Report – Media Medicine

Posted on: Thursday 11 July 2019 12:54am by Michelle Jones

Media Medicine used case studies to illustrate the various ways in which it’s possible to make a difficult and sometimes disturbing topic not only palatable, but fun and engaging for the younger audience.


  • Play is the best way to educate children of all ages and get these difficult facts across to them
  • Kids don’t want information to be dumbed down and getting the right mix of fact / educational and Entertainment is a challenge and ever-changing.
  • When kids are ill they age down slightly and are happy to cuddle a teddy bear – they want information to be simple to make them feel better…..
  • Play, fun and entertainment can be used across all media – children learn in different ways and all information should be age appropriate
  • Don’t bombard kids with facts – just three key points at any one time – otherwise the messages can be diluted
  • The positive distraction, especially for pain, outweigh the concerns VR may have on sight and brain function
  • Best joke ever…… (c/o Kez Margrie)

Knock Knock…

Who’s there?

You’re up

You’re up who?

No, you’re a poo!


Nathaniel Mills opened the session and asked the panel to share their examples of how fun and factual content can help the lives of children and their families by reducing anxiety and educating children about their own bodies, the importance of health and the health services.

Dr Dylan Yamada-Rice told us of her initiative to use VR content as part of playkit to help children prepare to have an MRI scan. This would enable children to prepare to stay still, get used to the high levels of noise during the scan and provide entertainment to reduce stress and so in turn reduce the number of children needing a general anaesthetic for a scan.

Alisha Aggarwal is co-president of the student led Teddy Bear Hospital Society. She presented examples of the initiatives, media and events they run in and around Sheffield in schools, at the University Hospital, in Beaver and Rainbow Clubs and at their main event, free and open to the public, which attracts over 300 children each year. Children bring along their Teddy Bears for treatment – whether it’s for an MRI scan (in a toy scanner), to have bandages applied, ophthalmologists and dentists also attend and care for the children’s teddy bears – all of which helps to reassure children about visits to the doctor, dentist and opticians. They also learn, through play, about healthy living, First Aid, the importance of exercise, how to cross the road safely and an introduction to their bodies. Media includes a VR app which when used in conjunction with a ‘blue screen’ T-shirt shows internal organs and talks about the body – there’s also a colouring sheet “PAWscription” for the teddy bears.

Kez Margrie spoke about the TV series ‘Operation Ouch’ which is now in its 8thseries. The programme was commissioned following on from the success of ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ – the BBC identified the need for a kids’ version. Working closely the twins – Dr Chris and Dr Xand van Tulleken – and Dr Clare O’Connell, the TV series covers all medical topics and areas of the hospital in an educational and entertaining way. All of the hospital stories help to allay anxiety. Disabled kids love the show because it makes them experts, showing the environment they are used to and making it cool…. It helps to explain to their friends what they go through. The programme has also saved a life when a child, who watched the show, was able to use the heel of his hand in between his mum’s shoulder blades, to clear her airway when she choked on a tomato.

Dominic Minns talked about how he creates interactive medical content for shows such as ‘Operation Ouch!’ and ‘Get Well Soon’ (another medical show for pre-schoolers). Arcade style games make learning fun and difficult topics easy to cover.

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Michelle Jones

About the author

Michelle Jones

Brilliant Casting Ltd., Casting Director & Producer

Michelle has over 20 years experience in the entertainment industry and  started Brilliant Casting in 2012. Michelle casts star talent, children and  ‘brilliant’ actors for pilots, TV shows and feature films such as 'The Big Bad Fox', 'Stardog & Turbocat', 'Thomas & Friends', 'Bob The Builder', 'Robozuna', 'Claude' and 'Paddington' for… Read more