Miriam's Dead Good Adventure
Confirmed for BBC Two on 21 April at 9pm to 10pm
Sunday 21 April
Miriam starts her journey at Wren Hall, a UK dementia care home, to see what getting old might actually look like. Are there are any real alternatives to facing our inevitable decline?
In America, Miriam meets people who are trying to achieve unlimited lifespans by thinking and feeling differently about death. She joins the world’s largest gathering of radical life extension enthusiasts at the Revolution Against Ageing and Death Festival in California.
Thousands of people are willing to go to extreme lengths to avoid ageing with radical medical and technological advances. She discovers a growing industry of people selling the secrets of how to stay alive long enough to live forever. Energised but not entirely convinced, Miriam wonders if technology and a different mental attitude aren’t the only ways to stave off death.
For some, a long life is based on healthy living and religious devotion. Loma Linda, near San Diego, is one of the world’s five ‘Blue Zones’ where people live longer than anyone else on earth. It’s also home to over 9,000 Seventh Day Adventists - strict believers in healthy living and a devotion to God. Residents of Loma Linda survive ten years longer than the average American. Miriam joins the three-hour exercise regime of the local sprightly pensioners to learn more.
At the Church Of Perpetual Life in Florida, Miriam meets a community who are devoted to science rather than God. The community hopes to prolong their lives with expensive supplements until immortality can be achieved through scientific breakthroughs.
Miriam begins to wonder whether fighting death is beyond the pockets of most. What does this mean for those who can’t afford it According to statistics, homeless people in America are unlikely to live beyond 50. Miriam visits unmarked graves at a paupers’ cemetery to discover what death looks like for people with nothing.
Returning to the UK humbled, Miriam heads back to Wren Hall. While the privileged fret about extending their lives, for most people, the best way to deal with death is to make the most of life.
Pictured: Miriam Margolyes with Seventh Day Adventists Tom and Marijke - Loma Linda, US
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