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

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary charm: Clive Owen and Keira Knightley in 2004’s ‘King Arthur’
FilmGuy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle the legend
Arts and Entertainment
Corporate affair: The sitcom has become a satire of corporate culture in general

TV review

Broadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: There are some impressive performances by Claire Skinner and Lorraine Ashbourne in Inside No. 9, Nana's Party spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Glastonbury's pyramid stage

Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair

Arts and Entertainment
Ewan McGregor looks set to play Lumiere in the Beauty and the Beast live action remake

Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere

Arts and Entertainment
Charlie feels the lack of food on The Island with Bear Grylls

TV

The Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Arts and Entertainment
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, in a scene from Avengers: Age Of Ultron
filmReview: A great cast with truly spectacular special effects - but is Ultron a worthy adversaries for our superheroes? spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Ince performing in 2006
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Beth (played by Jo Joyner) in BBC1's Ordinary Lies
tvReview: There’s bound to be a second series, but it needs to be braver spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, the presenters of The Great Comic Relief Bake Off 2015

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Harold Ramis' original Groundhog Day film, released in 1993

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7

film

Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary

TV

Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige

TV

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence