We sat down with Dr Tosin Ajayi-Sotubo to discuss the new series of Embarrassing Bodies.
Embarrassing Bodies starts Thursday 19th May at 9pm on E4 and All 4.
- Tell us a little bit about you…?
I’m a medical doctor working in London as a NHS and Private General Practitioner. I have a passion for spreading health awareness and educating others. I founded Mind Body Doctor, which is a friendly and accessible online platform to educate and inspire as many people as possible to understand their bodies more and look after their health. I’m also very passionate about women’s health and helping women understand their bodies better. I want to empower people with as much knowledge as possible, as it can really make a world of difference to someone's health and wellbeing in the long term.
- Embarrassing Bodies – how exciting is it to be part of the reboot of this iconic series?
It is extremely exciting. I think the word iconic as you say is so important. Anyone who you mention ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ to says, ‘oh my gosh – that show was great’. I don’t think I realised how much of an impact it had. But doing it and filming the show, I understand why everyone loves it, as it’s making such a big difference to people’s lives. For me, whilst you’re entertaining people, you’re educating people too. It is really exciting to be a part of it. I’ve loved working with the other two doctors too, we get on like a house on fire.
- Tell us what your expertise will bring to the panel of medical professionals?
I would say my expertise is health and wellbeing in general with a focus on women’s health. It’s important for everyone to understand what’s happening in their bodies and as women our bodies change a lot and go through many different life processes. As a panel of medical professionals we’re all different in terms of our personalities and how we communicate with our patients but we all have a common goal, to help our patients and the public.
- Embarrassing Bodies is known for having its shocking moments, what can viewers expect from this series?
There are a lot of shocking moments. Sometimes as a doctor, you think you’re unshockable – and often we are – but even I was a bit shocked. Aside from those shocking moments, there are a lot of interesting cases and moments too, alongside many scenarios that you can relate to as well. So the series is shockable, but relatable.
- The series is also known for its tough moments too, how is it navigating those more difficult conversations?
Personally for me it wasn’t too tricky, because a large part of our job as doctors is handling difficult conversations and handling people’s emotions with empathy and sensitivity. I didn’t find this aspect of the series too difficult, and for me, I often forgot the cameras were there. I think you need to forget, as these are real patients, they are not actors, so you need to treat them like you would any patient.
- Tell us what is different from the original run of Embarrassing Bodies?
It is brighter, more modern and suited to the times. A part of the show is the ‘booth’ which is really interesting and exciting. It mimics the way we do some of our consultations as GPs, especially with the change to more remote consultations during the pandemic. It means we can see people from all over the country. It was a really exciting part of the series for me. It’s also three GPs speaking to one patient – where else do you get that? We could put all our brains together and we all had something unique to bring to each patient. It was also really interesting for me as a doctor to learn from Anand and Jane too.
- Have you found that since the COVID-19 pandemic, young people have found it more difficult to come and talk about a personal problem?
Yes and no. I would say having the ability to do remote consultations where someone is at home and where they can dial in and talk to you, almost removes a barrier for some people. So, some people that may have been struggling with certain difficulties, including people who can’t leave their house or the anxiety of going to a doctor’s surgery is too much, can now sit at home and speak to a doctor – I think that has removed a barrier, especially for some young people. However, at the same time, the pandemic has been a really difficult time for everyone. We know there has been a rise in anxiety along with other mental health conditions during this time. I think this has particularly affected young people and whether those that need to are all seeking help or not is unclear – we don’t have those numbers yet.
- How has it been working with the other medical professionals on the show?
It has been great- and I’m not just saying that. We are all very unique and very different. They are both really great. Anand makes everyone laugh and is always smiling, Jane is really funny and great to work with too. I think what makes us work really well together is that at the end of the day we all have a common goal and that’s wanting to help as many people as possible.
- As a GP, we assume you’re unshockable, but have you ever been totally shocked by someone’s problem?
I haven’t been shocked by a problem, but I’ve been shocked by what people have shown me before. I’ve had a lot of faeces brough to me as well as strange pictures.
- There have also been some celebrity VTs throughout the series, what can you tell us about them?
The celeb VTs have been very exciting as we are focussing on certain health topics which we think are important for the public to know about and to raise awareness. I did one on Bowel cancer and the idea was to help people understand what is happening in their gut and in their poo, so if something changes, they are in a better position to spot it and seek help. We actually worked with an incredible woman who has stage four bowel cancer and she’s such an amazing advocate for raising awareness and educating people.
- What do you hope viewers can take away from this series?
I hope viewers are inspired to learn more about their health, want to understand what is going on in their bodies, and ultimately take control of their health. I really want to take away any barrier that may exist in people seeking help and for the public to feel they can see and speak to their doctor about anything.
- What are your top tips for encouraging young people to visit their GP if they have an issue?
- Go to your consultation prepared. Write down what you want to ask the doctor, as sometimes when you are at your consultation it can be difficult to remember and get across everything you want to say. So be prepared.
- Don’t feel ashamed to ask anything, no question is too big or too small. And if you don’t understand something, ask the doctor to explain it.
- Remember, don’t sit on your worries. If you’re concerned about something please speak to your doctor or a healthcare professional, help is always available.