackered, people who are stretched in too many directions and trying to hold on to their own relationship at the same time. That will be familiar to everybody."

Bille Eltringham, the director, hopes the drama will have universal resonance for stressed-out parents (is there any other kind?). "All parents are in a really difficult place now," she says. "With school league tables, there's more pressure on them. Above all else, people feel able to advise you about being a parent - `You should be doing this or that'. In this drama, ADHD is neither here nor there - it's just a vessel to talk about general anxiety. There's a low-level feeling that there's a malaise, that something's wrong and that something must be done about it. Kid in the Corner is about the responsibilities heaped on parents these days. Everyone is obsessed with finding out why their child is not perfect."

Kid in the Corner starts Wednesday, 9pm, C4

James Rampton

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas