health his time last year we watched Dr Tamal Ray tying on his pinny in preparation for the 2015 final of
The Great British Bake Off.
But 12 months on from becoming a runner-up, Tamal – whose day job is senior house officer in intensive care at Manchester’s Wythenshawe Hospital – is gearing up for another major challenge.
Tamal is the co-host, with Kate Quilton, of Be Your Own Doctor, a new C4 health show that aims to help viewers figure out which health advice we read on the internet is sensible, and which is just plain silly.
TV Times caught up with Tamal, 30, on his way out of theatre to ask about his switch from cake-baking to TV presenting, and whether he’s still whipping up luscious treats in his downtime…
TIs presenting your first TV show more or less scary than being on The Great British Bake Off? Bake Off is a baptism of fire – both being on telly and the stress of the competition – but fun as well. Presenting a TV show is a whole new challenge – I was nervous, but it was great to have the confidence my medical background gives me. I love health and science and so this show is a perfect fit and
I can work it around my day job. What’s the aim of the show?
It’s to take a more critical look, in a light-hearted way, at some of the health claims that are out there on the internet. We’re trying to inform the public a bit about how to know good science from bad science. These days, patients come into the GP’S surgery with preconceptions about their condition and how it should be treated. The doctor’s job is to point people in the right direction. If you separate the good from the bad, there’s great stuff on the internet – just recently I changed a tyre for the first time using Youtube. You meet new mums who have their placentas made into pills they said gave them energy. Was that a ridiculous idea? Some of the claims that get made are too good to be true and, yes, I am generally a sceptical person. We had the pills tested and I was really surprised by how little iron there actually was in them. The women were, too.
In testing out plaque removal substances, Kate tried the celebrity fad of ‘pulling’ [that is, swilling] coconut oil in the mouth. What happened?
I felt bad for Kate. I definitely got Dr Tamal Ray and Kate Quilton (main picture), and Tamal on Bake Off (inset)
lucky just chewing gum while she had to swill this gunk for 20 minutes a day. I’d never heard of pulling before, yet I’ve since found out it’s an ancient Ayurvedic Indian remedy – and I’m Indian! But that segment is quite embarrassing for me – it’s to do with how well I brush my teeth. And how do you feel about
Bake Off moving to C4?
I feel pretty good about it.
I’m definitely one of the show’s biggest fans – I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of every series. My feeling is that after seven series, something has to change. Otherwise, like with anything, we would get bored of it eventually. Are you still finding time to bake? I’m still doing a fair bit. Over the summer, I made two wedding cakes that were proper showstoppers, although I had a calamity when one fell over in the car two minutes from the reception. I was screaming, but I managed to rescue it in the end.
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