Good old factual TV

Reality TV is all the rage – or am I passed it? (No…) But there is nothing like an hour’s worth of moving, informative and intellectually challenging documentary – and that’s what BBC3 showed on Wednesday evening…

Jono Lancaster and his girlfriend were seen tackling their special subject “So What If My Baby Is Born Like Me?” – watch it on iplayer before next Tuesday http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b010n37y/So_What_If_My_Baby_Is_Born_Like_Me/ – and it clearly attractive major national attention (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12987504).

 Of course, some may have decided to give it a miss thinking ‘not another programme about disfigurement’ – because Jono has a rare condition called Treacher Collins syndrome – but they missed the challenges faced by many couples in working out when and how to conceive a child. In their case, Jono and Laura, took us on a journey into genetics, IVF, surgery, bullying, adoption, childhood surgery and high tech medicine in the living room – and it was compelling watching as they pressed each other to confront the choices…

 And for me, perhaps, the best thing was the normalising of this man’s – couple’s – internal (now very public) debate. They met other couples with other genetic conditions struggling with their choices – and the consequences… Jono’s ‘disfigurement’ was not incidental but just another health condition – as Laura referred to it – with some lousy effects which he had learned to master. Hats off to them both!

 One tiny incident though that made me even more determined to make our package of help much more accessible was the delightful dialogue between Jono and a young boy with the same condition about to go to high school. “What will you do if people look or ask?” posed Jono… and the young lad did not seem to have ready answers. He needs to have…

As a starter, we have a series of self-help guides – free to those with unusual-looking faces:

http://www.changingfaces.org.uk/show/feature/Resources-for-children-and-teens – and teachers can do a lot to help:

http://www.changingfaces.org.uk/show/feature/Teachers%27-publications-and-resources