NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 23: Co-writer Shaun Pye attends the “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret” premiere during the 6th annual New York Television Festival at the School of Visual Arts Theater on September 23, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
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Shaun Pye: “There She Goes” is Based on His Own Life

English actor, comedian, and writer, Shaun Pye, created the heartfelt comedy-drama series, There She Goes, a largely autobiographical account of his experiences raising a daughter, Joey, who was born with a chromosomal disorder.  

Currently, in its second season, the series continues to follow the life of severely learning-disabled Rosie Yates (11) and the joys and challenges her family experiences. Naturally, Rosie’s father, Simon (David Tennant), mother Emily (Jessica Hynes), and her older brother, Ben (Edan Hayhurst) are very protective of her and navigate the world through an us-against-the-world prism. And much to Pye’s credit, there’s no sugar-coating the trials and tribulations they endure, as he and his wife manage to find the humor in their parental day-to-day grind. 


Pye is best known for his work as a television writer for such shows as Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, and Would I Lie to You? He continues to work with his comedy partner, Harry Thompson, with whom he collaborated on the satirical animation series, Monkey Dust.

How has your family been dealing with lockdown?

The last few weeks have been increasingly hard for us. It’s been hard for everyone, so I’m not going to claim special status, but our daughter has been increasingly difficult to deal with over lockdown. She became obsessed very early on about things that were impossible to do. For example, she wanted to go on holiday with her granddad on a plane to Spain. When she gets an idea in her head, it’s impossible to shake it.

What led to the conception of There She Goes Again?

Well, basically, Jo is about to be 14. For years nothing occurred to me, but I am a screenwriter and it finally occurred to me that drawing from my own experiences would make for this very unique character. And talking about it, it was a character and an aspect of parenting that isn’t featured on television in this country at all. There are some programs that deal with learning disabilities and other special needs children, but this is not something that you see. So, this was an opportunity to present an accurate and real portrayal of what life is like with a learning-disabled child.

We live in such a politically correct culture. Given your show’s level of honesty, did that ever pose a problem?

No. I think the thing that we worried about absolutely most of all, were the parents and the siblings of children with similar needs and conditions to Rosey, to Jo, our daughter. We were worried about what their reaction would be. And so, we decided if we made it as honestly and truthfully as possible, we would always be able to say, ‘Well, it may not be politically correct, and it might not fit with the prevailing mood, but it’s true to us.’ And as long as you’ve got that right, then it would be hard for anyone to argue against that really.

What has the response been like?

The overwhelming response in Britain, from parents and siblings of children with similar behavior to Jo’s, went over massively, massively overwhelmingly positive. I’m sure there would be dissenting voices out there, but I don’t really know them. There has been a huge number of people who have gotten in touch with me saying, ‘Thank you for putting essentially our lives on the screen.’ Then they start telling me their stories, which aren’t particularly PC (Politically Correct), but they are always from a place of love. 

As an accomplished actor and writer, can you talk about how your career got started?

I started a long time ago! Friends got me working on panel shows, chat shows, sketch shows, the American versions of Saturday Night Live shows, and then I moved eventually into writing sitcoms. I did some acting along the way, though I wouldn’t say primarily I am an actor. I was in


Your wife, Sarah, also works with you on the show?

Yes. She wasn’t credited on the first season, but she is credited on this one, which was her decision.  But this is the first project that I would say is very much mine, as it were. 

How does Joey feel about her life portrayed on a TV show? Is she cognizant of the fact her life is public property in a way?

Well, Jo is very, very learning disabled. And her level of cognition is not high enough I think for her to grasp that it’s a television program based on our life. And having said that, she’s watched the program a lot and loves it. She watches Miley Locke’s performance as Rosie on screen and she loves it, absolutely loves it. It’s recognition for her. She sees things that Miley does, and these are things she enjoys doing in life. She has been down to set, and she loves being on sets and spending time with some of the other children in the first episode of Season 2. 

Can you talk about casting David Tennant as yourself? Did you have much of a relationship with him before?

I knew David through various things we’d done together over the years, but I wouldn’t say that I knew him particularly well. He’s a lovely, lovely man, obviously, but he’s also a brilliant actor. I’m thrilled he’s playing me. It’s slightly egotistical of me to think that I should cast one of Britain’s finest acting talents to capture me, but he’s great!