Jenny (Jenny Can't Work Any Faster)

From Autistic characters wiki
Brian and Jenny
Portrayed by Pauline Quirke
Appears in Jenny Can't Work Any Faster
Year 1975

Jenny is a main character in the drama movie Jenny Can't Work Any Faster.


Actress Pauline Quirke states that the character is autistic.[1]

Potential lost media

Jenny Can't Work Any Faster is possibly a lost film. The British Film Institute (BFI) does have an entry for the movie in its archives, but they have no video material. They do have a camera script, 10 television stills, and 2 articles from TV programming guides, though these items are only viewable on-location.[2] Actress Pauline Quirke also mentions the movie in her book Where Have I Gone?.[1]

It was produced by Associated Television (ATV), written by David Cooke and directed by Peter Jefferies. Puppeteer Ian Allen reportedly also worked on the production.[3]

The earliest known airing date is Monday 8 December 1975 at 9 p.m., as stated by the Independent Broadcasting Authority annual report 1975-1976[4] and corroborated by the Television & Radio Database[5] and The Financial Times.[6] Combining the listings from these sources, the movie aired in the ITV region London by the franchise holder Thames Television. Based on the time slots it occupies, the movie is around 60 minutes long.

Reportedly, parts of the movie were filmed at the Helen Allison school at The Overcliff, a special education school.

If the broadcast was recorded, there is a decent chance that is has been recorded over in the meantime. Reusing tapes was a common cost-saving practice in the 1970s and earlier, especially for broadcasts that would not have been considered significant or commercially viable. If it still exists, it may be stored in the archives of ATV or Thames, as a home recording, or one of the cast/crew members may hold a copy.


Due to the general unavailability of the movie, the plot has to be pieced together from other sources such as reviews and synopses in newspapers.

Robert (James Grout) is a middle-aged puppeteer with an autistic teenage daughter, the titular Jenny (Pauline Quirke). Experts say that autism has no straightforward explanation, but Robert still blames himself for Jenny's condition; he believes her apparent withdrawal began when he reprimanded her for breaking one of his puppets. Jenny's mother Maureen (Susan Engel) left them years ago because she could not deal with the situation. Robert hires a young actor named Brian (George Costigan) as an assistant to help Jenny come out of her shell. Brian connects with Jenny and she seems to improve, withdrawing from the special education school she attends. This is much to the dismay of the school's housemother Mary (Helen Ryan). However, Brian and Robert soon realize that Jenny's progress is not what it seems and she is actually slipping deeper into her own world. She returns to the special education school and eventually a "sub-normal hospital" (an institution of sorts).


  1. 1.0 1.1 Quirke, Pauline (2012). Where Have I Gone? Retrieved February 24, 2023, from "[...] in Jenny Can't Work Any Faster I played a young autistic girl"
  2. Collections search: BFI: British Film Institute. Retrieved February 24, 2023, from
  3. Ian Allen (@IanAllenMrSpoon). Retrieved February 24, 2023 from
  4. Independent Broadcasting Authority Annual Report and Accounts 1975-76. Retrieved February 24, 2023, from
  5. The Television & Radio Database - Listings for Monday, 8th December 1975. Retrieved February 24, 2023, from
  6. TV/Radio. (1975, December 8). The Financial Times, p 2. Retrieved February 24, 2023, from

External links