Press Office

Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

Press Release

Sir Terry Pratchett explores the realities of assisted death in BBC Two documentary

In Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die, world-renowned author Sir Terry Pratchett explores the realities of medically assisted death. Diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's disease in 2008, Terry considers how he might choose to end his life as his condition progresses. Terry meets men suffering from degenerative conditions and is with a British motor neurone sufferer as he carries out an assisted death at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland.

Sir Terry says: "I am a firm believer in assisted death. I believe everybody possessed of a debilitating and incurable disease should be allowed to pick the hour of their death. And I wanted to know more about Dignitas in case I ever wanted to go there myself."

Sir Terry has said that he would like to choose to end his own life rather than succumb to his degenerative condition. However, he acknowledges that there are a number of people who are against assisted dying for religious, moral or practical reasons and at present, assisted death is both an ethically contentious and illegal act in the UK.

In a moving BBC Two documentary, Sir Terry meets those who, like him, would like to control the way they die.

From across Europe he compares other countries' legal positions with that of the UK and asks what the future is for assisted death in the UK.

Charlotte Moore, Commissioning Editor for Documentaries, says: "Assisted death is an important topic of debate in the UK, and this is a chance for the BBC Two audience to follow Sir Terry as he wrestles with the difficult issues that many across Britain are also faced with. I hope this sparks a constructive debate that people across the spectrum of opinion can engage in."

Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die is an exploration of one of society's most sensitive issues and reunites the best-selling author with the award-winning team that made Terry Pratchett: Living With Alzheimer's.

Craig Hunter, Executive Producer for KEO North: "This intensely personal film, by one Britain's best loved authors, tackles a deeply taboo subject with sensitivity and with Pratchett's idiosyncratic humour.  It's a valuable contribution to the increasingly urgent debate as to who determines when and how we die."

Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die (1x60-minutes) was commissioned by Charlotte Moore and executive produced by Craig Hunter for Keo North and Sam Anthony for the BBC.

Notes to Editors

Newsnight intends to host a debate following Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die exploring the wide spectrum of views on the issues it raises. Both will air on BBC Two in the Summer.

BBC Documentaries is committed to providing a broad range of thought-provoking, innovative and risk-taking programmes, working with the best in filmmaking talent to create quality documentaries that both reflect and confront many of the issues facing modern Britain. Charlotte Moore is the Commissioning Editor, Documentaries, commissioning content across all four television channels.

This film features the assisted death of a man on screen.


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