Ohh look I’m on the One Show on BBC One

September 9th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, book, onanism | 45 Comments »


Slightly tiggerish and lacking in gravitas but that’s roughly what you’d expect from a 12 year old delivering a 100,000 word thesis on mainstream television in 3 minutes.


It starts 8 minutes in. As you can see the presenters really engaged with the film, they loved the book, and it triggered a thought-provoking discussion of the issues raised.

Also of note: for one day only, and brilliantly captured on film, my curls seem to be spontaneously producing both a quiff and a side parting. Well hello ladies.

Picture nicked from here.


If you like what I do, and you want me to do more, you can: buy my books Bad Science and Bad Pharma, give them to your friends, put them on your reading list, employ me to do a talk, or tweet this article to your friends. Thanks! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

45 Responses

  1. mottainai said,

    September 9, 2008 at 4:54 am

    ‘fraid the continent is cut off by fog. Only viewable in the UK…

  2. Pro-reason said,

    September 9, 2008 at 7:13 am

    Argh, could someone in the UK download it and convert it to a nice Theora or Youtube format?

  3. hat_eater said,

    September 9, 2008 at 9:28 am

    You do like Monty Python’s Flying Circus, don’t you? (I could see only the photo, sorry, non-UK).

  4. maninalift said,

    September 9, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Good slot, no doubt immediately forgotten by the vast majority audience.

    You should have asked for your money back though, they didn’t really push your book. They didn’t mention the name or show the cover, just waved it about a bit and mentioned “his book”.

    Then again maybe they did, I had to turn it off to avoid hearing some bloke dispensing “common sense” about anything in moderation.

    Good slot though. I can see you getting a lot of TV work. You’re engaging and down-to-earth seeming but with just enough crazy-scientist (credit to the hair) to be believable.

  5. gazza said,

    September 9, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Absolutely mindblowing that you can air your thoughts on some of your usual bugbears on prime time TV. Shame it was only 3-4 minutes; as said elsewhere it starts about 8 mins into the show. Surely a series to follow? Heaven knows you’ve got enough material to call on….

    Regarding image, you came across great – tons of energy. I wouldn’t worry about the hair – it’s compulsory for TV scientists to have a weird hairstyle! But that size 0 figure doesn’t fill enough of the screen – eat more. And the voice pitch could be lowered a tad – try taking up smoking. In other words, get a bit more unhealthy!

  6. censored said,

    September 9, 2008 at 11:14 am

    I was mostly distracted by your very lively eyebrows…

    Good coup though, The One Show is watched by people like my mum who once bought fish oil capsules for my 5 year old neice.

  7. Getonyerbike said,

    September 9, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Fantastic. Though i can’t believe you said that ‘distraught parents were pitted against foggy scientists in corduroy’ whilst wearing a tank top and trousers that looked suspiciously (on my low-res screen) like corduroy. Most scientists (that i know) spend very antisocial hours in labs doing complicated manipulations with very small things so are oblivious to fashion /popular culture, though they aren’t old or foggy.
    You’ve boldly stuck your nose where the public sticks theirs (popular press) -Congratulations!

  8. ArchAsa said,

    September 9, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    There is nothing in the wide world web that gets me more annoyed than finding that clips and programs posted on the net are restricted to those residing within the country. WHY!!??!!

    Please use your immense clout and influence with the BBC to make them revise this stupid insular and reprehensible position Ben.

  9. Fyse said,

    September 9, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Good job, and great coverage in exactly the place it’s needed.

    You came across superbly well, but perhaps ease off a little on the eyebrows… 🙂

  10. Getonyerbike said,

    September 9, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    4 copies of your book arrived a few minutes ago. The plan was to give them away as presents, but i might loan them to patients instead. I think your entrance into the popular media is an auspicious event in these superstitious times, and will do wonders for raising public consciousness. Your message; “I want to help YOU not to get conned by THEM” is a winner.

  11. Twm said,

    September 9, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Excellent congrats Ben. That was very animated; Did you get coaching on lively facial expressions and larger than life hand gestures?

  12. NeilHoskins said,

    September 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Maybe you could be The Thinking Woman’s Crumpet, I’m not qualified to say. But I have to say I don’t find you nearly as telegenic as The Thinking Man’s Crumpet, Dr Alice Roberts.

  13. Some Guy said,

    September 9, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Aargh, tell your eyebrows to chill out.

  14. Toenex said,

    September 9, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Do you operate your own eyebrows or was there someone off camera, remotely controlling them? I just couldn’t get Animal from the muppets out of my mind whilst I watched you.

    Nice, upbeat presentation. Interesting that when your report about how to evaluate science in the media ended, they cut back to Len Goodman who quickly give his beliefs on the secret to a long life. What is a guy to do?

  15. Getonyerbike said,

    September 9, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    WOoo hoo!!!
    I just lent the first (of 4) copy of your book (338 pages) to a patient who gave me an article about Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield (3 pages) She thought it was only fair that i should get my own back (share reading material), so i gave a copy of How to Read a Paper by Trisha Greenhalgh as well,
    Thanks Ben!

  16. Dr* T said,

    September 9, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Close up facial expressions are definately an underused forte of yours.

  17. peterd102 said,

    September 9, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Anoyne spotted that the iPlayer volume goes all the way up to 11!!

    Well done there – i wish the damn camera would stay still though!

  18. cshelley said,

    September 9, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    I recognise that lab on the show, I did my PhD sitting at that very electrophys rig. You were on hallowed ground Ben 🙂

  19. Simon said,

    September 9, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    It’s on YouTube now. www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMX0t3gFnW8

  20. Mags said,

    September 9, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    I was thinking it was more of a Ford Prefect vibe.

    Also, I had to stop the iplayer quickly before I got annoyed about people dissing Trellick Tower.

  21. Arthur Embleton said,

    September 9, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    The eyes!

  22. Groinhammer said,

    September 10, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Informative but brief, but a good start nonetheless. I’m expecting the quackery to respond with a pots and kettles laden diatribe as your book did get a plug (albeit a vague one). Where is the money going from sales of your tome? This could be viewed as profiteering from the same sphere of ignorance the snake oil sellers leech off.

    Mags- Trellick Tower could be an excellent work of art if left empty and abandoned as a stark warning of what could happen to our buildings if aesthetics are ignored and design was left to committees. Or was that Goldfingers intention?

  23. mrmuz said,

    September 10, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Relax you lot. Seasoned boxers swing, soldiers duck. Mr Goldacre’s feeling of wide eyed disbelief is so worn it’s on a hair trigger. That’s all it is.

    Good segment. Every time I hear about that MMR business on this blog I wonder when the questions in the house are coming. My sister was nannying in the UK right in the middle of the measles outbreak and she recounts it with horror fairly regularly. It’s so startling I always think something must come of it all, though I’m not entirely sure what.

  24. ScottishNaturalist said,

    September 11, 2008 at 3:40 am

    After your 3-4 minute clip the show went like this.

    “He has a good point”

    “Don’t drink 5 bottles of red wine.”

    “Now lets talk about a stupid ugly eye sore of a building”

    You did well in the time allotted to get the message out Ben. I know it is hard. Well done.

  25. Pro-reason said,

    September 11, 2008 at 6:01 am

    Thanks, I ripped the YouTube video and put it on my iRiver media player.

    Did anyone else get queasy with all the zooming in and out of the camera (not to mention the eyebrows on E)?

  26. peterd102 said,

    September 11, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    I did! It was worse the camera for some cookery shows. I just got the Book to and the hype is, in immense irony, actually true.

    Sadly SPORE came same time so i might not have a lot of time to read it!

  27. nth said,

    September 12, 2008 at 1:00 am

    good stuff as ever, though yes, less of the eyebrows already 🙂

  28. mikewhit said,

    September 12, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Anyone ever watched an oboe player’s eyebrows ?

  29. DTM said,

    September 12, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Is the cameraman drunk or suffering from a degenerative muscular disease?

    I though the first 30 seconds was good but then the motion sickness kicked in and I couldn’t concentrate.

  30. misterjohn said,

    September 12, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    re Dr Rath case
    (Off topic I know but…..)


  31. SubMoron said,

    September 13, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Great stuff… but please be careful Ben; they’ll market you as the successor to Magnus Pyke.

    Yes, the book’s lovely I’ll be giving away copies too… and I work for BigPharma so money from them is going (indirectly) to further your book. How long do we wait for the 2nd Edn. with Rath back in please?

  32. Robert Carnegie said,

    September 13, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    The new book will be Bad Science II: The Canning of Rath. Perhaps.

    (If that’s too American, well, that’s where the money is. And the people who give the money to chancers.)

  33. Delster said,

    September 14, 2008 at 1:32 am

    SubMoron… at least old Magnus got a lot of air time and got a lot of stuff out to a lot of people. Maybe you should aim for that Ben…. go wiggle the eyebrows at the BBC and see if you can get a series out of them

  34. Robert Carnegie said,

    September 14, 2008 at 2:53 am

    Now I’m stuck on the [Have I Got News For You] episode, I think it’s been repeated on digital channel Dave and is presented by Ronni Ancona, where in discussing some church or political controversy she says “The Archbishop of Canterbury has raised eyebrows” and then shows a picture of him…

  35. SubMoron said,

    September 14, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Deister… True enough maybe Ben should try something to make his eyebrows grow; maybe TAPL could recommend a product. My favourite Magnus Moment though was a letter to a paper responding to an article about “declining death rates” pointing out that they’d never shift from 100% in the long run.

    Now going to e-mail my local bookshop to order more copies of the book.

  36. Alfster said,

    September 14, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    For ‘The One Show’ a good piece of proper science ruined of course by pathetic camera work.

    Luckily, I wathced the Youtube version on this page and so was able to just listen to it rather than watch it.

    Ben, a question: Did you have any say in the camera work or did the director and cameraman tell you what the camera work was going to be like?

    Does anyone ever refuse to have their pieces to camera filmed in that way and suggest a nice simple old-fashioned watchable steady shot?

  37. Ben Goldacre said,

    September 14, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    haha i had no idea what he was doing for the most part. i have to say the person i made that film with was the least cock-like of almost anyone i’ve ever met in telly and i think we might be able to do something again, ideally with more actual nerdy science in it.

  38. Alfster said,

    September 14, 2008 at 3:45 pm


    It always struck me as though one would notice the camera being swung round from some non-descript bit of the room to face you and then you start talking which would take some co-ordination.

    I am sure many of the people are not cock-like at all, they just seem to enjoy making the camera-work overshadow the subject and turn people off.

    We want more Morse style camera work! Though that might mean Colin Dexter being in every programme which might tire the old fella out.

    If ‘your’ director can stop titting about the camera he certainly would be an asset to more geeky science on TV along with yourself!

  39. thatgingerscouser said,

    September 14, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Alfster, as a camera op myself I fear you’re being a big meanie.

    Most people instantly think of science as something boring and nerdy. So if your curly-bonced doc decides it’s a good day to wear a tanktop, I think it’s only fair that the cameraman slap on a pair of skating wellies and spin us around WHSmith like a dancing teacup for five minutes.

    Talking of WHSmith, I just went to the one in Liverpool city centre to try and buy a copy of Bad Science (seeing as our one and only bookshop was Sunday closed)…

    ME: Excuse me, do you have a copy of ‘Bad Science’ by Ben Goldacre?

    WHS: Yerwha?

    ME: ‘Bad Science’ by Doctor Ben Goldacre…?

    WHS: Is that about football?

    ME: …

  40. philm said,

    September 15, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    I enjoyed the courgette-brandishing bit.

  41. Getonyerbike said,

    September 15, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    one of my patients told me he was a TV producer this morning and i was going to offer him a copy of your book from my lending library, but having got down to my last copy, and he being so enthusiastic and having a vested interest (he’s volunteered for a trial to test antivirals for RSV) he seemed very happy to go and purchase a copy himself!
    I have a hunch that working in Shorditch might enable me to infiltrate the media…

  42. hm102 said,

    September 20, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    I am the director / cameraman who made the film with Ben and I can confirm that I am not cock-like and that I also enjoy shooting fast, punchy, interesting television in a style that makes it a great deal more interesting to watch than the dreary “Open University Wierd-Beard standing at a black board” that some of you seem to be so nostalgic for.

  43. hm102 said,

    September 20, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    and I spelt weird wrong so now I look like a media twat. EPIC FAIL.

  44. RossAberdeenUK said,

    October 1, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Wheee! At last! Not only can I post comments, but this TV slot is what I have been PRAYING FOR on telly. Looks like even journalists are getting sick of their own writing … or perhaps its years of thinking “Hmmm this isnt right .. someone should say something…”. Please please please do one of these on SSRI’s and psychiatry as a whole please please please 😀

  45. olster said,

    October 21, 2008 at 1:31 am

    Perhaps I was just distracted…

    Was that Borough Market you were in with the suggestive vegetables?

    I would have thought it was the London Bridge WH Smiths but it didn’t quite look right…

    Any ideas on location?