We sat down with Dr Anand Patel, one of the new medical experts on the E4 reboot of Embarrassing Bodies.
Embarrassing Bodies starts Thursday 19th May at 9pm on E4 and All 4.
- Tell us a little bit about you…?
I am GP by training, but my specialist interests are sexual function and men’s health.
- Embarrassing Bodies – how exciting is it to be part of the reboot of this iconic series?
Completely ridiculous! I got brought into the process late and wasn’t really sure what was happening. Then the team at Maverick told me that I was doing Embarrassing Bodies…I was so excited. When the show first aired, I was so envious of the previous doctors. I always wanted that job back then! Now to be on it, is fabulous. It is daunting as there are big shoes to fill, and also, a lot of my friends are doctors and I don’t want them to look at me and go…’he doesn’t know what he’s doing!’
- Tell us what your expertise will bring to the panel of medical professionals?
I specialise in sexual function and dysfunction. That isn’t the same as sexual infections. It’s erectile problems, painful sex and difficulties with orgasms. I find it fascinating, and I find it interesting that we don’t talk about it enough, but everyone is obsessed about it. It is brilliant to be on a show that is openly talking about sex, but in a really positive way. We’re not shying away from difficult questions.
- Embarrassing Bodies is known for having its shocking moments, what can viewers expect from this series?
The original series was ground-breaking from what we seen before on TV. This series differs as it is the openness of the contributors and how much they are willing to tell us and willing to be vulnerable and let us in to help them.
- Tell us what is different from the original run of Embarrassing Bodies?
It’s a delight. It’s much more representative of the doctors that people would go out and see. It’s a diverse doctor team who are incredibly talented. They are really warm and approachable, but they are also really different to me and have their own specialist areas so it’s really interesting in hearing their viewpoints on certain subjects.
- Have you found that since the COVID-19 pandemic, young people have found it more difficult to come and talk about a personal problem?
I think there is a lot of pent-up care that needs to occur. Very kindly people held back at first as they knew what the NHS was going through. However, it is the mental health impact that I have been most concerned with. People have been isolated for a long time – and that’s not just older people or vulnerable patients – it’s young people too. It’s not only because people have struggled with the anxiety around the pandemic itself, but its money worries, going back to their home environments and not being around their chosen families and friends, that has made people feel vulnerable and had a significant impact on their mental health. I think the pandemic has been really difficult for young people, but hopefully we are on our way to adapting to it. It is certainly in no way over. There is a lot of care that needs to happen in terms of mental health impact, and we’re doing what we can to support with this.
- What do you hope viewers can take away from this series?
I would love if people can think about their bodies with less shame – it’s an incredible ‘machine’ we should be amazed by and delight in and take pleasure from. I would like people to pick up some tips and tricks that would help them live longer happier lives in good health. I also want viewers to come and get their body or mind checked, if they have a concern. We’re not monsters, we’re not people to be feared - we’re not going to tell you off!
- What are your top tips for encouraging young people to visit their GP if they have an issue?
If you have something that persists or that you’re worried about, that is serious, painful, a new lump or something that looks like it might fall off (!) or whatever…go and see your GP. They might tell you that's normal, or they might want to investigate it, but we don’t mind you coming to talk to us – that’s our job! I’d much rather reassure someone than wish they’d come to us sooner!