Some TV has the ability to have an important and reflective effect on the viewer and so it was with Katie: My beautiful friends on Channel 4. The series has just ended and from the trailers it looked to be a reality show about disfigurement with a celebrity leaning and platitude heavy. What it was though, was a literal eye opener. Katie piper was a pretty young women who had got involved with, and managed to get untangled from, an obsessive and as a result the ex boyfriend had paid for a person of dubious morality, to throw acid in her face. A human being capable of doing such a thing deserves the most extreme of punishment as the results of this attack are simply horrific.
Throughout the show Katie Piper comes across as an intelligent and driven woman and not the bimbo that one could have expected and her absolute strength is quite incredible. A previous documentary had shown her coping with the early days of the event and the pain and suffering that went hand in hand with the attempts to piece her back together, both physically and mentally.
We see her meeting other people with a variety of facial and bodily disfigurement; some so extreme as to make one wonder how they are able to cope on a daily basis. What is so unfair about their situations is not the looks of the general public. but the fact that some of them tell of complete strangers making hurtful and twisted comments. Why would you do that? Why would you go out of your way to make someone feel terrible just because they look different?
The variety of different people with different appearances was an interesting counterpoint to automatically assuming saint hood on the ‘afflicted’. What they all showed, and Katie in particular, was courage and fortitude to survive emotionally intact. I don’t think that if I had to face what they do I would be able to deal with it in the same way.
Katie Piper seems to genuinely want to help both those that are disfigured and raise awareness; She did both and what I would love to say to her in person is “You are a terrific woman, good on you”
Available on 4OD