100 Episodes: Dr Dawn 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.
First up, it’s Dr Dawn.
When the show first started, did you ever think you’d get to 100 episodes?
Absolutely not! In fact I seem to remember we knew it was fairly groundbreaking telly and people were anxious as to how it might be received. So much so that I think Channel 4 had a contingency plan so that if it was badly received after the first episode, they could pull it and air something else!
What was your favourite of the 100 episodes?
I have lots of favourites! I love doing Embarrassing Bodies: Live From The Clinic – series two was particularly fun working from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. I loved Embarrassing Bodies: Kids and Embarrassing Fat Bodies but I’m in danger of just listing every episode now! They have all been so good to work on. Some of my real favourites are the revisit shows. Working in the NHS, I only seem to see people when they are no better. We don’t have the luxury of being able to see people just to check they are better. There simply isn’t the time, so seeing people come back feeling so much better is just great. Probably the most striking thing for me is not the cure of the physical problem but the impact it has had on the individual’s emotional wellbeing.
What have been your most memorable cases?
There have been so many. Charlotte’s story I think stands out in everyone’s mind.
What have been the genuinely standout moments?
Walking up Camden High Street in a blue T-shirt emblazoned with the words “FEEL MY BALLS”, carrying some artificial testicles was a moment not to be forgotten. Only equalled when the programme aired and my teenage son asked for said shirt!
You’ve seen most things – has there been anything in the programme that’s made you take a backwards step?
Up until this summer I would have said no, but we were filming a stunt on tattoos in Weymouth this summer and I saw a chap with a problem with his testicles. Nothing particularly memorable about that but he came back to the pod an hour later having had the Embarrassing Bodies logo tattooed on his arm!
Do you ever get cases where you haven’t got a clue what to do?
No. The cases Christian, Pixie and I see on the show are the same as the cases every GP sees up and down the country every day of the week. It’s just that we have TV cameras in our consultations. Just like any other doctor, we don’t always know the answer straight away but we do know what tests we want to do or who we would like to refer to.
What do you think the show has done, in terms of public service and improving the nation’s health?
I am enormously proud of Embarrassing Bodies and I have no doubt that it has done amazing things for improving the health of the nation. I see my own patients, some of whom I have known for years, coming in with problems shown on Embarrassing Bodies because the show has told them that there are things that can be done. It’s like the programme gives them the green light to talk about problems. My NHS GP colleagues sometimes moan about how many appointments they think are made based on the back of the show but I’m never going to apologise for that! Just recently one local GP reckoned he saw at least 40 patients a week coming in because of the show. Long may it last!
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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