My Dead Body leaves viewers unexpectedly moved by TV autopsy

Professor Claire Smith guides viewers through an investigation of fatal illness. (Channel 4)
Professor Claire Smith guided viewers through an investigation of fatal illness in My Dead Body. (Channel 4)

Viewers of a TV autopsy that was narrated by the woman whose body was being dissected have shared how unexpectedly emotional they felt while watching it.

My Dead Body aired on Channel 4 on Monday night and featured the dissection of Toni Crews' body, a mum-of-two who had opted to donate her body to medical science and public display after her death.

Crew died in August 2020, aged 30, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer of the tear gland.

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Toni Crews donated her body to educate medical professionals. (Channel 4)
Toni Crews donated her body to educate medical professionals. (Channel 4)

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The documentary was the first time a named donor had been dissected on TV, and the programme included narration from Crews as well as home video footage of her life, and interviews with her family.

One viewer tweeted: "I've never seen anything like #mydeadbody on TV before. Bravo @Channel4. What a woman Toni was, to organise this before her death."

Someone else added: "#mydeadbody is truly touching. I don't think I've stopped crying since it started. As a parent my biggest fear is leaving my son while he's still so young, she must have been so scared. Donating your body to science is an amazing, selfless thing and a gift to everybody suffering."

Toni's parents and family appear in the documentary. (Channel 4)
Toni's parents and family appeared in the documentary. (Channel 4)

Another person wrote: "Not sure how people can’t watch this. We all have a body, we all know someone who has/had cancer, we all know we’re going to die. Why not use this gift that she has provided us with to understand more about cancer and the impact is has on a body."

Many people also thanked Crews for her selfless act in helping to educate medical students and professionals, who were able to watch the autopsy.

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One person tweeted: "As a graduate of anatomy, I don’t think I can express my gratitude enough to those who donated their bodies for the purpose of enhancing mine and my fellow students’ education. It’s an experience like no other. #BodyDonation #mydeadbody"

Someone else wrote: "#MyDeadBody brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful documentary that truly showcased the impact a donor can have on education. We will never be able to thank them enough."

Another person commented: "Watching #mydeadbody on C4, what a great, selfless thing Toni did. Leaving her body for a public dissection. How much this could progress cancer treatment is incredible."