Teenage Tourette’s Camp, ITV1,

by | Jan 3, 2006 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

Yes, we admit we were looking forward to giggling at the outbursts of course language as much as Catherine Tate’s Nan would do but in the end this was a moving, inspirational and insightful programme – not the usual exploitative fodder we’d expect from the channel that brought us The Jeremy Kyle Show.

What was good about it?

• The teenage sufferers–- who faced their condition head-on and embarked on a rather challenging, alternative form of therapy in America – were a thoroughly likeable bunch. Each one was brave in their own right and absolutely determined.

• Additionally, it was refreshing that the programme portrayed the teenagers as just that – at camp, they formed alliances and fell out with each other like any other ordinary adolescent, they rebelled and they bonded. This realistic, human portrayal went some way to challenge the misperceptions surrounding Tourette’s syndrome and those it affects.

• Some of the stories and histories of the sufferers were fascinating. Jessica, now 15, was diagnosed at the age of five and amazingly is fearless enough to go shopping knowing she will shout “nigger” at black passers-by; Sam uses his local, rowdy football matches to disguise his verbal tics; while Ben has no verbal outbursts at all but constant shrugging and sniffing instead.

• Jessica’s courageous and engaging mum Anne. We loved how caring and logical she was with her daughter’s situation but still able to see the humorous side of things. When one shop assistant explained she already knew Jessica had Tourette’s due to an earlier incident, her reply was “Well, you wouldn’t really forget meeting her I suppose”.

We’re ashamed to say we couldn’t get enough of the clip shown throughout of the sufferers entering camp and Jessica greeting it with “ARSEHOLE!” at the top of her voice.

What was bad about it?

• The condition’s origins and history were skimmed over. While we were given a number of statistics and told Tourette’s is genetic, there was no explanation of how it is defined, what can be done to lessen the symptoms and why it differs between sufferers.

• Although the programme had a sensitive narration from Timothy Spall, there was the odd stinker of a line such as “None of these teenagers have been to an American Tourette’s camp before”.

• Since the therapy camp was set in America, there had to be an obligatory teen dance to finish things off. A rather cheesy ending to an otherwise perceptive piece of TV.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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