Colin Hogg on television

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Colin Hogg: Bodies quite the primetime eye opener

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Going straight to the bottom of our most primal fears about issues of a medical nature is Embarrassing Bodies' constant visual refrain of a doctorial hand in a rubber glove, says Hogg. Photo / Supplied
Going straight to the bottom of our most primal fears about issues of a medical nature is Embarrassing Bodies' constant visual refrain of a doctorial hand in a rubber glove, says Hogg. Photo / Supplied

Made very nervous by its title, I've been avoiding that popular primetime TV series Embarrassing Bodies. I figured it just wasn't what I was able to handle by way of visual distraction.

Then, against my better instincts, I looked - shrieked in horror and hid my eyes behind a cushion for a bit.

Then I looked again. It's that sort of show, a shameless mix of prurience and helpful medical investigation, with the emphasis firmly on the former.

It's an odd show too, English and slightly eccentric with a presenter striding along a beach enthusiastically shouting at the camera, "There's no escaping our hunt for those embarrassing bodies."

He doesn't appear to have an embarrassing body himself, though he does quite a few embarrassing things on the show - some of them involving rubber gloves.

Embarrassing Bodies is quite keen on them. Going straight to the bottom of our most primal fears about issues of a medical nature is the show's constant visual refrain of a doctorial hand in a rubber glove.

So I can hardly complain that Embarrassing Bodies (8.30pm, TV2, Thursdays) doesn't offer plenty of warning it's going to be a little confronting for those of us sensitive about our sensitive parts.

And it certainly is as it gleefully takes infotainment TV to a new level of intrusion, laying on the explicit nudity and surgery in the name of a series of compelling documentary vignettes about the frailty of the human condition.

"There's no shame we're all the same," is another tagline Embarrassing Bodies likes to repeat, before continuing to prove that we are not all the same at all.

Last week, for instance, we got up close and alarmingly personal with a woman suffering painful sex due to a misplaced womb, a pregnant woman having problems with her pierced nipples and an old gent with a hernia in an intimate spot.

This week the star of the show will be a lady with testicles. "And they're getting bigger," she shouted in the promo at the end of last week's episode.

God help us all.

Another show I approached with caution was Jamie's 15 Minute Meals (7pm, Saturday, TV3), figuring I'd long since had enough of that spotty erk and his quest to save the world from awful food.

I'm not saying that saving the world from awful food is a bad ambition.

The dislike was more to do with the spotty erkness and all the Cockney bonhomie that deathless chef boy Jamie Oliver tends to drizzle over everything like bleeding balsamic.

But it turns out that Jamie's 15 Minute Meals is actually a decent little show - delivering two, as promised, 15-minute dishes, shot straight and simple in real time in a studio.

No nancing round town to meet butchers and fishmongers, no special guests. No spots, little erkness, though Jamie still says: "First fings first."

Last, and most nervously perhaps, I approached Joanna Lumley's Greek Odyssey (7.30pm, Sunday, TV One).

I was excited that TV One would run such an old-fashioned show in primetime still, though less excited about the batty old English girl fronting it.

Joanna Lumley and her gormless waffle have previously made me not want to go up the Nile with her or explore the wonderful world of cats.

But, loose in Greece - and perhaps informed by an informative script - Joanna's running on interesting rails.

Watching a cricket match in a Corfu carpark, chasing the ghost of Byron and flirting with oily wrestlers, she managed never to loom larger than the people and the landscape, while still being true to her nutty self.

- NZ Herald

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