Everyone remembers the science lesson about human reproduction. Having to draw pictures of the male and female reproductive organs, while the teacher explained as much detail as the national curriculum would allow, while trying to quell the hilarity that accompanied every mention of the word ‘penis’. GCSE science made the miracle of conception all very confusing and a bit too scientific (plus absolutely mention of Barry White).
BBC1’s new documentary Inside the Human Body ramps up the science while managing to dispense with a lot of the confusion. In the first episode of this in-depth series, the story of human creation is revealed in extraordinary detail. Presented by former doctor Michael Mosley, with the help of state-of-the-art CGI, there are no details spared in describing how the sperm manages to make the long and arduous journey to finally fertilise the uterus (the CGI makes the a human egg look exactly like a scotch egg).
As the documentary goes on, it explains quite how miraculous it is that one of your dad’s sperm managed to make it to fertilising your mum’s egg (fun fact: your mum’s eggs all developed when she was a foetus) and how the resulting union developed into a foetus that developed into you. Talk about a brain melter. The CGI’s incredible detail is very illuminating in getting the point across (I was really rooting for the sperm to make it) and at times the whole thing begins to look like a cross between Wonders of the Universe and a some crazy science-fiction film.
Mosley is a great narrator, clear and informative in a manner not dissimilar to Professor Robert Winston, he is able to explain the complex forming of a human life in a simple manner that is easy to understand and the show also visits some examples of how the development of the foetus didn’t quite follow the traditional path. We meet a woman expecting triplets and the oldest living conjoined twins – and how these developed differently. It also explores some of the things you’ve never thought of, including how your face forms in the womb. Definitely more thought-provoking than those hilarious illustrations in your science textbook.