The Secret Life Of Twins – Mia and Alexandra

by Lisa McGarry


Identical twins who have lived their lives apart and twins with drastically different lifestyles, who develop identical heart conditions at almost the same moment in their life-time, are explored in this compelling new science series.

The two-part series meets some of the most fascinating identical twins in the world to find out what they have to say about the nature of us all.

The heart-breaking story of Mia and Alexandra, identical twins adopted separately as babies but reunited by two pairs of devoted parents from the US and Norway, come under the spotlight in the opening programme.

Though the girls have been raised in different cultures with contrasting approaches to child-rearing and education, their similarities present both sets of parents with a startling question: will their differing parenting styles ever have as much impact as their children’s genes?

The experience of British twins Paul and Iain, meanwhile, highlights a rare instance where genetic influences seem to have overridden lifestyle factors.

Iain lives an active life in New Zealand, kayaking, walking, eating five portions of fruit and veg a day and avoiding salt and caffeine. His brother, Paul, however, smokes, drinks and generally doesn’t bother with a healthy diet. When Paul suffers a life-threatening heart attack, Iain assumes that his lifestyle was to blame and isn’t surprised. But Iain seems to have missed out on the typical benefits of his healthy lifestyle when it’s revealed that he isn’t quite as healthy as he had hoped.

With identical twin doctors Chris and Xand van Tulleken (Medicine Men Go Wild) as viewers’ guides, The Secret Life Of Twins goes one step further than the nature and nurture debate to explore a new branch of scientific research that suggests that our environment actually modifies our genes in a way that we are only just starting to understand.

Traversing the globe to meet compelling twins and scientists with trail-blazing ideas, this pioneering series investigates whether twins may hold the key to understanding what makes us all who we are.

Wednesday 30 September, 9.00-10.00pm BBC ONE

The second episode of The Secret Life Of Twins can be seen on Thursday 1 October.