This year marks the 50th anniversary of the OU/BBC partnership and New Year kicks off with a return of the series ‘The Truth About’’, with three special episodes focusing on issues around coronavirus.
This popular and informative co-production starts on Wednesday 6 January at 9pm on BBC One with The Truth About Boosting Your Immune System, followed by The Truth About Getting Fit at Home on 13 January, and then finally The Truth About Improving Your Mental Health on 20 January.
Scientific expertise on the three episodes has been provided by OU academic consultants; David Male, Professor of Biology, Candice Lingam-Willgoss, Programme Leader, in Sport and Fitness, and Dr Sharon Mallon, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health.
How to keep our immune system healthy
In the first programme, The Truth About Boosting Your Immune System, Presenter Dr Ronx Ikharia, an emergency medicine doctor, delves into the latest science to find out what we can all do to make our immune system as healthy as possible.
Dr Ronx teams up with Professor Sheena Cruickshank, an immunologist at the University of Manchester, to run a unique experiment. They recruit a group of volunteers and give them an ‘immune makeover’ – changing their diet, exercise and sleep habits for six weeks to test the impact on their immune health and discover how we might all benefit.
David Male, Professor of Biology at the OU, who worked with the programme’s producers said:
“A varied diet and some moderate exercise supports the immune system, but if you really want to produce a good immune response against an infectious agent, get vaccinated.”
The second show in the series is, The Truth About Getting Fit at Home, which is set to air on Wednesday 13 Jan BBC One at 9pm.
With Covid-19 restrictions forcing the closure of gyms, many people now have no choice but to try and stay in shape at home. This programme follows journalist and blogger Mehreen Baig as she looks at the best ways of doing this.
Discover more about fitness trends
Mehreen teams up with scientists at Liverpool John Moores University and 100 volunteers, to test how much online workouts really improve fitness – and, she discovers some of the tricks that will help you stick with it and avoid giving up.
Viewers are invited to explore a range of contemporary debates, to discover more about the latest fitness trends, from HIIT to ‘booty’ workouts, and to learn more about why strength training is so good for you, even if you only do six minutes per week.
Candice Lingam-Willgoss, Programme Leader, in Sport and Fitness at the OU, who guided some of the science of the show, said:
“I am always hearing about the latest fitness craze and getting asked for my opinions on what works best, people are always looking for a faster and easier way to get fit and lose weight. This engaging and accessible documentary cuts through the science and tackles some of the most common exercise related questions providing viewers with clear guidance on how best to work out safely at home.”
The final programme in the series is, The Truth About Improving Your Mental Health, being shown on Wednesday 20 January BBC One 9pm.
In this episode viewers follow Professor Tanya Byron and ex-professional footballer Alex Scott, as they visit academics from around the UK who are working at the very cutting edge of research into our mental health.
Topics covered include how taking probiotics can transform our mood, and how we can manage the detrimental impact that social media may have on how we feel. The team also visit researchers who are exploring how motivational psychology can be used to help us stick at exercise regimes and the ingenious ways we can maximise the benefits of exercise for our brain.
Dr Sharon Mallon, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health at the OU said:
“This is an accessible documentary that tackles some new and still emerging areas of research. It is presented in an engaging and informative format that really captured my attention. Even though I have been working in mental health for over 20 years, I learnt lots of new things about how my mental health might be affected by things that I do everyday, and it will truly impact on how I manage my own mental health.”
This series was commissioned by Broadcast and Partnerships and is supported by Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies and Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, with particular relevance to R58 – BSc (Honours) Biology, T05 – Certificate of Higher Education in Sport, Fitness and Management and R26 – BA (Honours) Health and Social Care:
- Commissioned by Dr Caroline Ogilvie, Head of Broadcast & Partnerships
- Academic Consultants: Prof. David Male, Candice Lingam-Wilgoss and Dr Sharon Mallon
- Media Fellows Dr Julia Cooke, Simon Rea and Dr Mathijs Lucassen
- Broadcast Project Manager: Matthew Ray
- Digital Content Producer Georgia Axtell-Powell