Christian Jessen

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Christian Jessen
Christian Jessen at the BAFTA's (cropped).jpg
Christian Spencer Jessen

(1977-03-04) 4 March 1977 (age 46)
London, England
Alma materUppingham School
University College London
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • Physician
  • television personality
  • writer
PartnerRogerio Barreto

Christian Spencer Jessen (born 4 March 1977) is a British celebrity doctor, television personality, and writer. He is best known for appearing in the Channel 4 programmes Embarrassing Bodies (2007–2015) and Supersize vs Superskinny (2008–2014).


Jessen was educated at Uppingham School, a co-educational independent school situated in the small market town of Uppingham in Rutland, followed by University College London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, both constituent colleges of the University of London in Central London, where he received his MBBS degrees in 2001.[1]


Jessen studied medicine as an undergraduate at University College London, graduating in 2001.[1] He holds a MSc degree in sexual health, and has a particular interest in HIV and malaria, which were the focus of his work in Kenya and Uganda.[2] An advocate for HIV education and testing, in 2015, he was named National HIV Testing Week Ambassador.[3]


From 2007 to 2015, Jessen co-presented Embarrassing Bodies alongside Pixie McKenna and Dawn Harper. The show has had a number of spin-off series including Embarrassing Teenage Bodies, Embarrassing Bodies: Kids and Embarrassing Fat Bodies.[4]

Another spin off was set in Australia in 2013 called Embarrassing Bodies Down Under, which Jessen co-hosted with Brad McKay, Ginni Mansberg, and Sam Hay.[5]

He presented Channel 4's Supersize vs Superskinny series from 2008 until 2014.

In 2012, Jessen appeared as the health and fitness expert in Hotel GB. He was the winner of popular culinary show Ready Steady Cook[6] and has appeared as a celebrity contestant on The Weakest Link.[citation needed] He was also the winner of the BBC show Antiques Master.[citation needed]

He was Jack Osbourne's doctor during the filming of Finding God, and also featured in Harley Street, a documentary.[7] Other television appearances include Sex in Court and The Wright Stuff.[citation needed]

In 2012 and 2014, he co-presented the Stand Up to Cancer telethon alongside Davina McCall and Alan Carr.

In 2014, he produced and starred in a documentary series for television called Undercover Doctor: Cure Me I’m Gay.[8] In the series, Jessen investigates therapies purported to be "cures" for homosexuality.[9]

In an appearance on Loose Women, Jessen performed a live HIV test on a woman and drew criticism for not wearing protective gloves. Jessen defended his actions and called for more understanding on how HIV spreads.[10]

In 2018, he co-starred and produced a documentary series for UKTV Play called Dr Christian: 12 hours to cure your Street, in which he travelled across the UK in a mobile clinic to treat individuals in their hometowns.[11]


He is the author of Can I Just Ask? (2010).[12] He has also written three books for adolescents: Dr Christian's Guide to Growing Up (2013),[13] Dr Christian's Guide to Dealing with the Tricky Stuff (2015)[14] and Dr Christian's Guide to You (2016).[15]


BBC Panorama investigation[edit]

In August 2018, a BBC Panorama documentary investigation revealed Jessen's involvement in a private online pharmacy, UK Meds. Such sites are believed to allow people to purchase potentially dangerous prescriptions with ease and cannot be regulated by the Care Quality Commission due to a loophole allowing them to issue prescriptions via third party doctors in Romania.[16][17] The owner of the pharmacy, Mason Soiza, has previously faced accusations of running escort agencies and WordPress plugin scams.[18][19]

COVID pandemic[edit]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jessen sparked criticism for comments, saying that Italian COVID-19 countermeasures were an "excuse for a long siesta". He also commented on the severity of the pandemic, regarding it only as a case of bad cold and scaremongering by the media.[20]

Arlene Foster[edit]

In 2020, the First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster launched legal action against Jessen for defamation over a tweet in December 2019 that falsely claimed she had been having an extra-marital affair.[21] The tweet was not deleted until two weeks after it was posted. In court, Foster alleged that the tweet was posted at a time when some anonymous Twitter accounts were claiming she was having an affair with one of her security guards. It was further alleged that Jessen had been contacted 13 times by email and letter about it but had not answered.[22] In May 2021, Mr Justice McAlinden awarded Foster £125,000 in damages and full costs after Jessen lost the case, describing his conduct as "an outrageously bad libel". The judge added that Jessen's failure to apologise for or to retract the libel were aggravating features.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Jessen is gay and his partner, Rogério Barreto, is Brazilian.[24][25] His father is from Germany.[26]

He is an atheist, a humanist, and a patron of Humanists UK, a charity that advocates for secularism, equalities, and human rights.[27] He has stated that he has muscle dysmorphia.[28]

He endorsed Boris Johnson during the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election.[29]


Year Title Role Notes
2007–2015 Embarrassing Bodies Presenter Formerly Embarrassing Illnesses
2007 Doctor, Doctor Himself 1 episode
Sex in Court Judge
2008–2009 Embarrassing Teenage Bodies Presenter Embarrassing Bodies spin-off
2008–2014 Supersize vs Superskinny
2009, 2010 Angela and Friends Himself 17 episodes, weekly "Health and Medicine" segment
2010–2011 Embarrassing Bodies: Kids Presenter Embarrassing Bodies spin-off
2010 One Born at Christmas Doctor 6-part One Born Every Minute spin-off
The Ugly Face of Beauty Presenter
2011 Supersize vs Superskinny Kids Supersize vs Superskinny spin-off
Stephen Fry's 100 Greatest Gadgets Himself TV documentary
Mongrels One episode
A Night with the Stars TV documentary
2011–2012 Embarrassing Fat Bodies Presenter Embarrassing Bodies spin-off
2012 Hotel GB Health and fitness expert
2012, 2014 Stand Up to Cancer Presenter Live charity telethon
2012 Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial Two part live documentary
2013, 2014 Embarrassing Bodies Down Under Himself Embarrassing Bodies spin-off
2014 Undercover Doctor: Cure Me I'm Gay Presenter [30]
2017–present Doctor Christian Will See You Now
2018–present Dr Christian: 12 Hours to Cure your Street Presenter, Doctor Running a mobile clinic treating real people in their own homes around the UK
Guest appearances


  1. ^ a b "Christian Spencer JESSEN | GMC reference no: 6028241". Medical Register. General Medical Council. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Dr Christian Jessen (biography)". Archived from the original on 31 July 2008.
  3. ^ "Dr Christian Jessen and Mayor of Lambeth promote HIV Testing Week". 23 November 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  4. ^ "embarrassing bodies | Doctor Profile | Dr Jessen". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 2 May 2008.
  5. ^ Lowe, Adrian (29 October 2013). "Embarrassing Bodies Down Under recap: Are Aussies really as unhealthy as the Brits?". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  6. ^ "Ready Steady Cook - Series 19, Episode 20, Series 19". BBC iPlayer. 6 October 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  7. ^ "London's hottest doctor on sexual health, size zero and David Cameron". Evening Standard. 5 May 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  8. ^ "Channel 4's Dr Christian asks: Cure me, I'm Gay". Channel 4 (Press release). 3 February 2014. Archived from the original on 13 May 2018.
  9. ^ Cosslett, Rhiannon Lucy (21 March 2014). "Interview | Dr Christian Jessen: 'The public's thirst for gory medical things is insatiable'". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  10. ^ Percival, Ashley (30 November 2015). "'Loose Women': Dr Christian Jessen Defends Decision Not To Wear Gloves During Live HIV Test On Coleen Nolan And Saira Khan". HuffPost. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  11. ^ "Dr Christian: 12 Hours to Cure Your Street". UKTV Play. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  12. ^ Jessen, Christian (16 November 2010). Can I Just Ask?: The 250+ Curious Questions that Off-Duty Doctors Are Most Often Asked. Hay House. ASIN B00SLVL8ZQ.
  13. ^ Jessen, Christian (2 May 2013). Dr Christian's Guide to Growing Up. Scholastic. ISBN 978-1407132716.
  14. ^ Jessen, Christian (1 January 2015). Dr Christian's Guide to Dealing with the Tricky Stuff. Scholastic. ISBN 978-1407153919.
  15. ^ Jessen, Christian (5 May 2016). Dr Christian's Guide to You. Scholastic. ISBN 978-1407165448.
  16. ^ Kirkland, Faye (6 August 2018). "Safety concerns over websites selling prescription drugs". BBC News. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  17. ^ Lewis, Grace (7 August 2018). "GPhC looking into concerns about online pharmacy featured on Panorama". Chemist + Druggist. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  18. ^ "Web entrepreneur faces inquiry over online sale of painkillers". The Times. 28 July 2018. Retrieved 19 May 2022.(subscription required)
  19. ^ Moen, Dan (8 August 2018). "Known WordPress Threat Actor Under Investigation For Prescription-Free Online Pharmacy". Wordfence. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  20. ^ Harrison, Ellie (13 March 2020). "Coronavirus: Dr Christian Jessen says Italians are using pandemic as an excuse for 'long siesta'". The Independent. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  21. ^ "Arlene Foster: Dr Jessen 'honestly believed' extra-marital affair claim". BBC News. 23 April 2021. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  22. ^ McCormack, Jayne (14 April 2021). "Arlene Foster: DUP leader sues Christian Jessen for defamation". BB News. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  23. ^ Hogan, Laura (27 May 2021). "TV presenter ordered to pay £125,000 damages to Arlene Foster". RTÉ. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  24. ^ "DOCTOR CHRISTIAN JESSEN: MY SEXUALITY LOST ME 500 FOLLOWERS ON TWITTER". Ditch the Label. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  25. ^ Laws, Roz (10 May 2009). "Dr Christian Jessen reveals what shocks him". Sunday Mercury. Archived from the original on 22 June 2009.
  26. ^ Ross, Deborah (30 June 2012). "Dr Christian Jessen: 'I am rather scraping the bottom of the barrel'". The Independent. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  27. ^ "Dr Christian Jessen". Humanists UK. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  28. ^ "I weigh 14 stone but in my head, I'm a 7 stone weakling". Evening Standard. 5 August 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  29. ^ Lewis, Rebecca (22 June 2019). "Dr Christian Jessen throws support behind Tory leadership candidate Boris Johnson". Metro. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  30. ^ "INTERVIEW: Dr Christian - Cure Me I'm Gay". The Gay UK. 16 March 2014. Archived from the original on 19 March 2014.

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