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Brett Westwood is sucked into the weird and wonderful world of the leech. It has been portrayed both as monstrous and as a medical marvel, but which is nearer the truth?

Brett Westwood is sucked into the weird and wonderful world of the leech. It's been portrayed both as monstrous and as a medical marvel, but which is nearer the truth? Christopher Frayling doesn't think we can ever get over the fact that it's a reviled bloodsucker, just like the most famous bloodsucker of them all, Dracula - and he reveals a hidden link between the two. Bethany Sawyer and her company provide leeches for the NHS to help in reconstructive surgery, and Brett visits their leech farm for an uncomfortably close encounter. Emma Sherlock is an enthusiast for all things wormy and for the amazing abilities of the humble leech, but hearing how they used to be gathered and used could surely send a shudder down any spine..
Taking part:
Bethany Sawyer, General Manager of Biopharm
Sir Christopher Frayling, Professor Emeritus of Cultural History, Royal College of Art
Emma Sherlock, Curator of Free Living Worms at the Natural History Museum
Dr Robert Kirk, Lecturer in Medical History and Humanities at the University of Manchester
Geoffrey Whitehead, Reader
Producer Beth O'Dea.

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Mon 8 Aug 2016 21:00

Dr Emma Sherlock

Dr Emma Sherlock
Dr Emma Sherlock is Senior Curator of Free-living worms and Porifera at the Natural History Museum in London.

Sir Christopher Frayling

Sir Christopher Frayling
Sir Christopher Frayling is an educationalist, writer and one of Britains best-known advocates of education in the arts. He was recently appointed as the first chancellor of Arts University Bournemouth.

Dr Robert Kirk

Dr Robert Kirk
Robert G. W. Kirk is a Lecturer in Medical History and Humanities at the University of Manchester. His work examines the role of non-human animals in human cultures, particularly within science and medicine, and has co-authored a cultural history of leeches.

With the support of the Wellcome Trust, Rob is currently exploring how human-animal relations shape and potentially sustain health and wellbeing in society. This asks how our perceptions of medicine might change if health and wellbeing were thought of as more than human concerns.

Bethany Sawyer

Bethany Sawyer
Bethany Sawyer is Chief Executive of Biopharm Leeches based in Hendy, South Wales. The firm breeds and sells medicinal leeches to hospitals around the world and has been the sole supplier of leeches to the NHS for the last thirty years.

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