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Tuesday 21 September 2010

Tonight: Claire Danes stars as Temple Grandin. A woman living successfully with autism.

Claire Danes stars in this Emmy-winning biopic as autistic scientist Temple Grandin, who attempts to overcome a series of obstacles - not just related to her autism, but also issues such as sexism - to become an author on the real issues facing parents of autistic children, encouraging change through practical strategies.

Told partly in flashbacks, we follow Temple at the Hampshire Country School, a boarding school for gifted children. Professor Carlock (David Strathairn), the ex-NASA science teacher at the boarding school, is the first to recognise Temple's abilities and mentor her.

Temple goes to Franklin Pierce College where she graduates with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and is quickly engulfed into the world of academia - earning a Master's Degree in Animal Science from Arizona State University and a Ph.D. in Animal Science from the University of Illinois - and livestock.

Temple then embarks on something for which she is most renowned: she begins designing more humane ways to handle livestock, finding ways to quell animals' fears as they are ushered to their slaughter. Grandin has also drawn on her experience as an animal scientist to deliver extraordinary insights into how animals think, act and feel.

Temple Grandin is currently a Doctor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She has written several bestselling books on autism, which have brought a greater understanding of the condition for parents and the medical profession on how to encourage, not stifle, growth.

For many, their first exposure to the name Temple Grandin and the woman herself is seeing the flick win the 2010 Emmy for Outstanding Telemovie, Outstanding Actress (Claire Danes) and Outstanding Supporting Actor (David Strathairn), Outstanding Director (Mick Jackson) and Actress (Julia Ormond). Temple's own impromptu standing ovation and on-stage speech were some of the most memorable moments at this year's Emmys.

Claire Danes as Temple Grandin. Premiering tonight, Tuesday September 21 at 6.25pm on Showtime, available on FOXTEL and AUSTAR. Repeat: October 6 at 10.05am

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