Review: My Strange Brain- Brains really are strange…
Channel Five, Thursday 21st August, 11.05pm
My Strange Brain, a documentary series exploring unusual neurological conditions felt like a rather natural progression from my previous encounter with the BBC’s Blood and Guts series, the gory first episode shown earlier this week. I’d just got my head around the history of brain surgery, what modern day science can achieve. Sorted. Now, I prepared myself to be stunned by how much the human brain, when damaged, can play havoc with your personality.
Episode 4, Losing Control, tells the story of three individuals whose lives are controlled by their impulses. There’s Heather, the hypersexual, who endured a brain haemorrhage two years ago and since can’t stop humping other men, much to the annoyance of her husband. Then there’s the former chiropractor, John, who can’t control his urge to draw after undergoing brain surgery and Tony, the surgeon whose experience of being struck by lightning has left him haunted by a compulsion to play the piano.
In some ways, the series is a composed, even quite chipper look at the life of some random people, who are different now to what they were before. No big deal, right? Wrong. There’s something in it that’s a little more lingering. Though quite happily getting on with their new character traits, the underlying damage their strange brains have done to their family relationships renders the show poignantly rather bleak, even as they chat judiciously to the camera. There’s no denying, they are the ones who’ve suffered most from this dramatic alteration of persona.
My Strange Brain, on tonight, is a bit of a lesson in coming to terms with an unexpected and dramatic change. Whether trying to amend the effects or simply going along with what’s left, somehow they must deal with the aftermath.
By Susan Allen