Ambassadors episode 2 review

Bollocks To Cancer review, Channel 4

Published by jamdog on 29th June, 2005.

 Bollocks To Cancer review

Bollocks To Cancer

Channel 4

In a nutshell: Diseased gonads – a user’s guide.

The 411: In the media, there’s a hierarchy of horrible diseases and cancer has always been pretty close to the top. But then along came The Aids and everything changed . All of a sudden the artistic community were affected; people more important than you and I – the beautiful and the skinny. Cancer had to take a back seat as Tom Hanks turded his way through Philadelphia, a syndicated column per week was given to an HIV patient in every national newspaper and Michael Stipe enigmatically refused to deny the rumours that his own deathly appearance was down to The Aids, perhaps in the hope that he too could die slowly and in pain, a martyr to his own ambiguous sexuality.

But cancer is fighting back. Form is temporary but class is permanent and The Aids will never be able to match the Everyman appeal of The Big C. Cancer newspaper columns, important documentaries and confusing video diaries are back with a vengeance. There’s never been a better time to have cancer – as long as, you know, you want to get on the telly.

"There’s never been a better time to have cancer – as long as, you know, you want to get on the telly."

Bollocks To Cancer was one of the more entertaining efforts. Set in a Newcastle cancer ward, it followed the journey of 19 year old Steven Liddle through chemotherapy for testicular cancer.

Steven handles his disease with good humour and good grace. Ravaged by chemotherapy, he ponders whether or not to have his testicles removed – the chemo is so bad, he feels he won’t miss them. But his doctor explains the low sex-drive side effects of ball removal and Steven decides against it for the time being. "Cherish the bollocks" he wrily observes. Instead, he has an exclamation mark shaved into his head when his hair starts falling out. Which seems as good a response as any.

"It’s hard to pretend everything’s fine when you’re bald, knackered and can’t stop puking" he says – something my good friend Andy has been saying every weekend for years.

"It’s hard to pretend everything’s fine when you’re bald, knackered and can’t stop puking" he says – something my good friend Andy has been saying every weekend for years.

Steven comforts himself by comparing his plight with his friend Dave who was born with one testicle in his lung – which developed testicular cancer. Now that’s what I call bad luck. Being born with one testicle is bad enough – that alone sent Hitler into a genocidal rage – but to find the missing testicle in your lung with cancer – well, that’s just taking the piss isn’t it?

The documentary finishes with Steven’s girlfriend giving birth to their child. He strums his guitar and stays resolutely cheerful. He’s finished chemo and is looking forward to the future.

And he’s still got both knackers. That’s my idea of a happy ending.

Best thing about it: The persistent references to "bollock cancer".

The worst thing about it: The early footage of gonad surgery .

The verdict on Bollocks To Cancer: "It takes more than a maniac trying to cut off my goolies to inconvenience me" Edmund Blackadder

Marks out of 10: 7

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Tags: Categories: Documentary

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