Archive for April 30th, 2010|Daily archive page

Embarrassing Bodies: Kids

Here’s an article from this week’s Broadcast. Embarrassing Bodies: Kids starts tonight at 9pm on Channel 4.

Embarrassing Bodies extends site to tackle children’s health

29 April, 2010 | By Robin Parker

Live & kicking

Channel 4 has unveiled yet another brand extension for the Embarrassing Bodies franchise: a website devoted to children’s health.

The site, to be hosted at channel4.com/kids, will feature exclusive videos and applications featuring the doctors from the main show and the four-part Embarrassing Bodies: Kids, which begins this week.

Producer Maverick has worked with Dr Dawn Harper to create the Development Milestones application, which enables parents to plot their child’s development and receive detailed advice on what to do if this process shows up
any abnormalities.

Parents will receive reminders as children hit further milestones and when they require immunisations and health checks.

A Kids Lifestyle Checker application analyses a child’s lifestyle and calculates risk levels for 13 key conditions, and offers personalised advice on making positive changes.

Dr Christian Jessen is fronting a series of videos billed as Should We Be Worried?, in which he explains the symptoms and remedies for more than 80 of the most common childhood illnesses.

The site will span health issues affecting children of all ages – from babies and toddlers to older kids – and will be integrated with government-funded health advice site NHS Choices.

C4 cross-platform commissioner Adam Gee said the site was launched to address the lack of high-quality video on the web tackling children’s health issues, with older kids particularly under-served.

Embarrassing Bodies’ established website, at channel4.com/ bodies, has been used by 6 million people to date and has attracted more than 6.5 million video views.

It is now in the running for a Bafta TV Craft award, opposite The Apprentice’s Predictor game, which was developed by Monterosa with Talkack Thames and the BBC; Objective Productions’ and Illumina Digital’s C4 education
project Science of Scams; and Who Killed Summer?, a web teen drama produced by Bigballs Films, MWorks and Hideous Productions.

The children’s website will go live next week, and on 14 May the established live web show Embarrassing Bodies Live will focus on children’s health.

Last month, Maverick unveiled a 4 x 60-minute extension to the brand, Embarrassing Fat Bodies, and won an 18-part recommission of the main show. Last year, it produced a special edition centred on old people.

[This article is reproduced courtesy of Broadcast.]

EBK in NMA

An article from New Media Age on Embarrassing Bodies: Kids which launches today at www.channel4.com/kids

Embarrassing Bodies: Kids

Embarrassing Bodies: Kids

Channel 4 and Maverick build site to help parents keep kids healthy

Jessica Davies

Channel 4 has launched a site Embarrassing Bodies: Kids to boost engagement with parents concerned about their children’s health.

The site at channel4.com/kids goes live today to coincide with the show’s broadcast. It features exclusive video and social applications providing more space for parents to share advice and experiences.

The broadcaster and production company Maverick TV hope to build up a community around the site, in turn boosting audience dwell time.

The first Embarrassing Bodies site, which won a BAFTA for interactivity, attracted 6m users and 6.5m video views, plus a further 9m via Channel 4’s official YouTube channels.

Adam Gee, cross-platform commissioner at Channel 4, said, “The original site was never really intended to build up a community per se, as people generally used it to follow up a specific issue and would then be directed to the best online or offline support group.

“The Kids site aims to increase engagement and time spent on it, as parents will be able to discuss a common interest: their children.”

The site has a Development Milestones application so parents can plot their child’s development over time and receive reminders when immunisations and check-ups are due.

The broadcaster has also opened up a range of advertising opportunities for the site, including creative sponsorships.

Channel 4 will host a special episode of Embarrassing Bodies Live on 14 May focusing on kids’ health, airing exclusively online at channel4.com/bodieslive.

[This article is reproduced courtesy of New Media Age.]

Sparking the imagination

Here are some extracts from an article on Creation Interactive which illustrates how Embarrassing Bodies is getting the healthcare industry to rethink how it communicates with patients and the public…

TV & Online: What can TV’s Embarrassing Bodies teach the healthcare industry?

With an outstanding level of online engagement during and after each programme, Embarrassing Bodies shows a strong correlation between relevant and challenging content and behaviour change.

A serious medical condition can make for uncomfortable discussions between friends and family.  But what if you suffer from an embarrassing illness, one you can’t share with your aunt, your workmates or you may even be too ashamed to speak to a medical professional about it?

In the UK, a television show has sparked the imagination of TV and internet viewers by getting people to talk about, share and understand medical and body conditions that some people might think are obscure, freakish or disgusting.

With over 4 million TV viewers and an outstanding level of online engagement during and after each programme, Embarrassing Bodies illustrates that:

  • Consumers are interested in everyday health, sickness and wellbeing
  • Engaging content can make difficult health subjects accessible through everyday language
  • People are willing to talk about personal and embarrasing health issues online
  • Access to senior physicians provides a platform for stimulating response
  • There is a strong correlation between relevant and challenging content and behaviour change

Embarrassing bodies TV series

Embarrassing Bodies was commissioned by Channel 4 as part of their public service remit to explore difficult personal medical issues. Since 2007 the factual entertainment series and website, produced by Maverick Television, has delivered on-screen diagnosis by the team’s professional medical presenters who explain complex medical conditions in an engaging way. They follow patients through their decisions and operations, showing life-changing stories as sufferers are relieved of burdens from illness they have lived with sometimes for many years.  Participants trust the show’s talented experts, who include Doctors Christian Jessen, Pixie McKenna and Dawn Harper who have become role models for General Practitioners.

The heart-rendering Charlotte’s Story told the journey of a child who’s ugly verrucas were diagnosed as a symptom of a life-threatening bone marrow condition. The broadcast had an incredible response: The Antony Nolan Trust saw a 5,000% rise in requests for information on Bone Marrow Transplant the day after transmission.

Embarrasing BodiesTV content from Charlotte’s Story includes close-up detail of surgery

The power of the web experience

The secret to the show’s success is its engaging web and interactive experience.  The website generated the highest ever web and mobile viewing figures for a Channel 4 show, garnering 1.2 million page views within 24 hours of a May 2008 broadcast. The show regularly attracts 150,000 viewers who engage during or after each episode.

Viewers respond to a powerful call-to-action from the TV broadcast to visit the website where they can explore the issues raised.  An Autism-Spectrum Test was accessed 38,000 times in less than a minute.

The show encourages viewers to take further action to safeguard their health by performing checks on their skin, breast and testicles, providing web resources for self-diagnosis.  The website regularly receives comments from those who have been motivated to act, like a woman who discovered a lump in her breast:

“Because I found it in very early stages, it hadn’t spread and my outlook is fabulous. Thank you for your clear way of showing people like me how to potentially save our own lives!”

The show has a presence in selected networks: through the TV broadcast, the website, and a Facebook group (which has 147,000 fans) which feeds key stories and links from the show’s main website.  The #embarrasingbodies hashtag is used by thousands of Twitter viewers during the show, although the show has no official Twitter presence.



Channel 4’s Cross Platform Commissioner Adam Gee believes the key to the series’ success is in combining talent and honesty in an entertaining and engaging form.

“If you want to talk about lactose intolerance, get their attention by talking about farting as a way into it.  Health information doesn’t need to be po-faced. It’s a good engaging route into ‘meat and two veg’ healthcare issues. The show’s very open, non-judgemental tone and human language creates a huge sense of reassurance that people aren’t alone, and also a sense of hope.”

Embarrasing Bodies

Embarrassing Bodies uses straight-talking everyday language to engage people about their health

Embarrassing Teenage Bodies targeting difficult-to-reach teenagers, generated a flood of 11,000 website comments showing confidence and changed attitudes. During the evening of the broadcast, 99,000 people took an online STI risk checker – engagement you would be unlikely to ever find in a sex education lesson at school.  This show generated many mobile downloads, suggesting that teenagers are more likely to access this type of content in private on mobile devices than on computers.

The website allows for anonymous interactions: users do not have to pre-register to submit their photos or questions or to comment, however, the team have launched a new strand with real identities, Embarrassing Bodies: Kids for worried parents that have a common interest in the welfare of the children.  Channel 4 have used the programme as a model for supporting the preventative public health agenda and experimenting with online interactivity.  They are currently developing a buddying system for people who suffer from the same chronic illness to support one another and share first hand experiences.

Embarrassing Bodies Live

This year the broadcaster took TV-to-web interactivity to the next level with Embarrassing Bodies Live – a web-only show directly after the TV broadcast. 42,000 viewers logged on to the site to pose questions to the team’s medical presenters. The live show aimed to do things that linear TV or a radio phone-in could not: responding directly to viewers questions and rewarding interaction through shaping the editorial.  Viewers submitted photos and questions anonymously then anyone could vote on those they wanted to be discussed, directly affecting the editorial in real time.  It took the conversations that were already happening on Twitter and spring-boarded them into a wider conversation.  #embarrassingbodies was the biggest trending topic on Twitter in the UK that night.

Developing Communities

Embarrassing Bodies has developed a sizeable community of interest, but it’s a transient rather than sticky community.  Adam Gee explains:

“You have to think carefully about what you’re doing with a community and not do the default thing to say let’s make a social network because they’re all the rage.  What kind of social network would be build around embarrassing illnesses except one of hypochondriacs? People don’t come with a common interest to a site like this: it’s a lot of small, temporary communities.  They arrive in a just-in-time, task-oriented way, looking for the condition they are worried about. They then hang out in the community just long enough to find which is the best support group or other help to plug into.

“The series has always connected to profession bodies, encouraging viewers to visit their General Practitioners and linking to the UK’s National Health Service Choices website. The destination sites are a stark contrast from the rich, engaging Embarrassing Bodies space. Suddenly, you’re in this white, stripped environment.  They are two poles of public service health – we need to recognise that it is one continuum: on one end are health professionals, on the other are communication professionals.  We spend all day finding ways to entertain and engage people, and they spend all day thinking about what is the correct medical procedure.”

Lessons for the healthcare industry

The website benefits exponentially from its springboard from a popular TV brand which regularly attracts up to four million television viewers. The challenge for the healthcare industry is to create its own springboards based on highly engaging content.

Embarrassing Bodies shows that rich media and interactivity can lead to deeper levels of engagement and changes in behaviour. Jonnie Turpie believes:

“Now that broadband accessibility and video steaming on the web is accessible to wider audiences there are increasing opportunities to make engaging interactive content and services. This enables digital media producers to deliver valuable health engagement, rather than simply health information, which may lead to greater prevention of illness.”



To make the most of digital engagement opportunities, television and online video should create a call-to-action to move audiences online and provide more in-depth information and medical solutions.  Embarrassing Bodies shows that promoting illness, no matter how difficult to discuss, in an approachable and human way and providing value for the user to progress their understanding, can capture attention and imagination, forming a first step in creating patient engagement.

[These extracts are reproduced courtesy of Creation Interactive. You can read the full article written by Susi O’Neill here.]

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