Wednesday 18 September 2019

Television review: It was a Morning like no other...

  • This Morning (Virgin Three)

Chris Hughes on This Morning
Chris Hughes on This Morning
Declan Lynch

Declan Lynch

It was like just like old times, stumbling across an excellent piece of public service television by accident - in this case it was the item on the Wednesday edition of This Morning on Virgin Three in which Love Island's Chris Hughes could be seen having his testicles examined.

But to explain how I got to This Morning, I should probably start the night before with a TV programme of an event at which I was present, but playing no significant part - this was the An Post Irish Book Awards ceremony at the Clayton Hotel last Tuesday night, which was being covered by RTE for a highlights programme to be shown on Thursday, and also by Virgin Three for an item on Ireland AM to be shown the following morning.

As I and my co-author Tony O'Reilly had received a nomination for Tony 10, I was checking out the item on Ireland AM, hoping that I wouldn't see myself appearing accidentally in any of the pictures - certainly there was no chance of my appearing by design, a reality which I'd accepted on the night when I found myself in the obligatory queue for the "red carpet" directly behind the Happy Pear twins and the winner of the Booker Prize, Anna Burns.

I can tell you it's a lonely place out there on the red carpet, when the paparazzi have just taken their pictures of the two most celebrated men in Ireland, and a celebrated woman... and now they're looking at you, and you can sense that they're not quite as excited by you as they might be, in an ideal world.

And you know what? By a happy coincidence, I didn't really want them to take my picture either, so it all worked out fine, and now my only worry was that TV3 might somehow have filmed me in the background while they were talking to an important person.

As luck would have it, I was spared that ordeal too. And so I could relax and just enjoy Ireland AM as I usually do whenever I drop in there, given that I like Mark Cagney as a person and as a presenter - which probably covers most of what a TV host does, really.

And which is why, a short time later, I happened to see Love Island's Chris Hughes having his testicles examined.

I'd left the telly on after Ireland AM, and the next time I looked up at it, there he was, with a doctor demonstrating how men can check for signs of testicular cancer, using Chris Hughes's actual testicle.

Now there's nothing on the TV these days that can surprise you - but I do believe this was the first time I have seen a man on daytime TV performing such a useful public service in this way. Though I believe RTE's Check Up actually did such a thing 20 years ago.

Interestingly, Love Island's Chris Hughes was able to do this with a hand shielding the rest of his genitalia, so that the focus was entirely on the testicle, and how to probe it for anything that shouldn't be there.

Observing all this from the couch, presenters Phillip Schofield and Rochelle Humes were calling it brave, which it most certainly was. It is not unusual for women to be on television showing how to check for signs of breast cancer, but by comparison there has been a dearth of men with the moral courage to offer themselves and their testicles to the cause - and especially not on live television.

I can't say that I'd be entirely relaxed about doing it, since I am the sort of person who hopes against hope that he can't accidentally be seen in the distance when someone else is front and centre on the screen.

Therefore I would have some distance to travel from there to a place on This Morning with Philip Schofield and Rochelle Humes, chatting about my testicular history in general, and then rising from the couch with the good doctor to assume the position and to let him take it from there.

So I will say this to Love Island's Chris Hughes - whoever you are - you receive my award, and a standing ovation.

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