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The Woman Who Woke Up Chinese

The Woman Who Woke Up Chinese

Tue Sep 3, 10.35-11.30pm, BBC1

By Claire Winter
Oh dear. This is a title designed to arouse curiosity if ever there was one – it’s almost a shame to spoil it by revealing its actual content. However. After suffering a migraine, 38-year-old Plymouth born Sarah Colwill awoke with ‘Foreign Accent Syndrome’, giving her a Chinese-sounding accent and difficulty with English.

This documentary looks at how it affects her life, from her husband’s frustration to the inevitable if inadvertent offence caused by her somewhat pidgin lilt. Sarah’s main tribulation is not knowing the reason behind her condition, so it’s a shame that this documentary focuses on the weirder aspects at the expense of a more scientific approach.

What we are left with is strangely empty, swinging between almost-fascinating and almost-uncomfortable. You may agree, after the third shot of the poor woman ordering Chinese takeaway over the phone for the camera, that it’s usually more of the latter.

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