Twin doctors get squeamish as Operation Ouch Live! returns to Perth


Dr Xand and Dr Chris van Tulleken.
Dr Xand and Dr Chris van Tulleken.

TWO milestone moments have occurred in the life of Dr Chris van Tulleken since he and identical twin Dr Xand van Tulleken were in Perth for Operation Ouch Live! last January – he received his PhD and his daughter Lyra was born, all in the same week.

In between filming series five of children’s medical series Operation Ouch! the doctor also continued his work as a scientist researching HIV at University College in London.

“Lyra is six months old and will be coming on tour but I’m not sure she’s as excited as I am,” van Tulleken said.

“Last year’s tour was one of the best things we have ever done. When you present TV you don’t get to meet your audience but we managed to meet kids after lots of the shows and hear from them what they like and what they’d like more of – generally they want it to be more disgusting.

“Australians are like British people would be if we had better weather. The kids have the same basic sense of humour, the same love of farts, toilets and the same thirst for knowledge.”

Operation Ouch Live! at Mandurah Performing Arts Centre on January 19 and Riverside Theatre on January 21 will cover squeamishness and how to overcome it.

It follows their last live show, which was all about mucus and very fitting given who they met while in WA.

“We have lots of friends and family in Perth but a real highlight was meeting our long time hero Barry Marshall, who won the Nobel Prize for discovering that stomach ulcers are caused by a bacteria,” van Tulleken said.

“Turns out he’s a friend of a friend and we ended up having dinner; he’s basically spent his life researching mucus.”

The doctor said the success of TV program Operation Ouch! was a simple formula – it was gross but personal.

“A lot of it is about snot, but the medicine is postgraduate at times and we reckon any doctor could watch it and learn something,” he said.

“We’ve learned that we never have to dumb it down for kids and that they want to learn way more than grown ups.

“New things are perpetually being discovered so it would be literally impossible to exhaust the subject. And kids will never stop coming to the emergency department having put weird things up their noses (please don’t do that if you’re reading this).”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Operation Ouch Live!

Where and when: Manpac, January 19 and Riverside Theatre, January 21

Tickets: www.manpac.com.au and www.ticketek.com.au