KEN CHAN plays a man with mild autism who suddenly becomes a father in My Special Tatay.

STARTING Sept. 3, GMA Network will be airing an afternoon series featuring a man with an intellectual disability who suddenly becomes a father.
Titled My Special Tatay, the series stars Ken Chan as Boyet, a man with a mild intellectual disability with mild Autism Spectrum Disorder whose mental age stopped at the age of 12 and who must now face his newfound responsibilities as a father to a son he had with a childhood friend.
Joining Mr. Chan in the show are Jestoni Alarcon as Edgar, Boyet’s father; Teresa Loyzaga as Olivia, Edgar’s legal wife; Maria Luz “Lilet” Jodloman-Esteban as Isay, Boyet’s mother; Arra San Agustin as Carol, Boyet’s best friend; and Rita Daniela Iringan as Audrey, Boyet’s childhood friend whom he gets pregnant.
Also in the cast are Carmen Soriano, Candy Pangilinan, Matt Evans, Empress Schuck, Valeen Montenegro, Jillian Ward, Bruno Gabriel, JK Giducos, and Ashley Rivera.
The network had previously aired a similar series on prime time in 2015 called Little Nanay featuring Kris Bernal as a girl with intellectual disability who gets pregnant by a childhood friend.
While both series have the same premise — even My Special Tatay’s director, Lord Alvin “LA” Madridejos, acknowledged that both series are similar — My Special Tatay departs from Little Nanay based on the severity of the conditions of the characters (Ms. Bernal’s was on the severe side of the autism spectrum while Mr. Chan’s is on the mild side).
Mr. Madridejos also worked on the set of Little Nanay which he said probably led to why he was chosen to helm this project.
But despite having worked on a similar series previously, Mr. Madridejos acknowledged that doing a show like this is challenging and requires a lot of fine-tuning.
“Unlike other soap operas where one can cry whenever the scene asks for it, there’s a limit to the kinds of emotions Ken can show because of his character’s condition,” he said in vernacular, adding that during the early days of shooting, they had to do four versions of a single scene featuring Mr. Chan’s character
“It’s time-consuming (and difficult for Mr. Chan) but it’s the bitter pill we have to take — we’d rather do it meticulously than spot the errors only when the episode is aired,” he explained.
The show has a psychiatrist consultant present during creative meetings to ensure proper representation of the special character.
“We have to do what’s right because otherwise, we might misrepresent [the people with intellectual disabilities],” Mr. Madridejos said.
My Special Tatay starts airing on Sept. 3 on GMA’s Afternoon Prime block. — Zsarlene B. Chua