100 Episodes: Dr Christian Interview
Embarrassing Bodies is 100 episodes old on Monday 25 February (9pm, Channel 4). To mark the occasion, we asked the good doctors to look back over the previous 99 shows, so they could choose their favourite and most memorable moments.
Today it’s Dr Christian’s turn in the hot seat.
When the show first started, did you ever think you’d get to 100 episodes?
No way – when we made the first series, I couldn’t think why anyone would want to look at verrucas and piles! A lot of GP work is quite dull and I wasn’t sure the interest would be there. How wrong could I be? We saw amazing cases from the beginning and had a great response. I’m glad to be wrong!
What was your favourite of the 100 episodes?
Can I cheat and have four? It would be the Embarrassing Teen Bodies series – I couldn’t pick one of them… it was so much fun and the contributors were incredible. We filmed at concerts and on campsites and had a great time. For me it was what great telly is all about – entertaining and educational.
What have been your most memorable cases?
I’d have to say Charlotte, who came in with the most horrendous verrucas. Her case goes some way to answering the million dollar question: “Why would someone who’s too embarrassed to go to the doctor appear on Embarrassing Bodies?”... She had seen her GP and various specialists, but sometimes you can be blinded by what’s in front of you and need a fresh pair of eyes. In this case, we discovered that she had never had her immune system tested – and that one test led to her having the bone marrow transplant that saved her life.
Recently, my most memorable patient has been Patience who was a contributor on Embarrassing Fat Bodies. She caused an unbelievable stir on Twitter when the show went out. It was a real battle to persuade her to take responsibility for her weight and I thought I was going to lose. In the end she realised that it was her last chance – it was a very poignant moment and I got very upset for her. She’s now in “lockdown” – in hospital on a liquid diet, and I can’t wait to see how she gets on. She’s an amazing woman.
What have been the genuinely stand-out moments?
In the early days, I remember sitting in the audience at the BAFTAs – the next minute, we were on stage accepting our first award. That was a real wow moment – it felt unreal that we’d come so far. There are so many opportunities with Embarrassing Bodies, so many programmes we’d still love to make. The show has been a big hit in Australia – I’d love to make a series there – I mean, come on: Embarrassing Bodies Delves Down Under – the scope is endless!
You’ve seen most things – has there been anything in these progs that’s made you take a backwards step?
When I met Charlotte for the first time, you can see me visibly react. At the other end of the spectrum, the reaction we get from the crowds at truck stops is fantastic – and going to T4 On The Beach was another great moment. For the viewers, a lot of the cases are “OMG” but for us, it’s what we do – just an extreme version. Oh, and watching Dawn smear her poo on a bit of cardboard was a highlight – the things we do… But the fact that we can is amazing!
Do you ever get cases where you haven’t got a clue what to do?
I’ve had cases where the diagnosis is incredibly rare or really unexpected but you always have a starting point. That comes with experience and we’re learning all the time.
What do you think the show has done, in terms of public service and improving the nation’s health?
The single most important thing that the show has done is to get people talking about their health. I hope we’ve helped people communicate with their doctor, and that they can see that there’s always something to be done. I’m really proud of Embarrassing Bodies: Live From The Clinic – Skype diagnosis is an incredible tool for doctors and patients. After one episode of the show when we did a segment on breast cancer, I was contacted by a radiologist who said that as a direct result of the programme she saw five women and three of those cases turned out to be cancer. That alone makes EB worthwhile for me.
The new series of Embarrassing Bodies starts on Monday 18 February at 9pm on Channel 4. The 100th episode will air a week later, on Monday 25 February.
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