Bossy doctor on Is Modern Medicine Killing You? really does seem to know what's best.

Being a critic should mean never having to feel guilty. It's in the critics' rulebook. Page 13, I think.

But when the news broke a little while back about Petra Bagust leaving TV One's Breakfast show and then it was announced, more recently, that Good Morning was being slashed from three ad-filled hours to only one, I felt a twinge.

It's just that I'd recently tickled the toes of both shows. Nothing savage. I think I called Petra a banana muffin, comparing her co-host grumpy Rawdon Christie, who I cast as the bran muffin of the show.

Being called a fruit muffin might have been enough to tip her, I thought. And then, critically speaking, I was a bit iffy about Good Morning, which follows Breakfast five fun-filled mornings a week on One. I'm sure the sudden changes on both shows were going to happen anyway. I'd hate to think I had too much in common with the people who make the big decisions at TVNZ.


Though occasionally those people seem to want to commission something local that's halfway decent. Something not even involving contests and elimination rounds. A show, good grief, that seems even to reach out to help - albeit in a tiny, once-over-fairly-lightly televisual sort of way.

Such a show might be Is Modern Medicine Killing You? (Wednesdays, 8.30pm, TV One) as it turns a quizzical eye on modern medicine and looks for a more holistic alternative.

All of which might be slightly sleep- inducing were it not for the fierce presence of the show's presenter, Dr Frances Pitsilis, as she sets out to help ordinary New Zealanders who are enduring chronic pain.

Last week, clear-eyed Dr Frances met Nicky and Daniel, two Kiwis in their mid-30s diagnosed by mainstream medicine as having chronic fatigue syndrome.

Desperate Nicky and depressed Daniel told their stories of how conventional medicine had failed them. It's pretty basic say-and-see TV. When Nicky says her hair's falling out, there's a cut to a clump hitting the shower floor. When Daniel says, at the end, how much better he's feeling after his super doses of vitamins, a cut to shots of him larking about in a park, looking like he is, indeed, feeling much better. But it is TV that seems loosely informed by an urge to help - albeit through a doctor at a desk with a product-placed computer in the middle of it.

The gluten-free diet for the chubby, baking-mad Nicky seemed to do the trick. Last seen, she was a shadow of her former self, out on a marathon walk with her family.

Tomorrow night, the good doctor will be offering holistic answers to a triathlete with back pain and a mother suffering with endometriosis.

Alarmist title aside, Is Modern Medicine Killing You? is old-fashioned TV done slick and given a shot of star power by the bossy doctor who really does seem to know best.

The other nice touch about the show is the introduction of a question mark into a title. A tired old show could be redefined by the simple addition of a question mark.

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