The World's... and Me
About the Show
Is being different a blessing or a curse? What is everyday life like when you look extraordinary? Mark Dolan explores the remarkable worlds of some incredible people who are anything but average.
Series 1 Summary
Mark Dolan travels the world to meet the people whose extraordinary bodies - for better or worse - set them apart from average men and women. He also discovers our fascination with the extremes of the physical form is not limited to humans...
Episode 1 - The World's Smallest Man and Me
Following the death of 71cm Nelson de la Rosa in 2006, a number of possible contenders for the title of world's smallest man emerged. Mark sets off to meet them all, and to find out what this title would mean to them and their families.
First up, it's a village in Nepal where a 16-year-old boy called Khagendra Thapa Magar is currently 64cm tall. Regarded by some of his compatriots as a deity, Khagendra is already a celebrity. His manager organises the income that this status brings.
In Taiwan, Mark meets Lin Yu-Chih, whose height is recorded at 67.5cm. Also a local celebrity, Yu-Chih suffers from brittle bones and is confined to a wheelchair and so his preferred exercise is Nintendo Wii.
At Yu-Chih's suggestion, Mark continues on to Inner Mongolia to meet another contender. After a fee has been negotiated with his brother-in-law, 74cm He Pingping invites Mark to spend Chinese New Year with them.
This 19-year-old is taller than his peers, but Khagendra is too young to be declared the world's shortest, and Yu-Chih's brittle bones make him difficult to measure.
Does He Pingping want the title of world's shortest man? Or are there others around him, and the others, who are more concerned with the status - and profits - that the title brings?
Episode 2 - The World's Tallest Woman and Me
The journey begins in Phoenix at the Central Arizona Tall Society. At 6'5" himself, Mark fits in well. He shares a dance with Ellen, a 6'10" blonde who reveals that it's not easy to find clothes that fit her - let alone find love.
Next stop Indianapolis, home to Sandy Allen, the 7'7" woman who, at 52, has long been officially regarded as the world's tallest woman. Too tall to walk, she has to use a wheelchair to get around.
Although fond of her celebrity, Sandy craves a normal family life. Also, she tells Mark about a 35-year-old Chinese woman called Yao De Fen who may be even taller still...
Mark heads to China to try and meet Yao De Fen, who proves much more elusive than her American peer.
The final visit is to India, and Mark is starting to wonder whether being so tall ever makes anyone happy.
Episode 3 - The World's Fattest Pet and Me
Although there's little money at stake, owners from the around the world have been drawn to the bizarre fame and prestige associated with owning the fattest pet.
Until recently, competition revolved around the Guinness Book of Records, but since the key category was retired, there is no final authority to determine who the fattest pet is.
Mark Dolan is determined to find out for himself who the world's fattest pet really is; his enquiries take him to America, Germany and the UK.
Along the way, he discovers casting sessions for dogs, websites with advice on how to fatten your pet and a talking dog with its own stalker.
However, the most interesting story lies with the owners - why would someone want to create a giant pet?
Episode 4 - The World's Hairiest Person and Me
As Mark Dolan tries to find the hairiest people in the world, it becomes apparent that the era of the circus freak show is not quite over, even at the start of the 21st century.
The `Wool Boy' of China is a national celebrity with a singing career and an ambition to be a torchbearer at the Beijing Olympics.
But it's in Mexico that Mark meets an extraordinary family of hairy people who have worked in freak shows for generations. What effect does such a lifestyle have on someone? Is it possible to leave this kind of existence behind and lead a normal life?
Mark's conclusion is that the world's hairiest men have a love-hate relationship with their appearance. It provides their fame and livelihood, yet they're desperate to escape it and move on to a life where they're known for something other than being hairy.
The World's... and Me synopsis
Is being different a blessing or a curse? What is everyday life like when you look extraordinary? Mark Dolan explores the remarkable worlds of some incredible people who are anything but average.Episode Guide >