The Matilda Challenge

A dancing GP is one of the breakout stars of a new ‘Matilda Challenge’ inspired video, launched to support this year’s Greater Manchester winter health campaign.

Dr Danny Hedwat is joined by pharmacy manager Vanessa Tam and Manchester City Council’s Rolin Johnson in the short film, based on an iconic and much-mimicked scene from the 1996 movie Matilda where the young character discovers her magical abilities.

And with Matilda the stage show still packing out the Palace Theatre in Manchester, Danny, Vanessa and Rolin are seen performing some pretty nifty Matilda-esque tricks to demonstrate how everyone can do their bit to look after themselves and help winter run smoother.

Set to the sound of Thurston Harris’ iconic tune Little Bitty Pretty One, a whole host of ‘magic’ happens in the video, like glasses refilling themselves so people can keep hydrated, medicines jumping in a shopping basket to show that people should stock up on essentials to keep well and a skeleton suddenly coming alive after receiving a nasal flu vaccination.

And in the GP surgery scene, clock hands magically roll forward to demonstrate that you can now get an appointment evenings and weekends, whichever part of Greater Manchester you live in.

Jon Rouse, chief officer of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, the body responsible for health and care devolution, which commissioned the video, said: “We assembled a top team of special effects experts to put together this film, with cutting-edge techniques like using pieces of string to lift things. For some reason they didn’t want me dancing in it! But I am told that it was fun to make, and the serious message in there is that in Greater Manchester we are ready for whatever winter brings.

“With cold weather and all sorts of bugs and viruses around we do expect a fair bit of additional pressure on our health and social care system. But we’ve made our preparations, and we are urging people to make theirs too with the Help Us Help You message.”

Dr Danny Hedwat said: “As a busy GP I don’t get too many chances to bust my moves, so to find myself boogying around my surgery after hours for the Matilda Challenge video was a bit unexpected to say the least.

“But I wanted to get behind this, to get the message out that people can do their bit to help us. It can be as simple as getting your flu jab, keeping the house warm and making sure you’re all stocked up on medicines.

“Or it can be about considering how to access the medical help you need, by thinking of pharmacy, seeing a GP, or ringing 111 before you go to A&E. We are here to help people when and where they need it.”

Ways you can ‘Help Us Help You’

  • Try your local pharmacy first if you’re feeling under the weather; they’re your fastest route to help and advice.
  • Keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home, and take all medicines that are prescribed to you.
  • Keep warm and eat well to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems – cold weather can be harmful, so heat your home to at least 18°C.
  • Look out for family, friends and neighbours who may be more at risk over winter.
  • Book a free flu jab if you’re a carer, over the age of 65, pregnant, have a long-term health condition like asthma or diabetes, or have a body mass index (BMI) of more than 40:

– Toddlers aged 2 or 3 can get a free nasal flu vaccination at their GP surgery
– Children (from reception up to year five) can get a nasal vaccination at school, with the consent of a parent

  • Need urgent medical help? Unless it’s a 999 emergency, call the NHS helpline on 111 or go to 
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