Dr Phil turns to comedy and makes a stand for cause
When did your doctor last wash their hands and how you can escape the NHS alive, will be among the topics tackled by award-winning local doctor Phil Hammond when he brings his latest comedy show to Bath's Komedia.
Potentially serious subjects, you could be forgiven for thinking, but no matter is too serious once made a part of the Games to Play With Your Doctor show. In the show Dr Phil poses us the essential question: "Wouldn't a trip to the doctor or a rush to A&E be much more fun if it was a game?"
Dr Phil, a former GP who still works in Bath for the NHS, has appeared on many of the nation's best loved programmes – including Have I Got News For You and Countdown – and presents a weekly show on BBC Radio Bristol.
He rose to prominence after starting a column in Private Eye, in which he has used his humour and insider knowledge to break a number of stories about the NHS.
Brought up in Australia before a traumatic relocation to every school in Marlborough, Hammond qualified as a doctor in 1987 from Girton College, Cambridge University and St Thomas' Hospital Medical School.
He became a GP in 1991 but first came into the public spotlight writing a column for The Independent and as half of Struck Off and Die, with Tony Gardner.
They had five sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, were twice selected for the Perrier Pick of the Fringe and won Writers' Guild and Silver Sony Awards when the show transformed into a Radio 4 series.
In 2002, Phil fronted 28 Minutes to Save the NHS on Radio 4, which he extended to a sell out Edinburgh Fringe Show, 59 Minutes to Save the NHS and further extended to a highly successful 60-date UK tour 89 Minutes to Save the NHS.
He presented five series of Trust Me, I'm a Doctor on BBC 2, exposing wide variations in care across the NHS and co-wrote the sitcom, Doctors and Nurses, broadcast on BBC 1 in 2004.
On Thursday, September 19 his tour sees the good doctor returning to the stage in Bath and the audience can expect all the gags and laughs that have seen him described as "One of the most entertainingly subversive people on the planet" by The Guardian.
"I hope it will be a great show", says Phil, "the audience will learn how to get past a bearded receptionist, as well as ways to diagnose their own doctor and arm wrestle for drugs – and it's all for a good cause".
All the proceeds from the evening will be put towards the campaign against a proposed asbestos landfill at Stowey Quarry in the Chew Valley.
Proposals include the dumping of 645,000 tonnes of asbestos and other hazardous waste at the hilltop site, overlooking Chew Valley Lake.
The plans are highly contentious and have been strongly contended, with objections raised by Bristol Water and Bristol City Council, as well as various MPs and environmental experts.
"Anybody coming to the show will be supporting our campaign", says Phil, "The landfill would be just another job done by the government on the quick and on the cheap, just like the NHS reforms, and we need to stop it going ahead".
A public enquiry will be held to finally decide the outcome of the issue.
Phil will be there to give evidence, in an appearance that will make him "probably the first comedian to take part in a public enquiry."
He said: "The campaign has brought the whole community together. Some brilliant and talented people have got involved, and we are cautiously optimistic that we will get the result we want.
"If we do, we will have a big party. And If we don't we will have a big party anyway."
Dr Phil Hammond's Games to Play With Your Doctor show comes to the Komedia, Bath on Thursday, September 19 at 7.30pm.
Tickets are £16, £13 concessions or £26,50 for a meal deal.
See www.komedia.co.uk or call the box office on 0845 2938480 for further details and tickets.
All proceeds go to benefit the campaign to stop the Stowey Quarry asbestos landfill in the Chew Valley.