About the Show
Long-running documentary strand that investigates extraordinary and moving real-life stories about the extremes of the human body
The Man with the 10-Stone Testicles
The extraordinary story of 49-year-old Las Vegas resident Wesley Warren Jnr, a man who lives with a rare medical condition so severe that he can't wear trousers, walk normally, go to work, drive a car, have sex, or even sit down without the help of a milk crate.
His story highlights the failings of the American healthcare system, which has arguably some of the best doctors in the world, but only for those who can afford them.
While the medical profession are unsure what caused Wesley's condition, for him it all started one night in late 2008. Wesley accidentally knocked his testicles while turning over in bed, causing a sharp shooting pain, and the tissues around his testicles began to swell. They've been growing bigger ever since.
In a case reminiscent of the tragic 19th-century 'Elephant Man', doctors refer to his mysterious condition as scrotal elephantiasis or scrotal lymphedema, characterised by excess watery fluid collecting in tissues of the body. Things have got so bad that Wesley can't lead anything resembling a normal life.
This intimate documentary gives a unique insight into Wesley's daily struggles, his humiliating encounters and the life-or-death operation he faces to cure this shocking ailment.
Revealing the story of how his testicles became so large, the cameras follow Wesley from his cramped Vegas apartment to one of the world's leading operating theatres, as he embarks on a fierce battle to reclaim his body and his dignity.
The programme meets the trail-blazing surgeon and medical team - many of whom have never seen a case on this scale - and views their cutting-edge procedures first-hand.
Will the operation enable Wesley to lead a normal life again?
In a tiny hamlet in Colombia, six-year-old Didier has struggled with a huge burden - a rare condition called a Congenital Melanocytic Nevus. It's a giant mole that grew so much it covered 40% of his body. It resembled a shell, and Didier was nicknamed Turtle Boy.
There was a chance it could turn malignant. And Didier's mother Luz struggled with an additional burden - guilt. In this superstitious society, there was a belief that Didier's growth was a result of being conceived during an eclipse, which meant Luz and her family had to live apart from the rest of the village.
Luz longed to be free to have her son baptised, to take him to school and see him grow up like any other boy. But there was no way she could raise the money for an operation, until a local news crew broadcast a story on Didier.
The procedure would be complicated and dangerous, and even if it was successful the recovery process would involve a complicated series of skin grafts.
This extraordinary film traces Didier's story: a story of cutting-edge medicine, a mother's love, and a brave six-year-old's fight to be released from his burden.
The 27 Inch Man
Edward Hernandez is 24 years old and just 27 inches tall. At home in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of Bogota in Colombia, Edward is used to unwanted attention from strangers, but in 2010 his life changed dramatically when he was officially declared the shortest man in the world.
The media frenzy was immediate. How would Edward cope with overnight fame, and, with so many contenders for this iconic record, how long could he keep hold of his title?
When Chinese record holder He Pingping died in March 2010, Edward's family were one of many around the world who saw an opportunity and sent his details to the offices of Guinness World Records.
Once Edward had been measured by Guinness and his height was authenticated, the announcement was made. Edward Hernandez was the smallest man in the world.
Before his record, Edward scarcely left the house. Now he was invited to the Colombian President's palace and became a hit on the Latin American chat show circuit.
Edward had been plagued with health problems since birth. His newfound celebrity brought free health care and he has an operation to restore his fading eyesight - something his family could never have afforded.
But Edward quickly discovers there's also a downside to fame, particularly when he is guest of honour at Colombia's equivalent of the FA Cup final, and a riot kicks off.
Then, just weeks after winning his title, there is bad news for Edward. In Nepal, the smallest teenager in the world is about to turn 18, and Edward's title - and the fame and fortune it's brought - is under threat.
Dad's Having a Baby
Logan and Greg could be two kids in any average American family. Except they have two dads and one of them is pregnant. Now, they are starting a new life in new town, in the US Bible Belt. How will their neighbours react to this extraordinary family?
This sensitive, intimate portrait follows an ordinary family, raising children and seeking to bring new life into the world, while believing that prejudice can be overcome if only people would see them for who they are: a loving and protective family unit.
Tom and Scott Moore have been married for three years. Born as Jessica and Laura, they each came from traditional families. Now gay men, they met at the local Lesbian Gay Bi Transgender group and fell in love.
Tom already had two adopted sons, Greg and Logan, who form the backbone of their family, along with two dogs, two cats, a turtle and a puffer fish.
Thirteen-year-old Greg has a form of autism called Aspergers syndrome. Eleven-year-old Logan has just started middle school. Together, the Moores were blissfully happy as a family of four, but like most married couples, Scott and Tom still wanted to try for a baby. Unlike most male gay couples, they had the means to do so, as Scott still has working female reproductive organs.
Biologically, getting pregnant is no different for him and he just needed a sperm donor. In fact, the biggest difficulty faced by a pregnant man is other people's judgement.
The documentary follows Scott's pregnancy and the safe delivery of his baby son, Miles. Their lives continue to twist and turn when a freak fire, which burns down their house, forces them to relocate. They quit their jobs, pack up what is left of their possessions and drive their family 1000 miles south to start a new life in New Mexico.
Now Greg and Logan have to adjust to new classmates, and the prospect of explaining their unusual family set-up to strangers, while Scott and Tom have to deal with the conservative views of their neighbours, many of whom think only women should have children.
Despite all the pressures they face, will Scott and Tom decide to continue growing their family, and have another baby?
I'm Turning into a Giant
Thirty-one-year-old Tanya Angus from Nevada in the USA, who was once a pretty and popular young woman, now stands at 6ft 8ins and weighs almost 32 stone. Tanya is already one of the tallest and heaviest women on the planet.
Alarmingly, she is still growing, and lives in agonising pain. Now doctors say she is the only woman in the world whose growth cannot be halted by medication.
This Bodyshock special follows Tanya's extraordinary journey as she struggles to come to terms with her unstoppable growth and joins the world's leading doctors in a race against time to ultimately save her life.
Acromegalic Gigantism is an extremely rare condition that causes the body to grow to massive proportions, a condition that can transform anyone into a real-life giant.
With unprecedented access to other Acromegaly sufferers, Bodyshock uncovers the enormous toll this unpredictable affliction takes on the human body and shows the groundbreaking technology top neurosurgeons are utilising in the battle to stop the growth.
The programme follows the astonishing lives of three people as they cope with this colossal growth, and medical experts explain the science behind this little-known yet life-threatening disease.
The Twins Who Share a Brain
Three-year-old twins Krista and Tatiana Hogan are conjoined at the head. It is usual to carry out separation surgery on conjoined twins as early as possible, but Krista and Tatiana can never be separated.
Bodyshock presents a rare and moving portrait of a family determined to keep their twins together and give them a fulfilling life.
The filmmakers follow the family as the girls make progress through one of the most difficult years of their lives, and have unexpectedly positive effects on the rest of the family. Most poignantly, doctors finally discover whether these extraordinary little girls can see through each other's eyes, as their mother believes.
Our Daughter, the Mermaid
Shiloh Pepin, from Maine, USA, was born with Sirenomelia or 'mermaid syndrome': an extremely rare congenital disease meaning her legs were fused together below the hips.
She was born without a rectum or genitals, almost no large intestine and just a small piece of her kidney.
Shiloh was given just days to live. Knowing her life could be cut short at any moment, her parents, Leslie and Elmer, devoted their lives to caring for her.
Against all odds she survived and in 2009 she celebrated her tenth birthday, a milestone doctors said she would never reach.
Filmed over six months that would change her family's lives forever, this is the unforgettable story of an ordinary family living with an extraordinary condition.
I Am the Elephant Man
China's 'Elephant Man', Huang Chuncai, tells his own shocking story as he undergoes surgery to remove life-threatening tumours weighing 20kg that have caused him a lifetime of suffering.
As a small child, Huang developed a small facial swelling. Now 31, his features have been destroyed and his body wracked by the tumours, which make up half his body weight.
Bodyshock follows Huang as he travels to one of China's leading cancer hospitals for the surgery that he hopes will allow him to live a normal life, but which also carries terrible risks.
Half Ton Dad
Forty-year-old American father of four Kenneth Brumley weighed 73 stone when he was cut free from his house.
Even bigger than Half Ton Mum, Renee, from the Bodyshock documentary of that name, Kenneth's last chance was to undergo the same weight-loss surgery that she had. Sadly, it did not work for Renee - would things be more successful for Kenneth?
Half Ton Dad is the story of a father, his family and a country which currently has 15 million morbidly obese citizens.
Girl Who Cries Blood
This Bodyshock Special features 13-year-old Twinkle Dwivedi who, for nearly two years, has inexplicably cried tears of blood. The spontaneous bleeding, which happens almost daily, also comes from her head, hands and feet.
The programme follows Twinkle and her mother as they travel from their home in northern India to explore the cause of her extraordinary condition, visiting a Catholic Bishop to ask whether her bleeding is stigmata, bathing in the Ganges and visiting an alternative medicine centre.
But when a world expert on blood disorders flies in to examine her, Twinkle's journey of discovery edges closer to some uncomfortable possibilities.
Age 8 and Wanting a Sex Change
As experts consider a review of UK guidelines for treating transgender children, this film follows a number of children in the US who told their parents they were born in the wrong body.
In America, children under 16 can be prescribed hormone 'blockers' to prevent the onset of puberty, with a view to then follow with hormone treatment to become their new gender. This film follows the American experience.
Eight-year-old Josie was born a boy but has been living as a girl for two years since revealing the full extent of his feelings about his identity to his mother.
Kyla is also eight. She was born a boy but loves anything pink and sparkly, has grown his hair, and is preparing to return for school after summer dressed as a girl for the first time. She says: 'If I had to wear boys' clothes and be a boy for the rest of my life, I'd probably die.'
They have both been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
Sixteen-year-old Chris, who was born a girl, started testosterone treatment at 14. He now has a deep voice and plentiful body hair, and shaves regularly.
These children and their parents reveal what it is like to face life-changing questions, giving a frank insight into a subject most people never have to consider.
Half Ton Mum
Half Ton Mum tells the story of the world's heaviest woman, Renee Williams, a 64-stone, 29-year-old mother of two who, in a desperate bid to lose enough weight to save her life, undergoes life-threatening surgery.
Renee, who has realised she wants to be around long enough to see her two daughters grow up, hopes her story will help change the lives of the estimated 2 million Americans who weigh more than 40 stone.
Half Ton Son
Nineteen-year-old Billy Robbins weighs 60 stone and is reported to be the world's heaviest teenager. He has spent the past three years living in a chair as his mother cooks for, cleans and feeds him. But Billy has made the decision to turn his life around in the hope that one day he may be able to move out of his mother's home.
Billy realises that after being fed up to 8,000 calories a day, he has to change his diet not only in order to gain his own independence from his mother, but if he is to live into his twenties.
The seriousness of his condition is confirmed by Billy's doctor, Dr Nowzaradan, who tells him that the strain on Billy's heart is now critical. He must begin the slow and torturous route to a target weight of just over 14 stone - undergoing a possible seven operations in the process.
This astonishing story also revolves around Billy's relationship with his mother and the co-dependency that seems to exist between them.
World's Biggest Boy
At just seven years old Dzhambulat Khatokhov ('Jambik' for short) is four foot three inches tall and weighs 16 stone - as much as a baby elephant. He dwarfs his older brother who is twice his age and less than half his weight.
Nobody knows why Jambik is so big, or what this means for his long-term health. But Dr Campbell - one of the world's leading experts on obesity - is determined to find out.
Travelling over 2000 miles to the Caucasus Mountains in Southern Russia, Campbell meets the 'biggest boy in the world' to see what, if anything, can be done for him..
Born with Two Heads
Manar Maged was born with two heads. The second has a brain, but no body. Despite this, the second head shows signs of independent consciousness - blinking, smiling, crying. It even tries to suckle.
Worringly, Manar's second head is also a parasite and is slowly killing her. This condition, called craniopagus parasiticus, has only been recorded 10 times in medical history.
Neurosurgeon Professor Lotvi has pioneered a technique to prevent the bleeding common in surgery on twins conjoined at the head. Bodyshock details the operation needed to save Manar's life.
The 80-Year-Old Children
A Swiss doctor discovered these tiny, fragile children in a remote Indian village in 2003. Their bones were dissolving and their hair thining and he diagnosed them with progeria, a rare disease that uncontrollably accelerates its sufferers into old age.
Even relative to what is already known about the disease, the children remain a medical mystery. One mother had given birth to five children who had been affected, despite an established average of one sufferer in every 4 million births.
Half Ton Man
Weighing the same as five baby elephants and a shade less than a Mini Cooper, Patrick Deuel is one of the heaviest men ever - and a medical miracle. His heart and other organs should have collapsed long before he reached his record-breaking weight of 76 stone 8lbs.
Patrick has been lifted through a removed wall and taken to hospital in a reinforced ambulance, put on a diet and given a gastric bypass operation. Once home again, he must decide whether he wants to live - or to continue eating himself to death.
Rosalie Bradford, who was once one of the world's fattest women, lost an incredible 900 pounds only after she realised that her food addiction was a reponse to childhood neglect.
Bodyshock looks at both of these stories, and the growing number of people who appear to be eating themselves to death.
The Man Who Ate His Lover
On 9 March 2001, Armin Meiwes, a computer engineer from the tiny village of Wüstefeld in Germany, cut off the penis of Bernd Brandes, a software designer from Berlin.
The pair had met on the internet and shared cannibalistic erotic fantasies, culminating in their both trying to eat Brandes' freshly severed penis. Three hours later, Brandes was still alive, but slowly bleeding to death. Meiwes decided to finish him off by stabbing him in the throat, and then eat 20kg of his flesh, taking the time to film the whole thing.
Now that Meiwes has been tried for murder, Bodyshock is able to tell the astonishing tale of two men's twisted imaginations and the gruesome climax of their whirlwind romance.
Anatomy of a Shark Bite
The chances of being bitten by a shark are 80 million to one. So what does that make the odds of it being caught on film?!
This incredible documentary features and analyses not one but two such episodes, examining them forensically to show exactly what prompts such attacks and how, in the future, it may be possible to stop them.
Eric, the shark expert behind this programme, is well placed to give his opinion - he filmed one of the bites himself. In fact, it was him that was bitten...
Curse of the Mermaid
With her legs fused together like a tail, Milagros Cerron has one of the rarest birth abnormalities in the world: sirenomelia, or 'mermaid syndrome'. Can an operation by charismatic but controversial plastic surgeon Dr Luis Rubio, to be broadcast live on national television, save this little Peruvian girl?
The story of the operation and the attendant media circus is a revealing look at what happens when medicine, politics, religion and superstition collide in a poor and struggling country.
Girl with Eight Limbs Grows Up
Bodyshock revisits Lakshmi Tatma, the girl who was born with eight limbs, a year after she underwent a life-saving operation to remove her half-formed conjoined twin's arms and legs.
When Lakshmi was born with four arms and four legs, she was immediately worshipped by her parents and others in their poverty-stricken village as the reincarnation of Lakshmi, the eight-legged goddess of prosperity and wealth.
But they faced a dilemma: only a groundbreaking operation to remove the conjoined twin's limbs could save their daughter's life, but the same gruelling procedure might easily kill her.
In a modern hospital in Bangalore, which seems a million miles from their hut in the village and the superstitions of their religion, they agreed for their daughter to undergo the 18-hour operation.
A year later, she has not only survived but flourished. This Bodyshock Special finds out how Lakshmi, who is now three, is developing, and what further operations and treatment she still needs to develop as normally as possible.
The programme also returns with her to her village, where some believe the worst droughts in 50 years were caused by the operation, which they believe removed Lakshmi's goddess powers to protect them from disasters.
In the Romanian province of Transylvania, Lucica Bunghez is being eaten alive, consumed by an 11-stone tumour growing out of her back. Eventually, it will kill her.
Lucica suffers from neurofibromatosis (Nf), a genetic disorder that makes the body spontaneously produce benign tumours, and doctors don't dare operate on a tumour that has reached this size.
Only one man can help her. Dr McKay McKinnon, at the University of Chicago Hospital, is a world expert at removing large tumours, and Lucica has sent a desperate plea for him to see if he can save her.
The Boy Who Gave Birth to his Twin
The incredible story of seven-year-old Alamjan from Kazakhstan who underwent surgery for a distended stomach that was making him look pregnant. What the doctors discovered inside was reported around the world - Alamjan's own twin was growing inside of him.
Known literally as 'a baby inside a baby', the condition is very rare, but its examination leads to insight that a life and death struggle for survival takes place between all twins when they are in the womb.
The Girl with Eight Limbs
For a few weeks in 2007 she was the most famous little girl in the world. Lakshmi Tatma was the girl with eight limbs, born with one of the world's rarest physical abnormalities.
Joined at the pelvis to her half-formed twin, she had four arms and four legs. In her remote Indian village she was revered as a living god.
Bodyshock had exclusive access to follow Lakshmi and her family through the life-threatening surgery to remove her extra limbs.
The Girl with Two Faces
Early March, 2008, in rural India, against odds of 50 million to one, an apparently healthy baby was born with two faces.
News spread rapidly and, on hearing about this extraordinary baby girl just days after her birth, Bodyshock began following Lali's amazing story.
More than 2000 miles away in in Bangalore, a doctor hears of Lali's condition and wants to help, but her parents mistrust modern medicine. They must decide - as quickly as possible - whether they are willing to allow their extraordinary daughter to travel across India for help.
The Man Who Slept for 19 Years
Twenty years ago Terry Wallis fell into a coma. Doctors said he would never wake up, but his devoted mother Angilee never gave up hope.
Suddenly, after 19 years, Terry woke up.
No one has ever emerged from a coma after so long. Terry is a medical miracle. But this is no Hollywood-style awakening; Terry's mind is stuck in the year of his accident, and he is unable to recognise that he can no longer use his limbs, or that his baby daughter is now grown up.
The film also tells the story of British couple Clare and Roy King. Roy was unconscious for just ten minutes following a minor car crash, but the damage to his brain robbed him of the capacity to love his wife and child.
Two Foot Tall Teen
In her home town of Nagpur in India, 16-year-old Jyoti Amge is a normal teenager in many ways: she enjoys going to school and socialising with friends, and dreams of dancing in Bollywood movies. But Jyoti is only one foot and eleven inches tall, and will never grow any taller, crippled by brittle bones. This Bodyshock special meets this extraordinary girl to discover her story and explore what her future holds.
When Jyoti's mother, Ranjana, who had four healthy children already, became pregnant, she instinctively knew that something was wrong, and even up until the full nine months, baby Jyoti could not be seen on the medical scans. Doctors were in shock when she was finally delivered at 10 months, weighing just over three pounds. The Amge family, devout Hindus, saw Jyoti's birth and survival as a miracle that deepened their faith. Ranjana, and Jyoti's father, Kishanji, meet with senior orthopaedic surgeon Dr Ram Soni, who believes he can mend her fractured legs and help her walk without pain. He is also keen to be the first to diagnose Jyoti's probable condition for certain as pituitary dwarfism, where the body severely lacks the necessary growth hormones from the pituitary gland.
The only solution is a high-risk operation to realign her bones and insert metal rods to hold them in place. Jyoti's parents understand that this could change her life, but are extremely concerned about the shock to her body and how much she would suffer. The family turn to their faith to help battle their fears, taking Jyoti to a highly revered guru and also to a renowned healer, in hope of spiritual guidance and an alternative solution.
Torn between the desire to repair Jyoti's legs and also avoid further damage to her, can they move forward with the modern treatment offered by Dr Soni?
World's Tallest Man: Looking for Love
At over eight feet tall, Sultan Kösen from Turkey is the world's tallest man. This Bodyshock special follows his journey around the world in search of a cure for his Gigantism - the life-threatening disease that causes him to grow even further beyond his record-breaking height.
After he was crowned the world's tallest man in September 2009, Sultan's title brought him the attention of the world, but he desires more than just fame; there's only one thing he really wants - a true love. He meets a new best friend in George Bell, America's tallest man, and meets a girl for his first ever date.
But, as this film uncovers, his biggest challenges are still to come. He was born into a poor family in a remote Turkish village, and they spent most of their money on hospital treatment to remove the tumour on his pituitary gland that caused him to grow taller. As a result, Sultan grew up scared and alone.
For the first time, Sultan invites viewers into his new home in Ankara, and takes the film-makers back to where it all began, where his family open their hearts.
The film follows him on an inspirational journey across the world as he goes in search of urgent life-saving surgery.
This revealing documentary delves deep into the mind of the troubled 27-year-old, and follows the emotional story of the world's tallest man and his fight for survival.
Long-running documentary strand that investigates extraordinary and moving real-life stories about the extremes of the human bodyEpisode Guide >