Channel 5's THE HOUSE OF EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE unites nine unique individuals to break the stigma of what is considered “normal” in society.
The new series premiered on Channel 5 challenging public perceptions of what is considered “normal” in terms of appearance, by inviting nine extraordinary individuals from around the world to live together for 10 days in the Yorkshire countryside.
The show is almost like a Big Brother but for extraordinary people with unique appearances and disabilities that are not often seen by the British public.
The individuals living in this house are Rowdy (a double amputee), Kristen (a primordial dwarf), Bashir (who lives with vitiligo), Aly (a 6ft 9” tall woman) and Ted (‘Parrotman’ whose aim is to look like his parrots). They are joined by a mysterious Dan (with a missing leg), Harnaam Kaur (a lady with thick facial hair caused by polycystic ovary syndrome), Lucas (a facial deformity) and Rachael (neurofibromatosis causes benign lumps and tumours to develop over her body).
During their stay, they confront their fears and learn from each other’s life experiences. They visit the local pub, a trip which becomes too much for Harnaam. While she appears to be confident, she suffers from anxiety and fears how other people may judge her facial hair.
The group want to help Rachael develop her confidence in her skin condition. She talks about how other people are afraid to come in contact with her as they think she is contagious. So she avoids going out in public and only goes as far as the corner shop. To help Rachael overcome her fear, the group go swimming at the local centre. While swimming, it is not long before these unique individuals attract attention from other members of the public. One woman is blown away by Rowdy’s strong swimming despite having no legs.
Mysterious Dan opens up about why he only has one leg. He explains that since a young age he has never felt normal living with two legs so he managed to find a doctor in Thailand who was willing to amputate his leg. This causes some mixed reactions and conflict amongst the group as some members cannot understand why he would choose to disable himself while the other housemates were born with a disability or condition. It is obvious that Rowdy who had both legs amputated at a young age due to a genetic condition sacral agenesis is in shock with Dan’s decision to amputate his leg.
‘Parrotman’ is another interesting individual who has a unique appearance that is caused through his own creation. He has chosen to change his appearance so that he resembles his beloved parrots, covering his body in colourful tattoos, tattooing his eyes and cutting his ears. He has also legally changed his name to Parrotman! While he is happy with his own appearance, he isn’t happy about how other people respond to his choices.
The House of Extraordinary People is a short series, only three episodes long; it is fascinating and a must watch if you are interested in learning about how people live with extraordinary conditions and disabilities.
Each individual brings something unique to the series. When we look beyond their appearance, we learn more about their strengths, talents and personalities, and realise that there is more to a person than just their appearance. These extraordinary individuals challenge the definition of ‘normal’ appearance in society and cause us to question if there is still really such a thing as looking ‘normal’ these days.
- Watched on Channel 5. 18/03/2019