Channel 4 to dissect mother-of-two’s dead body on air in TV first

Toni Crews is the subject of a forthcoming Channel 4 documentary (@blingkofaneye_ (Toni Crews) via Instagram)
Toni Crews is the subject of a forthcoming Channel 4 documentary (@blingkofaneye_ (Toni Crews) via Instagram)

Channel 4 has announced a new documentary that will show a woman’s body being dissected.

The programme, titled My Dead Body, will mark the first time a named donor has been dissected on TV.

My Dead Body will chart the life, death and autopsy of Toni Crews, a mother of two who died of cancer in 2020 at the age of 30.

The series will be narrated in her own words, and will show the dissection in a series of educational workshops intended to educate viewers on the “science of cancer”.

Crews was diagnosed with cancer of the tear gland in 2016, a rare form of the disease which led to her eye being removed. In 2020, she was informed that her condition was terminal.

Agreeing to donate her body to medical science, Crews also consented to it being placed on public display. Earlier this year, she became the first British cadaver to be dissected in a public display for almost 200 years.

Professor Claire Smith, head of Anatomy at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, said: “We 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.

“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.”

The programme will feature home video footage of, as well as interviews with her family. “Cutting-edge” voice replication technology will also be used to provide narration.

Anna Miralis, Channel 4’s commissioning editor, said: “This landmark documentary will bring together the latest in anatomical science and cutting-edge tech to tell one of the most intimate stories of all: how a young mum bravely fought for her life against a rare form of cancer.

“By donating her body to public display – the first of its kind in the UK – Toni Crews has given us an extraordinary and unique insight into the journey of the disease; while the presence of her voice in the form of diary entries, letters and social media posts ensures the film is filled with all the warmth and generosity that characterised Toni’s inspiring life.”