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 – and it clearly attractive major national attention (

 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: – and teachers can do a lot to help:


One thought on “Good old factual TV

  1. Hi there. I came across the BBC 3 documentary on Jono somehow via a link which was on my AOL homepage for Katie Piper. I am so glad that I came across him and his girlfriend Laura’s plight and watched it just now on iPlayer. I come from a village some five miles from Jono near Pontefract, but now live in Berkshire. Seeing what he has overcome in his short 20-odd years makes me proud to be a Yorkshire lass. I also lost a son at birth some 11 years ago to a fatal renal anomaly so know what they could possibly face if they had a child who had a severe form of TCS. The death of a baby is something which affects you for the rest of your life and if they are able to avoid that, then I salute them. They have to think of what is right for the child and not what may or may not be right for them. I wish them all the luck in the world and every happiness for the future, whatever it may bring. If you are in contact with them, do let them know that a fellow Yorkshire lass who was once from the pit fields across the way in Fitzwilliam sends her regards.

    Best wishes

    Lynda Bowyer

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