TV review: The Man with the 10-Stone Testicles: a Bodyshock Special, Channel 4

Don't Call Me Crazy, BBC3

Some of the distress we see on television is representative; some of it stands only for itself. There are, for instance, half-a-million young people dealing with some kind of mental illness at any one time, which means that the handful of teenagers we watched in Don't Call Me Crazy speak on behalf of a much more substantial plight.

I don't know how many people have massive scrotal lymphedema, on the other hand, but I do know that the point of Warren, the unwilling star of The Man with the 10-Stone Testicles, was to be one of a kind. His unhappy condition could throw light on nothing but our prurient curiosity about human aberration. The first was a sensitive, thoughtful documentary about those for whom adolescence is more than usually bumpy. The second was a Bodyshock Special, its subtitle shouting at you like a fairground barker.

Don't Call Me Crazy was the result of "unparalleled access" to the McGuinness Unit in Manchester, a mental-health inpatient unit for teenagers, and although it began with an image that might have come from a more unreconstructed vision of such places – a girl pressing her nose into a porcine mask against the glass of an observation slit in a ward door – it was at first striking for the apparent normality of its residents.

Beth, a 17-year-old, admitted because of suicidal thoughts and anorexia, did remark that she liked "to see the bone" when talking about her self-image, but she did in such breezy and open tones that you assumed she was on the mend. Emma, a 15-year-old with OCD, was shy and quiet, but talked with a reassuring clarity about her problems. And even Gill, arms tiger-striped with the scars of self-harm, had her moments of ebullience.

Emma's story was the most encouraging. From a point at which she fretted helplessly about the rearrangement of her CDs during a staff search (she'd been up at 2am organising them because she was convinced her mother would die if she didn't), she steadily improved until she was ready to return home. But Gill and Beth were less responsive. Given any chance to escape, Gill took it, but the liberty she was after generally involved an overdose, or the opportunity to push a ballpoint nib so deep into her arm she had to be taken to hospital to have it removed. And Beth, with a face and a smile that could drop a teenage boy in his tracks, became so reluctant to eat that she eventually had to be sectioned. She clearly had faith in the film crew.

At one point, she furtively showed them the Diet Coke she'd smuggled into her room, so that she could stave off hunger with the minimal of calories. If it had been a razor blade, would they have felt obliged to inform on her? And even though it wasn't, did they owe an obligation to her, or to the people who were trying to make her better? Still not sure about the answer to that, but the trust of everyone in front of the cameras in those behind them was repaid by the end result.

I'm not so sure about The Man with the 10-Stone Testicles, although its subject, Warren, appeared drily in control of the humiliations he was subject to. "Would that be interesting in one of the British tabloid papers," he asked the director, as he perched his supper on the nearest available surface. "'Man Eats Dinner Off of Enlarged Testicle Sack'?" Oh, I think so, Warren, and I'm guessing they would finesse their gawping with the same light veneer of sympathy and concern as this film did. It's possible, I suppose, that the presence of a film crew tilted Warren's doctor towards the decision to do his operation pro bono. But I can't think of any other justification for it.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border