Doctor in the House

We've got a hot one for you, can you take care of it? 

When I first heard about "Doctor in the House" I thought Yazz and the Plastic Population had reformed.

I then managed to catch a couple of episodes and whilst I thought it was interesting, I also thought it was quite disturbing too.

For those that haven't seen the programme, it consists of a doctor (Dr Chatterjee) going to live with a family for 24 hours to observe their lifestyle, diet etc.

After this period, Dr Chatterjee makes informed decisions and advises the family where they are going wrong. After all, the family have invited the good Doctor to their home, they clearly feel they need some sort of advice, or TV appearance fee.

However, the advice given is built on extreme measures and habits that cannot be maintained long term.

In the 2 episodes I saw both consisted of a family of overweights, one of which ate McDonalds (or other fast food) several times a week. While this in itself is unhealthy it can be pointed out, particularly on TV and a family can change.

The weigh-in's, blood tests and other check-ups the families undergo seem to often suggest one or more of the family is at risk of heart disease and/or type 2 Diabetes.

One guy started taking more exercise which would certainly help to lower his blood sugar levels, and he saw the benefits to changing his lifestyle. He was shocked into change, and that can be a good thing.

However, I have a problem with the extreme changes to the families diet as a whole. Chatterjee goes through all the cupboards and drawers in the kitchen, systematically removing and binning everything he sees as "bad".

Cereal, in the bin.
Bread, no thank you.
Rice and pasta, you're 'aving a bleeding larf, aintcha?

And so on, and so forth.

The problem with this? It is not possible for a busy working family to exist on his suggested alternatives.

Eggs for breakfast every day? Well, it's nice for the first day or 2 then I think I'd be banned from the office.

Who has the time in a morning to make eggs, every day? As an alternative to cereal and toast it's a good option, but one for the weekend, surely?

Every single item of carbohydrate is removed from the house and banned.

And that, my friends, is extreme.

No matter what these so called experts say, the body needs carbs. Dr Atkins was wrong and a lot of people suffered from being on his diet. You'd have been better off listening to Marmalade Atkins than this fraud.

It's all well and good observing someone's lifestyle and diet for 24 hours, but that's not an exhaustive investigation into the families lives, and only when that is done can a real informed decision be made.

Snap judgments work for TV, it's clearly intended to shock people into thinking and comparing themselves to the family they're following.

"He's a fatty, look at what he's eating! He's eating all this stuff! He's borderline diabetic, he's gonna have a heart attack! Oh wait, hang on, he's my age, I'm a bit fat, I eat that stuff.... could I be the same?"

The shock factor to make the viewer think about themselves is a good thing, but long term changes cannot be made via an hour long TV show.

As a Diabetic I know all this. I eat carbs, the difference? I eat less carbs.

I still eat cereal, but I eat cereal that I know will release energy slower and won't spike my blood sugar.

I still eat bread, but again I eat wholemeal, which I know is better for me and won't spike my blood sugar.

I still eat pasta and rice, but I eat less of it... Smaller portions, that is the key to it, not stopping eating all these items completely.

Food is labelled now, and although it can be confusing, if you take the time to work out the sugar, salt, fat levels etc in food you can make a change yourself.

I have check-ups twice a year where my blood sugar is measured for the last few weeks, a test known as a HbA1c, the results of which come back very positive each time and I'm told to keep on doing what I'm doing.

It's all well and good programmes such as these shaming families into change, but you have offer real advice and take into account that families do work odd hours sometimes or don't always have the time to make the kind of meals you're suggesting every day, plus there's costs to factor in as well.  Offer advice on healthy lifestyles, tell the families why, educate them but don't just chuck all the shit in the bin and stick them on a prison diet for good because as soon as your arse is out the door that diet's going in the bin and the Coco-Pops are coming back out.

X-Factor, is this really prime time TV?

X-Factor and its predecessors have been gracing our screens for the best part of 15 years now, and I still don't understand why.

Reality TV started in earnest with Big Brother and Pop Idol and it hasn't really gone away, despite it never really getting any better!

Pop Idol turned into Pop Stars: The Rivals and then along came X-Factor in the same format which was basically, get a load of talentless tossers on TV, fawn over them, rig a public vote for the final and then ensure the Christmas Number 1 is the winner, despite the quality of the song being from the toilet.

I just don't understand how this passes for prime time television.  In the 80's the closest we had to X-Factor was "New Faces" with Marti Caine on a Friday night.  It was an hour long, lasted about 6 weeks and that was enough.

There were no "New Faces Offs", nor did Nina Myskow have a spin-off show designed to get viewers to ring a telephone number to make ITV even more  money.

It was just a plain old talent show.

While some of the acts on it weren't brilliant, the fact the show lasted just an hour was enough.  It wasn't pushed to the media, there were no stupid newspaper headlines made up about it and while the singles charts have been manipulated since the 70's there was no pushing the winner so hard across every media outlet that you were sick of the name of them within a week.

However, my point isn't to big up New Faces, it's to compare what we have now with what we had in "the olden days".  I still honestly cannot believe that people think this is what should be entertaining us on a Saturday night, for hours on end!  If ITV tried to do with New Faces what they've done with X-Factor in the 80's there would have been hell on, but for the last 15 years it seems that people are sheep and just accept what is on TV.

Turn on ITV, see it's X-Factor, leave the channel on... Why?!

Why not find something else to watch?  People have become sheep purely by being so lazy and sticking with what's on TV!  It's a fucking singing contest taking up your Saturday night, every fucking week.


You're allowing yourself to get drawn in to an argument that doesn't really exist!  "Oh I can't believe Simon Cowell said that", really?  You don't think he's a cock because he wants you to keep watching?

Same goes for BBC with Strictly.  Why?  In this day and age what was essentially a Ballroom Dancing contest late on a Thursday night on BB2 has become prime time viewing for some.

You are watching a dancing competition with a load of bell ends, what the fuck are you doing?

Can't blame the BBC and ITV for sticking with it, after all you are making them millions of pounds each year texting in and ringing voting lines, they're going to stick with the format - but that is not what the majority of people really want to watch, is it?

Where are the variety shows of old?  Have a singer perform their latest song, get a comedian on, hell get a bloody ventriloquist on but for fucks sake stop using the public as guinea pigs to launch another "Pop Star" who will be finished within the year because they can't sing, have a massive cocaine problem and it turns out they're shagging their sister.

Wake up people!  Watch something real!



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