TwinTV medics get travel bug for Oz

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Tanya MacNaughton

FANS of Bri­tish chil­dren’s tele­vi­sion pro­gram Op­er­a­tion Ouch! (screened in Aus­tralia on ABCME) will be fa­mil­iar with the an­tics of iden­ti­cal twin brother doc­tors Chris and Xand van Tulleken.

Born seven min­utes apart, with Dr Xand the el­der of the two, the broth­ers stud­ied for their med­i­cal de­grees to­gether at Ox­ford Univer­sity be­fore Dr Xand did his masters de­gree at Har­vard Univer­sity and now lives in New York, teach­ing at Ford­ham Univer­sity.

Dr Chris has al­ways called Lon­don home “de­spite the rain and gen­eral grim­ness”, where he does re­search at Univer­sity Col­lege Lon­don, but the two broth­ers re­unite when film­ing their BAFTA win­ning show Op­er­a­tion Ouch!, which is now in its fifth sea­son.

“We helped to de­velop Op­er­a­tion Ouch! with the pro­duc­ers af­ter do­ing a suc­cess­ful screen test where I put an in­tra­venous drip in Xand,” Dr Chris said.

“I made a real mess of it and he ended up with a huge bruise.

“The show is suc­cess­ful be­cause it’s en­ter­tain­ing, funny and not pa­tro­n­is­ing.

“We want to show kids how to un­der­stand their bod­ies in (al­most) as much de­tail as we learned at med­i­cal school and we want it to be in­clu­sive; no mat­ter what your body looks like or what’s hap­pened to it, it’s still amaz­ing.

“We also want to show kids that if they have to go to hos­pi­tal, there’s noth­ing to be afraid of.”

Dr Chris will visit Aus­tralia for the first time with his brother when the sib­lings bring Op­er­a­tion Ouch! Live to River­side Theatre on Jan­uary 14 and 15.

He said the fo­cus of the show would be on bugs: the ones that live on, in and off peo­ple.

“The ones that make you sick but also the ones that keep you alive,” Dr Chris said.

“But we’ll be do­ing plenty of de­tours to film in­side Xand’s head and talk about gaseous large bowel mi­cro­bial prod­ucts: that’s farts.

“We’re hop­ing to have quite a bit of non-forced au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion too.”

Dr Chris and Xand van Tulleken.

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