Prof Alice’s ideal body: No boobs and a kangaroo pouch for a baby
Plenty of ladies in their 40s approach a plastic surgery wizard in search of the perfect body. But when Professor Alice Roberts went under the knife, she ended up with no boobs or waist, and knobbly knees that would disgrace an ostrich.
And she was thrilled. this is the problem with scientists: they’re so certain they know all the answers that they can’t see how wrong they are. no wonder the rest of us are sceptical when another academic declares that the sky will fall in tomorrow.
to be fair to Prof Alice, her quest wasn’t driven by vanity. the aim behind Can Science Make Me Perfect? (BBC4) was to create an upgraded human body with enhancements borrowed from other animals. It’s just bizarre that she looked at a guinea fowl and thought: ‘I want feet like that.’
Ordinary people, given the chance to adopt animal superpowers, might go for the eyesight of a hawk. Personally, I’d like to be able to inflate my body like a puffer fish, to make sure I always get two seats to myself on crowded commuter trains.
Anatomist Alice did remodel her eyes, but she borrowed them from a squid. Matched with the ears of a bat, it wasn’t the greatest look. Strangest of all, though, was her decision to trade her breasts for a marsupial pouch, so she could carry a baby around for five years.
Five years! Has this woman never heard of prams?
Her improvements on evolution were given shape by a Hollywood CGI specialist and an ingenious sculptor armed with a 3D plastic printer. the finished article had the head of a tolkien elf, the exploding torso of John Hurt in Alien (with a baby erupting from the midriff) and the gigantic drumsticks of a kingsize turkey dinner.
the model is now on display at the Science Museum in South Kensington in london — providing no one has eaten its legs.
Silly though it all was, this one-off show was an engaging way to explain how animals adapt to their environment over millions of years. Without lecturing us, Professor Alice was demonstrating Darwin’s laws in action.
She explained why chimps don’t get backache, and how swans breathe harder by flapping their wings.
If you’ve ever wondered why athletes sometimes twist an ankle, yet chickens never do, Alice had the answer. And any tanning salon that works out how to bottle a frog’s ability to turn brown at the first ray of sunshine is going to make a fortune.
the body transformations on The Fast Fix: Diabetes (ItV) were more basic. Five tubby volunteers were placed on an extreme diet, consuming just 800 calories a day in the shape of four gloopy shakes. each meal was the colour of brick dust and, despite labels promising the succulent flavours of shepherd’s pie or pasta carbonara, cement powder would have tasted better.
All five dieters had type 2 diabetes at the beginning of the regime. And by the end? you’ll know the answer, if you watched BBC1’ s identical format last month, the Big Crash Diet experiment.
last night’s show, presented by Dr Jason Gill, had all the same statistics, no less shocking for being aired a second time: type 2 diabetes costs the nHS £3 million an hour, it affects four million people and so on.
the results were equally encouraging, too. One chap reduced his liver fat from 27 per cent ( threatening imminent physical collapse) to under 5 per cent (perfectly healthy) in a month. All you have to do is live on bowls of shepherd’s pie cement mix.