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05th Dec 2022

Dissection of a woman’s body to be shown on Channel 4 tonight in TV first

Stephen Porzio

It tells the story of a mother-of-two who donated her body to medical science

Channel 4 documentary My Dead Body airs tonight (Monday, 5 December) and will show, in a TV first, the dissection of a woman’s body.

The film revolves around Toni Crews, a mother of two, who was diagnosed with a rare cancer of the tear gland in 2016.

Leading to her eye being removed, Toni discovered her cancer was terminal in 2020 and made the decision to continue to raise awareness of the disease, even after death.

She died in August 2020 at the age of 30.

Before her passing, Toni not only agreed to donate her body to medical science but also chose to give consent for it to be on public display, becoming the first person in the UK to do so.

My Dead Body will show the dissection of her body during a series of education workshops, which Channel 4 says is the “first time a dissection has been captured on TV of a named donor”.

The TV network said this is intended to educate viewers on the science of cancer and its journey through the human body.

“In this never-before-seen medical investigation, the film follows Professor Claire Smith, Head of Anatomy at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and her team as they dissect Toni’s body and chart the course of the disease from the initial diagnosis to her death four years later,” the Channel 4 synopsis reads.

“By understanding exactly what caused Toni’s symptoms and building a timeline of how the cancer developed, this unique study will support decades of research for medical students and academics, with the aim of helping the lives of countless people for years to come.”

Smith has said that Brighton and Sussex Medical School have been “so privileged to explore the journey of cancer through the incredible donation made by Toni”.

“As part of this documentary, we were able to invite more than 1,000 students, including nurses, paramedics and neuroscientists, who wouldn’t normally get to learn about this one-in-a-million cancer,” she added.

“Toni’s gift of body donation doesn’t end with this documentary either; her body will be used to educate our medical students and doctors for years to come.”

My Dead Body will also feature home video footage and interviews with Toni’s family.

The documentary will be narrated in Toni’s own words, drawing from her social media posts and letters to her children and using “cutting-edge voice replicating technology”.

My Dead Body will air on Channel 4 on Monday, 5 December at 10 pm.

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