Richard and Judy agree assisted death pact

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Madeley and Finnigan presented This Morning for 13 years between 1988 and 2001

TV personalities Judy Finnigan and husband Richard Madeley have said they have agreed to an assisted death pact should one of them fall seriously ill.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Madeley said: "If Judy was really ill and in logical mind...

"I wouldn't give a tuppenny if there was a risk of being prosecuted. I'd do what was right for my wife."

Finnigan added: "And I'd do the same. Stuff it all! We've made ourselves give each other a pledge along those lines."

Madeley continued: "If, when the time came... Judy said to me, 'But what about you? What about the risk of prosecution?', I'd say, 'That's my problem, I'll deal with that, don't worry about it.' And for me, it would be the locked room, the bottle of whisky and the revolver. I wouldn't want to mess around."

Alistair Thompson, a spokesman for Care not Killing, said in a statement: "This is another deeply depressing and misguided set of comments from two much-loved celebrities, who should know better.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
The couple also presented a show called Richard and Judy on Channel 4

"These headline-grabbing comments go against the advice of organisations like the World Health Organisation which says that discussions about suicide and assisted suicide need to be handled very carefully to prevent taking your own life or helping someone to die appear normal.

"Changing the law so you can kill a loved one, or be killed would put many vulnerable people at risk who might be pressured into ending their life, because they might feel that they had become either a care or financial burden.

"Before making similar comments I hope that Richard and Judy might investigate more thoroughly the amazing quality of palliative care we have in this country and visit one or more of the UK's outstanding hospices. How we maintain both with an ageing population and in times of austerity is what we desperately need to discuss."

Charity Dying in Dignity, which campaigns for a change in the law to allow assisted dying, would not comment directly on the couple's interview but said in a statement: "Dying people should not have to suffer against their wishes at the end of life, and neither should loved ones be forced into a position where they have to break the law to help them die.

Image caption,
Madeley (left) has also appeared on shows such as Have I Got News For You

"The law needs to change to provide choice and greater protection for both.

"To that end the Assisted Dying Bill will shortly be debated by the House of Lords. This change in the law would result in fewer dying adults - and their families - facing unnecessary suffering at the end of their lives.

"The Bill is supported by an overwhelming majority of the British public. This is a problem that can no longer be ignored, and it is time for Parliament to act."

Madeley and Finnigan are best known for fronting ITV show This Morning and their Channel 4 talk show.

They also run a book club for retailer WH Smith, which has been going for 10 years.

Madeley continues to work on TV and radio, doing stints on BBC Radio 5 live, The One Show and Channel 5's The Wright Stuff.

But Finnigan, who is now writing her second novel, says she has no interest in a return to TV.

"You get to a point where you think, 'I cannot bear to interview another soap star. I just can't.' We were always being given soap stars who had a storyline about having Aids or something. But you can't sit there and talk to them about Aids when they're actors! The whole thing just became more and more artificial and more and more silly and irrelevant to me and I just lost interest, really."

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