Gogglebox stars Dom and Steph Parker make documentary after opening up about sick son
22 January 2019, 02:27 | Updated: 22 January 2019, 07:16
Gogglebox stars Dom and Steph Parker are looking to cannabis to improve - or even save - the lives of children with severe epilepsy.
The couple feature in a new documentary exploring whether medicinal cannabis could be a "miracle cure" for young people like their son Max, who has the condition.
Dom, 54, said he was compelled to create the film by the hope that his son's legacy, and the "suffering and pain" the 18-year-old had experienced, could mean he "saved one life or improved one life".
He said he thought carefully about embarking on the show, as the family have always kept the lives of their children out of the public eye.
"We thought 'Well, hang on a moment. That's exposing our private lives, which we have strived very hard to keep private, for our children's sake'," he explained.
"And we thought about it for 48 hours and we felt, if there was one good thing that could possibly come out of Max's suffering and his disability over all these years that we've all gone through, then perhaps this is actually the reason he was given to us."
The show will follow Steph, Dom and their teenager daughter Honor in meetings with people who have been prescribed cannabis oil.
Medicinal cannabis is now legal on prescription in the UK, and is believed to improve issues such as epilepsy, autism, chronic pain and inflammatory bowel disease.
"The combination of time, our notoriety, his condition, his age, the product coming to the market - it's all over the press. Maybe this is the one reason that actually he was given to us," Parker said, describing the reasons behind the new show.
"If this is Max's legacy, that we have helped push this along and saved one life or improved one life, then all of the suffering and pain that he's been through and we've been through will be worthwhile.
"And that actually it would be wrong not to do it."
The recent change in the law around the cannabis prescriptions followed a summer of campaigning by Charlotte Caldwell, whose son Billy has severe epilepsy and had taken medicinal cannabis to control his seizures.
The government's chief medical adviser, Professor Dame Sally Davies, has also concluded there is evidence medicinal cannabis has therapeutic benefits.
Steph and Dom Parker, however, believe there is little chance that medical cannabis can improve the condition of Max.
"For us, personally, we don't expect this to be the cure-all or anything like that for Max," they said.
"I would love to be disappointed on that front, but we're pretty sure the damage to his brain has been done - either by the epilepsy or the drugs he's already on.
"We don't think for a minute it will reverse the damage, we think it's too late for that. We hope it might reduce his seizures."
Can Cannabis Save Our Son? will air on Channel 4 next Monday.