Make My Body Younger
New technology for a new TV show
I developed a new technology called “Incision” for the BBC 3 Show called Make My body Younger. Here’s the story behind what I worked on:
Stuart Murphy came in and was practically bouncing off the walls. He was so excited to see what we were up to, and very keen for us to get involved with a ton of projects. Stuart and I got on straight away, and our creativity just clicked.
He explained that he was working on a new show, the codename was “Doctor In The House”. He had a strong vision of really looking inside someone’s body. He wanted to find ways of putting cameras down peoples throats, up their backsides, and basically prodding and poking people live on TV!
He really wanted a way of ripping peoples guts right out from their stomachs and showing it to them, their friends, family and the audience! It was a big task, and since we couldn’t physically rip peoples guts out, we had to come up with a digital solution, but it had to have the “Oh My God” moment for each episode!
What’s the show all about?
Young boozers, bingers and party animals get a wake-up call in Twofour’s new series for BBC Three – Make My Body Younger, presented by George Lamb.
Each week, the over-the-top lifestyle of a contributor is examined: what damage are their excesses doing to their insides? Using state-of-the-art technology designed by Adam Montandon and Ted Thorpe , a “living autopsy” is performed, revealing the real impact that bad food, drink, drugs and cigarettes are having on their organs with shocking results – they are ageing much faster on the inside than they should be.
Over on the BBC Headroom website you can find health advice from the Doctors of the new Make My Body Younger show. Check it out!
After working on the show for a few days, and hearing Dr Andrew Curran describe all the gruesome things going wrong inside people’s bodies, a lot of the crew stopped smoking, or perhaps went for just a large plate of vegetables from the catering truck!
In this series, people who love to party and live to excess will be given their very own ‘living autopsy’. Using an exciting new graphic projection technique, they will be able to see their own body opening up as if they were undergoing an autopsy.
They will then find out how old their internal organs really are. Their birth certificate might show they’re only 22 but years of knocking back the booze might mean their liver has the biological age of 42.
But after the shock treatment, there’s help at hand. A team of hand picked doctors will swoop in and help our protagonists change their lifestyles for the better and, over a period of several weeks, help them curb their addiction to excess and life on the edge.
At the end each programme the contributor returns to the Live Autopsy to discover if they have truly slowed their physical decline. Will the medical prognosis be a better quality of life? And after the good news, can they go out and celebrate… in moderation?
“To pull in younger audiences you really need something that is going to be shocking, that is actually going to grab them,” said Joe Houlihan of U.K. production company TwoFour, which is presenting its new factual format “Make My Body Younger.”
The show features people who have subjected their bodies to physical excesses such as alcohol and drugs and uses virtual reality techniques to simulate an “autopsy” on their bodies to show the extent of the damage they have inflicted.
“You have to find ways of making them turn to the show, if feels like its some form of lecture they will simply turn off,” he added. “Health will always be a genre people want to know about. The challenge is about how to move it on and make it different.”
Ok, here is a clip from next weeks show, Make My Body Younger that I worked on the Living Autopsy effects for.
Here is another great clip from the Living Autopsy room in Make My Body younger. You can see the amazing blood vessel graphics by Ted Thorpe and it shows what happens when too much fat can clog up your body. It certainly is food for thought. You can see Make my Body Younger on BBC3 on Wednesdays at 8pm.
For 22-year-old single mother and lap dancer Cindy Cottrell, a typical night out starts with two bottles of wine before leaving her home in Tamworth. Cindy’s worried about what her hard-partying ways are doing to her body and says she wants to make some changes to her lifestyle, especially for the sake of her son. Undergoing her own living autopsy is a shock for Cindy, as she finds out that parts of her body are dramatically older than she is.
Although Cindy’s episode is the 3rd in the series, she was actually the first person to undergo the Living Autopsy section of the show. Her face is an absolute picture when we start the incision and open up her body!
The story of Stewart Burton
George Lamb meets 25-year-old Stewart this week, as the series that gives young boozers, bingers and party animals a wake-up call continues.
Every weekend, Stewart hits the pubs and clubs in his home town, drinking as much as he can stomach and partying hard, but what has he been doing to his insides? George asks Stewart if he’s prepared to find out, using the power of state-of-the-art technology to undergo a “living autopsy”. With his internal organs ageing at a worryingly accelerated rate, Stewart discovers he has the brain of a pensioner.
It looks as if his mad partying has pickled his brain, which comes out as 68 years old. His heart is also taking the strain of his lifestyle, but what really concerns Stewart is his sperm count, which is much lower than it should be for a man of his age. Dr Leanne Hayward moves in to help Stewart, but will he have the strength to reverse the damage already done? After several weeks of trying, he must return to the “living autopsy” theatre to find out.
Earlier this year a good night out for Stewart Burton might have started on a Saturday afternoon in his home town of Brighton and could easily have carried on for 18 hours, well into Sunday. Stewart, 25, would get through up to 60 cigarettes, down nine bottles of beer, followed by several shots and more beer. He would also dabble in drugs.
That was a good night out for Stewart – but he was starting to notice his lifestyle was having a detrimental impact on his body. He wasn’t as fit as he used to be and he often shunned the healthy food in his fridge for yet another take-away. Stewart was often drinking more than 100 units of booze a week – the government recommends men should drink no more than 21 units.
And when Stewart got drunk, those around him felt he became a different person. His mother, April, said: “He is a demon. He becomes evil – and it all starts when he starts drinking.”
Stewart’s lifestyle was also starting to take its toll on his relationship with his live-in girlfriend Donella. She had given him an ultimatum: “Stu needs to clean up his act. He needs to cut back on his drinking.If he doesn’t do that, then I will have to seriously review the situation of our relationship, because he is going to lose everything if he doesn’t stop.”
With his relationship on a knife-edge, Stewart put himself forward for Make My Body Younger’s “living autopsy”.
Every inch of Stewart’s body was examined and his vital organs were tested. He even had a fertility test, though he felt confident about the outcome.
“I know I’ve got no problems,” he said. “I’ve got a daughter already. I know everything is working properly.”
At his “living autopsy”, Stewart was laid out and the first “incision” was made in front of girlfriend Donella, Stewart’s mother and his brothers. It was a demanding and emotional time for all involved as presenter George Lamb and Dr Andrew Curran revealed Stewart’s results.
One of the most shocking moments for Stewart, Donella and his family was when his brain age was revealed, following a series of cognitive function tests. Stewart is only 25 but all his hardcore partying resulted in a brain age of 68. Donella’s shock at him “having the brain of a pensioner” was something his entire family shared.
Fertility under threat
But for Stewart the greatest surprise was the state of his sperm. Due to his excessive partying lifestyle, Stewart’s fertility test showed his sperm had 91% deformed heads. This left a serious question mark over his fertility as normal fertility allows for less than 70% deformed heads.
Stewart was left stunned by the news. “The sperm one was shocking, really bad,” he said. “I was close to tears.” Back at home in Brighton, the surprises didn’t end for Stewart. He got his very own live-in medic in the shape of Dr Leanne Hayward. She moved in with Donella and Stewart for three days and gave Stewart valuable information about how to live his life differently – but without having to become a party-free zone.
Stewart initially wanted to stop drinking and smoking altogether but this concerned Dr Hayward.
“We need to be really careful with Stewart that he doesn’t totally stop everything because he could run into more problems,” she said. “He may be more likely to fall off the wagon if he tries to cut out absolutely everything.”
Stewart and Donella found the early days a struggle and had a few rows. But slowly Stewart started to feel the benefits of not drinking or smoking as much. After several weeks, he went back to London for tests to find out the new biological ages of his key organs and the state of his sperm.
Because of Stewart’s improved lifestyle his new brain age came in at 18 years, a massive drop and a testament to his hard work. But probably the best news for Stewart and Donella was that his fertility test results showed the level of deformity of his sperm was back within the normal range.
Stewart was relieved by the results: “All the hard work has definitely paid off.” Donella too was delighted. “I’ve got my dream guy,” she said. “Hopefully we will have a really long and happy future together.”
Cindy Cottrell has managed to whizz forward in time and then travel back again – all thanks to a dramatic make-over. But forget those TV shows that concentrate on the right make up or a nice dress; Cindy’s make-over was entirely internal.
Just over a year ago the Tamworth 22-year-old was a binge drinker, downing bottles of wine, shots and whatever she could get her hands on four times a week – all in the name of a good time. She felt lethargic, weekends were a total write-off and she began to fear that she would start on the downward spiral to addiction. But after a TV show revealed that her body – and her liver – was more than a decade older than her real age, she decided to turn her life around.
“When I was drinking no one wanted to be around me – now I’ve had a boyfriend for eight months,” says Cindy, who has a four-year-old son, Cory. “My son’s dad would have him from Thursday to Sunday, and I’d be drinking. I’d have a bottle of wine before I went out, I’d have shot after shot when I was out. Then I’d sleep all morning because I was hung over – I just wasn’t with it. “I was putting myself in real danger by getting that drunk, and I was worried I’d start drinking in the week and get a real drink problem. I had to make a change for my son’s sake, and that’s when I saw they wanted people for the programme.”
Cindy began drinking in all too typical circumstances, sneaking cheeky sips from the drinks cabinet aged 13 and downing alcohol in the park with her teenage friends. “I was just like most people trying to impress people, and seem cool,” she says. “But now I want people to know it’s not – you don’t look cool when you’re in that state and no one’s impressed. Don’t get me wrong, I still go out and I still drink, but now I drink slowly and I don’t drink as much. I stop when I get to the happy, giggly stage. You don’t have to rush to get drunk and you don’t have to down shots to have a good time.”
It was the show – Make My Body Younger – which gave Cindy the wake-up call she needed. A computerised ‘living autopsy’ revealed the damage she was doing to her liver, and Cindy was given a lifestyle overhaul by medical experts. Now she’s fighting fit once more and her body is back to its ‘real’ age, thanks to a healthy diet, lifestyle and a bit of moderation.
“I was really good at sport before I started, so they got me playing hockey,” Cindy explains. “They also taught me that I don’t have to get completely wasted to have a good time. Now I go out to see my friends rather than purely to get drunk. And I enjoy the night a lot more because I can remember what happened.”
The story of Emma Sheldon
Presenter George Lamb and Dr Andrew Curran advise people with excessive lifestyles how to become healthier and avoid serious illness. 23-year-old holiday rep Emma Sheldon binge drinks six months a year, overeats and smokes three packs a day. After undergoing a battery of medical tests and a visit to the Living Autopsy Theatre, Emma resolves to change. Dr Radha Modgil moves in with Emma to help her cope with a new way of life and to teach her techniques in avoiding over indulgence and gluttony.
In the first part of this new series party girl Emma Sheldon faces the “living autopsy”. Emma is shocked to discover how fast her organs are aging but how much does she want to change?
For six months of the year, 23-year-old Emma indulges in the party lifestyle as a club rep in Ibiza. Hard partying has been tough on her body; she lives on a diet of junk food, has been known to put on three stone in just three months and enjoy twenty four hour drinking sessions. Emma also smokes up to two hundred fags a week.
Consultant neurologist Andrew Curran reveals what’s been going on inside her body at her “living autopsy”. Her heart, lungs and skin have taken a real battering! She’s only 23 years old but at 45 her lungs are almost double her birth age and she is diagnosed as clinically obese – how will her other organs fair?
Upset by the results of her autopsy, Emma wants to change her ways. Dr Radha Modgil moves in to help her cut down her harmful habits but ultimately it’ll be down to Emma to turn around her own future. Will she have enough determination to reverse the damage? All will be revealed when Emma returns to the “living autopsy” theatre once again.
Behind the scenes
I worked on Twofour’s Make My Body Younger with Ted Thorpe. I worked behind the scenes on the “Living Autopsy” section of the show, where we use state of the art digital technology to show people what’s really going on on the inside. The show uses Incision(TM) technology I designed just for the show, and also my own video-server software that could deliver different video streams to the plasma screens on he studio set. I use realtime technology to rip open the contributors body! Its an awesome show with a real wow factor. I’ll be explaining more about the technology in upcoming posts.