(Previously posted as a comment in response to Collins on TV: Embarrassing Bodies)
[Is Embarrassing Bodies] TV porn? Absolutely, no doubt about that in my mind. But sadly, besides entertainment this programme does serve another, very important purpose, and I don’t mean in terms of ‘educational’ value to viewers. If anyone ever wondered why any of the ‘patients’ featured on Embarrassing Bodies would be so brave to go on camera with their crooked, prolapsed or otherwise wonky body parts and/or cavities, the answer may well be this: because it gets them medical treatment or surgery they otherwise might not get.
With NHS primary care and hospital trusts already exceeding their budgets year on year, not every NHS trust will authorise surgery that they consider to be ‘cosmetic’ rather than ‘life-saving’ or even ‘functional’. As a patient suffering with any such medical problem you will be subject to the NHS’s now all-too-familiar postcode lottery. And even if the treatment or surgery you so desperately need or want does get approved, your name may be added to a long waiting list before you actually receive it. (Note: even if you thought your private medical insurance might provide where the NHS can’t ― or at least not in your area ― you have no guarantee).
So what better way than to take your fifteen minutes of embarrassment rather than fame on national television to get yourself booked in with a Harley Street specialist who ― at no cost to you* ― will ease your medical problem or possibly even rid you of it altogether? As someone whose life and career are severely blighted and often debilitated by a chronic medical condition, I have to admit that I would jump at such a chance: any such TV appearance, however embarrassing to the patient, would soon be forgotten, yet the impact of the medical treatment offered could be potentially life-changing.
While one of many reasons I got rid of my TV was the high level of ‘bear-baiting for the sake of bear-baiting’, crazy reflections of dumbed-down Britain, and entertainment at the expense of someone, this is one form of TV porn that might actually serve a purpose ― however sad (and pathetic?) that observation may be.
*This only applies to the UK version of Embarrasing Bodies; I don’t know what it’s like for non-UK versions/adaptations of the format, other than the recent exposure of TV fakery in The Netherlands on a similar TV programme.