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An Intervew with Dr Xand from Operation Ouch!

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by EricaL (subscribe)
Freelance writer. Editor of: melbourne.kidtown.com.au
Event: -
Operation Ouch Live tours Australia in 2020
Stars from the ever-popular kids' BBC TV series Operation Ouch! will be returning to Australia in 2020, touring the country from 3 January - 1 February.

Operation Ouch! Live 2020
Operation Ouch! Live 2020


The show calls upon future Aussie doctors and scientist to enter the incredible world of medicine and biology these summer school holidays with Operation Ouch! Live on Stage.

Interesting medical questions and more will be answered when Dr Chris and Dr Xand take to the stage with a series of all-new crazy experiments, intrepid investigations and amazing facts… all in the name of medical science. Plus, they'll share their favourite bits from their multi-award winning TV show.


Operation Ouch! Australian Tour announcement from MIllmaine on Vimeo.



Taking time out of their incredibly busy schedule, one half of Operation Ouch! Dr Xand spared some time to talk to us about his upcoming Australia tour.

Without further ado;

An Interview with Dr Xand from Operation Ouch! ahead of Operation Ouch! Live on Stage in 2020

Q. We understand you have recently returned from Uganda. Can you tell us a little bit about that and what you've been up to over there?

A. "There's a university I am involved with called the London School of Tropical Medicine. They run a course to teach doctors about medicine in the tropics. We get doctors from all over the world; Australian, New Zealand, the UK, Europe but also from Africa. The course focuses mostly on infectious diseases but I teach about health care in refugee crisis. In North Uganda at the moment, they have one of the largest refugee crisis in the world. So I'm teaching a group of doctors about the difficulties that refugees face and how international medics can do a better job responding. Uganda is one of the most hospitible countries for refugees and set a surpising example for the rest of the world."

Q. Your work in Uganda is obviously nothing to do with Operation Ouch! Can you tell us how you have become involved in this work?

A. "Outside of Operation Ouch! I work in refugee health. I was working for the last 7 years at a university in America teaching humanitarian work and how to respond to a humanitarian crisis. That is my main passion and expertise. "

Q. We are curious to know how Operation Ouch! started. How yourself and your brother got involved in the show.

A. "Chris and I made a few TV shows before Operation Ouch! We both practice medicine in more difficult or challenging places - for example refugee health, and Chris has done lots of work in the Arctic and remote locations. Chris had started making TV show about being a doctor in the arctic and expedition medicine. We both made a show called "Medicine Men Go Wild" about travelling to very remote places where people have very little access to modern healthcare, so therefore looked at traditional medicine. Our medical specialty is quite television friendly - it's exciting, interesting and out in the world. Unsual stuff that people haven't seen before."

Dr Chris and Dr Xand. Operation Ouch!
Dr Chris and Dr Xand. Operation Ouch!

"We knew the BBC wanted to make a medical show for kids. The Children's BBC hadn't made a medical show for kids before, and it's quite challenging to do because medicine is extremely complicated - there are moral issues and subjects about life and death. At the time, there were no models to follow. Chris and I auditioned for the roles. In our audition, Chris put an IV drip in me and then he put a gastric tube into my nose and down into my stomach. I think the producers just thought "enough we've found the people who are silly enough to absolutely anything" and Operation Ouch! was born".

Q. How has the show evolved since you first started Operation Ouch!?

A. "We're now about to film the ninth series. We've changed a lot about how we work, how the show works and what we do. We now have Ouch patients with quite severe health problems. We've had kids with cancer on the show and children needing major surgery. We get very nice messages from parents whose kids watch Operation Ouch! We had a lovely message from a guy whose 2-year-old had died from a brain tumour. He said his other two kids were able to cope with the prolonged periods in hospital. They understood what the doctors were doing and were less worried about it because they watched a lot of Operation Ouch!. This is a huge compliment to the team, but also great that there was something to take the fear and uncertaintly out of such a tragic time in this family's life."

"We've also filmed a segment about puberty and reproduction. There are a few things we're trying to gently nudge into more mainstream viewing for kids. After the puberty episode we had parents sending us messages saying "Thanks for doing that, I was dreading having that conversation".

Q. What can we expect to see from Operation Ouch! Live in Australia this time around?

A. "Well, we've written a new show. There will still be body parts and disgustingness. Expect lots of gross things. But for the people who are squeamish, we will give plenty of warning - if you are squeamish please come to the show! The last couple of shows we have done in Australia have been a grab bag of all sorts of mad stuff that we wanted to fit in. This year we're trying to bring things together and talk about how the body and emotions are related. We talk about how your brain and body controls you & your feelings. Plus we'll be finishing with a song, which we've never done before. Chris and I have no muscial talent so that should be fun. Oh and a bit of audience interaction as well. Everything you love about the TV show."

Q. We've reached out to some of your young fans here in Australia and have some questions from some of the kids who watch your show:

  • Q. Louis age 5 "How fast does blood flow around the body?"

    "Ohhh! Very quickly is the answer. A red blood cell from the tip of your big toe takes less than a couple of seconds to get back to your heart. It's not like a gently flowing river, it is racing around. A red blood cell can do a full journey around your body in seconds."

  • Q. Orion asks "Why are our bones white?"

    "Oh that is a lovely question. When you look at a real skeleton outside of the body, the bones have effectively been whitened. They've been bleached and treated. When you look at bones in surgery, there are actually quite pink. If you crack open a bone, inside it is pink and the bone marrow is yellow so actually bones are made up of quite a few different colours. If you scrape all the layers away, eventually you will get to a white bone"

  • Q. Nate, age 10 "What is the lightest part of the body?"

    "That would be the stapes bone, which is the smallest bone in the body. You've got three bones in your inner ear and the stapes is the smallest one"

  • Q. Cam, age 11 "What is the worst injury you have had"

    "My biggest injury was when I was hit by a car whilst on my bicycle and I broke my jaw and my arm. That was, surprisingly, not very painful but quite frightening."

    Q. "Tell me about your biggest ouch moment or the most painful thing you did to yourselves."

    "The most painful thing I've ever had done was probably getting my veruca treated. That was very, very painful. I was surprised about that. But I did have a particularly painful veruca treatment so I don't want kids to be put off by having their own warts treated."

    Q. Do you have any downtime on your upcoming tour around Australia and do you have any plans to do anything else other than your shows?

    A: "Last time we were in Australia we went snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, which was incredible. And we visited friends in Cairns, exploring the beaches up there. We went fishing in Tasmania once too and that was amazing. This time around the tour is quite busy, but the nicest thing for us is when the show is over and we get to meet the people who come to see Operation Ouch! Live. I'm sure we'll find a bit of time to do some other nice stuff too!"

    Operation Ouch! Live 2020
    Operation Ouch! Live 2020


    Dr Chris and Dr Xands' fun, entertaining and educational shows have been an Australian summer-time must see for kids since 2017, selling out across the country and in London's West End. Operation Ouch Downunder 2020 is a brand new show blending science, humour and personal stories from Dr Chris and Dr Xand, alongside their famous and much-loved on-stage antics.

    This to tickets to Operation Ouch! Live on Stage are available now:

    BRISBANE at the Concert Hall on 3 - 4 January 2020.
    CALOUNDRA at the Events Centre on 5 January 2020.
    SYDNEY at the Sydney Opera House on 7 - 8 January 2020.
    LAUNCESTON at the Princess Theatre on 10 January 2020.
    HOBART at Wrestpoint on the 11 January 2020.
    MELBOURNE at the Melbourne Conference & Exhibition Centre on 13 January 2020.
    NARRE WARREN at Bunjil Place on 14 & 15 January 2020.
    FRANKSTON at the Frankston Arts Centre on 16 January 2020.
    BENDIGO at the Ulumburra Theatre on 17 January 2020.
    GEELONG at the GPAC - Costa Hall on 18 January 2020.
    CANBERRA at the Llewellyn Hall on 20 January 2020.
    WOLLONGONG at the Anita's Theatre Thirroul on 22 January 2020.
    NEWCASTLE at the Newcastle Exhibition & Convention Centre on 24 January 2020.
    DARWIN at the Darwin Entertainment Centre on 26 January 2020.
    PERTH at the Riverside Theatre on the 28 January 2020.
    BUNBURY at the Bunbury Entertainment Centre on the 29 January 2020.
    ADELAIDE at the Thebarton Theatre on the 31 January & 1 February 2020.

    For more information about Operation Ouch! Live go to OperationOuchLiveOnStage.com.
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    When: See article for details
    Where: Touring major cities in Australia throughout January 2020
    Cost: $$
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