Paddy and Christine McGuinness: Our Family and Autism - an 'intimate, emotional and refreshingly candid' documentary

Paddy and Christine McGuinness gave the public a glimpse into their complex lives in the emotional documentary 'Our Family and Autism' this week.
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The programme showed the couple as they navigate life as parents of three autistic children.

Bolton lad Paddy rose to fame starring alongside his good friend Peter Kay as a doorman in Phoenix Nights.

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He then went on to host dating show Take Me Out, he’s been one of the regular presenters of Top Gear since 2019, and this year has also seen him front I Can See Your Voice and take over as the host of Question of Sport.

Paddy and Christine McGuinness in Our Family and Autism on BBC iPlayerPaddy and Christine McGuinness in Our Family and Autism on BBC iPlayer
Paddy and Christine McGuinness in Our Family and Autism on BBC iPlayer

Paddy’s popularity stems from his chirpy 'one-of-the lads' persona. But we saw a different side to him in this documentary - described by the BBC as “intimate, emotional and refreshingly candid”.

In 2013, he and his wife, model Christine, who hails from Blackpool, welcomed twins Leo and Penelope into the world. Four years later, the twins were diagnosed with autism. When their youngest child Felicity, born in 2016, reached the same age, the couple discovered she too had the neurodevelopmental disorder.

This documentary, made by the same team that brought us Chris Packham: Asperger’s and Me and Nadiya Hussain: Anxiety and Me, follows the couple as they look within themselves, their relatives and others in a bid to make sense of their situation. While doing so, they bravely open up their lives to viewers so that we, too, can have a better understanding of the condition.

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Some of the queries they either ask, or offer answers to, include: What is autism in medical terms? When a child is diagnosed, what do you do? What support is out there? Is there ever a ‘right’ way to react and deal with the news of a diagnosis? What is the impact on the family? And, perhaps most importantly of all, What does the future have in store?

Paddy and Christine meet with other parents of autistic children to see how their experiences contrast or compare, and whether they can learn from them. They also talk to leading paediatricians and cutting-edge child-development experts to discover more about their children’s specific cases of autism – and the condition in general.

This is the portrait of a family man so many assume they know, but seen here like never before.

You can watch Paddy and Christine McGuinness: Our Family and Autism on BBC iPlayer.

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