This film in the series about the world’s most extreme human bodies explores the extraordinary life of Edward Hernandez, who at the age of 24 is just 27 inches tall. Because of his tiny size, at home in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of Bogota in Colombia, Edward is used to unwanted attention from strangers, but last year his life changed dramatically when he was officially declared the shortest man in the world.
The media frenzy was immediate. How would Edward cope with overnight fame, and with so many contenders for this iconic record, how long could he keep hold of his title? As Marco Frigatti, of Guinness World Records explains, ‘We knew that the reign of Edward, as the shortest man, could be very short’.
When Chinese record holder Ping Ping died in March 2010, Edward’s family were one of many around the world who saw an opportunity and sent his details to the offices of Guinness World Records. Once Edward had been measured by Guinness and his height was authenticated, the announcement was made. Edward Hernandez was the smallest man in the world.
Before his record, Edward scarcely left the house. Now he was invited to the Columbian President’s palace and became a hit on the Latin American chat show circuit. Plagued with health problems since birth, Edward’s newfound celebrity brought free health care and he has an operation to restore his fading eyesight: something his family could never have afforded. But Edward quickly discovers there’s also a downside to fame, particularly when he is guest of honour at Colombia’s equivalent of the FA Cup final, and a riot kicks off. Then, just weeks after winning his title, there is bad news for Edward. In Nepal, the smallest teenager in the world is about to turn 18, and Edward’s title – and the fame and fortune it’s brought – is under threat.
Monday 11 April 2011, Channel 4 10pm