Home Entertainment Inseperable Sisters review: Sew sweet! The giggly conjoined twins with a passion for fashion, writes CHRISTOPHER STEVENS

Inseperable Sisters review: Sew sweet! The giggly conjoined twins with a passion for fashion, writes CHRISTOPHER STEVENS

by Merry
0 comment
Inseperable Sisters review: Sew sweet! The giggly conjoined twins with a passion for fashion, writes CHRISTOPHER STEVENS

Inseparable Sisters (BBC 1)

Classification:

Bring on the drama (BBC 2)

Classification:

The most frustrating problems with any disability are the ones you don’t think about.

For dad Ibrahima, a former CEO whose seven-year-old daughters are conjoined twins, he could not have imagined the challenges that awaited him.

Marieme and Ndeye, joined at the pelvis, have serious and unavoidable medical needs.

That was clear from birth, when they were not expected to survive more than a few days.

Schooling, transport, home care, all present enormous difficulties, and the unique documentary Inseparable Sisters (BBC1) did not flinch from any of them.

But only people with direct experience of this rare disease could guess how nearly impossible it would be to give the twins something that all girls love: stylish clothes.

The charm of this documentary was seeing not only the sweetness of Marieme and Ndeye’s smiling personalities, and the inexhaustible optimism of Ibrahima, but also the enthusiasm of everyone who pitched in to help.

The children were born in Dakar, Senegal, and came to Britain with their parents in the hope of undergoing surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital to separate them. That was not possible: Marieme’s heart is too weak and she would not survive.

Marieme and Ndeye, joined at the pelvis, have serious and unavoidable medical needs - Inseparable Sisters (BBC1)

Marieme and Ndeye, joined at the pelvis, have serious and unavoidable medical needs - Inseparable Sisters (BBC1)

Marieme and Ndeye, joined at the pelvis, have serious and unavoidable medical needs – Inseparable Sisters (BBC1)

The charm of this documentary was seeing not only the sweetness of Marieme and Ndeye's smiling personalities, and the inexhaustible optimism of Ibrahima, but also the enthusiasm of everyone who pitched in to help.

The charm of this documentary was seeing not only the sweetness of Marieme and Ndeye's smiling personalities, and the inexhaustible optimism of Ibrahima, but also the enthusiasm of everyone who pitched in to help.

The charm of this documentary was seeing not only the sweetness of Marieme and Ndeye’s smiling personalities, and the inexhaustible optimism of Ibrahima, but also the enthusiasm of everyone who pitched in to help.

‘At this point,’ his father said, ‘it’s simply killing one of my sons for another. That’s something I can’t do.’

As excellent healthcare here kept them alive, the girls’ mother was forced to return to Senegal to care for her other children.

We didn’t hear anything from the mother, and if this show had been extended to an hour, rather than limited to 40 minutes, we might have learned something about how the girls felt about missing her.

We were also not told if Ibrahima is in contact with other families who have conjoined twins and how rare this is in Britain.

The twins now attend primary school in Cardiff Bay, where they share a multitude of friends despite their different personalities: Ndeye is assertive and cheerful, Marieme is thoughtful and quiet.

Her father has to change his clothes so that they fit properly, combining two upper body parts and a third sleeve, but Marieme often feels cold, while her sister easily gets too hot. It’s obvious, but you wouldn’t think about it until it’s pointed out.

When she heard about the girls, textiles professor Sue James from the University of South Wales offered exactly the help this family needed: she encouraged Marieme and Ndeye to choose their favorite fabrics and then created a party dress, a split sweatshirt in comfortable, light halves, and an equally ingenious coat.

The episode ended with the duo doing their own little fashion show.

Last year Channel 4 aired a short season on clothing for disabled people, The Unique Boutique. But TV could do a lot more to help here – a season of The Great British Sewing Bee dedicated to providing clothes for children like Marieme and Ndeye would be fantastic.

Bring on the drama, BBC2, Bill Bailey, Gemma Crooks and Jason White

Bring on the drama, BBC2, Bill Bailey, Gemma Crooks and Jason White

Bring on the drama, BBC2, Bill Bailey, Gemma Crooks and Jason White

Bill Bailey was dressed to kill, or at least to examine a corpse, in Bring The Drama (BBC2). Hosting an acting challenge in which contestants played characters from Silent Witness, he wore the gauze jumpsuit of a forensics officer. “I look like a beekeeper on vacation,” he grumbled.

The eight amateurs try to impress casting director Kelly Valentine Hendry, but the secret to this format is that casting directors are like television critics: they are all qualified to do it.

Bring The Drama would work better if we spent more time watching the auditions and less time listening to the X Factor-style backstories, but the show is still finding its groove.

At an autopsy scene, supposed pathologists were asked to project “an interrogative but informed air.” That accurately sums up Emilia Fox’s Dr. Nikki.

You may also like