Liam Farrell: Becoming a bona fide media slut

'We're planning a new series, Celebrity Doctor,' said the production company. 'And we wondered, being a celebrity yourself, would you consider mentoring one of the candidates?'

My immediate reaction, apart from being secretly flattered (like all celebrities, I am insecure and easily manipulated) was one of outrage. The idea that doctors would collude with this kind of perverted circus was a disgraceful slur on the dignity of our ancient profession.

Then I had a magical thought.

'Could I have Stephen Fry?' I asked, lapsing into a brief reverie, the great man and I spending long evenings by the fireside engaged in urbane and witty banter on art and literature and the finer things in life, perhaps even writing a revue together, a droll spoof aimed more at the heart than the head. In revolutionary France we might have opened a salon.

There was a snigger. 'Good one, doc,' they said. 'No, seriously; we're talking Z-list here, glamour models, weather-girls, washed-up actors, a few token minorities, all desperate for a last dying lick at fame and shamelessly eager to be degraded and humiliated in any way as long as they get their name in the tabloids and the paparazzi's attention; they need to be validated, to be loved, we should stick nipples on the camera lens.'

'That's a very powerful argument,' I admitted; having been a media slut myself, in the small yet dull world of the medical columnist, I could sympathise. 'After all, it is our vocation to care for everybody, no matter how needy or deluded or repulsive.'

'You're right,' they said oleaginously, though this concept had obviously never occurred to them before. 'It's your duty as a doctor.'

'And, of course,' they continued the seduction, playing me like a fish on a hook, 'we'll have to feature you extensively as well.'

'What would it entail?' I asked, slowly becoming intoxicated by the fatal glamour, the prospect of my own 15 minutes of fame.

'Oh, you know, nothing special, the usual thing,' they said becoming rather vague. 'You tutor them for a few weeks, give 'em on-the-job training etc etc, then they do a surgery on their own. And we film everything, all the funny little incidents, all the emotional stuff.'

'Yeah,' I agreed, some ethical reservations rekindling. 'Patients dying like flies would certainly be emotional.'

Dr Farrell is a GP from County Armagh. Email him at GPcolumnists@haymarket.com.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus