TV review: Good sense and useful lessons in Trust Me, I'm a Doctor


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Is a daring extra inch of chest exposure always to be interpreted as the middle-aged man's cry for help? Not if it's Michael Mosley doing the exposing. In the jaunty opening sequence of Trust Me, I'm a Doctor, the rock'n'roll science journalist casually pulls off not one, not two, but three unfastened shirt buttons.

Mosley, I don't trust you as far as I could throw you, you saucy devil, and that's exactly what keeps me watching. Luckily, this useful magazine-format programme flanked Mosley with three medical doctors who seemed more worthy of our trust. When it comes to health matters, the confused layman desperately needs someone on his side.

A&E specialist Dr Saleyha Ahsan investigated whether you really can be "fat and fit" before demonstrating how to perform emergency CPR. Useful Lesson #1: Hum the Bee Gees' song "Stayin' Alive" while you're doing chest compressions; it has exactly the right beats per minute.

Obviously, it was Dr Chris Van Tulleken who drew the short straw in the production meeting. The infectious-diseases doctor was sent out on to the streets to swab 50 strangers' hands. A third of the samples tested positive for faeces and, embarrassingly, Dr Van Tulleken's own hands proved to be particularly pooey. Useful Lesson #2: soap and water is just as good as a fancy antimicrobial foam.

It wasn't all pop music and pooey hands, though. In America, surgeon Gabriel Weston witnessed a procedure at the very forefront of medicine. A man with Parkinson's was cured of his hand tremor, not with a scalpel but with a highly focused beam of sound to the brain. This, then, is the rare science programme that's as capable of inspiring wonder as it is of espousing good sense. So trust them, they're doctors. But whatever you do, don't shake hands.