Prof Alice’s ideal body: No boobs and a kan­ga­roo pouch for a baby

Daily Mail - - Television - CHRISTO­PHER STEVENS

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.

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