Last Night’s TV – Embarrassing Bodies

by Lynn Connolly

It’s back in all its dubious glory, and as ever, there was no shortage of grim conditions on display for us all to sit back and say, “oh god…” about.

But yet again – because I’ve asked this question before – I simply do not understand how people too embarrassed to see a GP, who wouldn’t have a camera crew, will happily slap their genitals or other body parts out for a few million Jo Public to see.

It makes no sense to me at all. My brain just goes, “computer says no” whenever I try to imagine the motivation behind what frankly, amounts to medical exhibitionism.

However, for those people who take part in this show in order to destigmatise certain conditions, they deserve a medal for having the nuts – albeit possibly warty ones – to do so.

Such as the lady in last night’s show who very philosophically and with good humour showed how life can and does go on when you have a colostomy bag.

But then there are the people who you can’t help wondering how they are ever going to go into work again, or to their local shop or pub …

Take Keith for instance; he has – we found out last night – Peyronies disease which causes his penis to bend at what would appear to be an almost impossible angle. This, explained Keith, made having sex rather tricksome. I imagine it would, unless you happen to be bonking a set square or something.

Then there was the young woman with flatulence problems, and again, I have to wonder how this lady is ever going to be in a public place ever again without some wit making farty noises?

And I think the overall vein of humour that runs through the show won’t help with that issue at all. The commentator’s forever making witty remarks about people’s problems, so what’s to stop everyone else??

Why not just go to your local GP?? At least there you won’t have the receptionist announcing your ailments to the populous in general, nor, one would hope, will you have a nurse narrating your woes with a mischievous play on words.

But despite everything I’ve just said, this show has a certain morbid fascination for me. I suspect were I around in Victorian times, I’d probably have been first in the queue for those freak shows that were all the rage back then. I can’t help it; I just have this urge to watch things that are a) likely to shock me and b) likely to make me heave. And Embarrassing Bodies falls into both those categories.

That you need a strong stomach to watch it goes without saying, but if you happen to be afflicted by the same malady as one of the show’s ‘stars’ you’ll doubtless take comfort from seeing how these folks most often get cured, so it has to be applauded for that.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.