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In November 2004 Bill and Wendy Ainscow took an overdose of sleeping pills and waded into the warm Atlantic ocean off Tenerife to commit suicide. Wendy Ainscow survived but tragically Bill died. The couple's bizarre suicide pact was the culmination of years of trying to cope with and get state help for their daughter Lisa, who suffers from Aspergers Syndrome. Written by
The film 'Rainman' and Mark Haddon's book 'The Curious Incident of the Dog - ' helped one empathise with people with Asperger's Syndrome, but this high profile TV film made Lisa, the 32-year old daughter of middle-aged parents (played by Timothy Spall, at his glummest, and Brenda Blethyn, at her most irksome) a manipulative monster. Her parents are driven to joint suicide attempts twice by her impossible demands, and at the second attempt her father successfully removes himself from the scene, leaving her mother to continue to collude with her insatiable child. As usual, psychiatry and social services are made to seem flummoxed (though it's refreshing when a Birmingham Social Worker finally confronts Lisa with reality). Rebekah Staton may well be brilliant as Lisa - I can't tell because I found her so detestable! How on earth could this film help anyone associated with this distressing disorder?
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