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Thursday 22nd August 2019

Pratchett defends assisted suicide documentary

15th June 2011

Writer, Sir Terry Pratchett, has defended his documentary about assisted suicide.


The film showed the moment 71-year-old millionaire hotelier Peter Smedley, who had motor neurone disease, took a lethal dose of barbiturates to end his life.

The film called Choosing To Die was shown on BBC 2 on 13 June and showed 63-year-old Sir Terry – who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008 – follow Mr Smedley from his Guernsey home to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland.

Footage saw the man go through the assisted suicide process, including the moment he died.

Sir Terry said that he wanted to make the film because he is appalled by the current situation where British people had to “drag themselves” to Switzerland to go through the process.

“I know that assisted dying is practised in at least three places in Europe and also in the United States,” said Sir Terry who added: “Peter wanted to show the world what was happening and why he was doing it.”

Director of the film, Charlie Russell said it was ultimately the BBC’s choice to screen the film.

He said: “As a film-maker I felt that it was the truth of the matter. Unfortunately we do all die. It’s not necessarily very nice but that is what happens to us all so I think it is quite important to see it.”

Campaigners have accused the BBC of helping to promote assisted suicide.

However, the BBC defended the screening saying that the programme gave viewers the chance to make up their own minds.


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richard buxton

Thursday 16th June 2011 @ 15:39

A truly moving programme. Peter was a true gentleman right to the end. Even though i didnt know him personally, he came over so dignified and a person who knew what he wanted. Naturally felt very sorry for his wife, but felt she allowed her husband to pass away and for his last thoughts of her to see a loving and caring wife being strong at the time he needed it, regardless of her own feelings. Very upsetting and emotional but opened my eyes to it. Not for anyone to pass judgement on a loving couple.

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