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Joan Bakewell and her panel discuss death and dying, confronting the questions we fear the most. She explores the movement that is helping us to have a say in where and how we die.

Mortality is often on Joan Bakewell's mind. She's in her eighties, many of her friends have died and older relatives went long ago. She's seen others die and doesn't find it frightening.

Given that death and dying are just part of the stream of human existence, she's baffled that so many of us shy away from the subject. Particularly given that many of us don't die 'well'.

While the UK ranks as one of the best places to die in the world, thanks to palliative care and the hospice movement, this obscures many worrying realities. Most people say they want to die at home but many don't achieve it, with half of us dying on an often busy hospital ward. Furthermore, painkillers like morphine are often prescribed too late and in too low a dose.

In this series, Joan Bakewell and her panel talk openly about what happens in Britain today when we die. She explores the choices open to us and confronts the very questions about death and dying that we fear the most.

In this opening programme, Joan considers what we can all do to take control of our own deaths. She explores a growing social movement in palliative care which encourages people to stand beside the dying to ensure they have a say in how and where they die.

Producer: Beth Eastwood

Some clips: Courtesy of Healthtalk.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Sat 3 Dec 2016 22:15

The Panel

Julian Abel, Consultant in Palliative Care at Weston Area Health NHS Trust in Somerset.  Chair of Public Health Palliative Care UK

Alan Axford is a retired Oncologist from Aberystwyth in Wales

Elizabeth Alderton, a district nurse specialising in Palliative Care at the North East London Foundation Trust

Contact the programme

If there’s something you’re confused about on the subject of death and dying, just one question you’d like us to explore, please email your question to us here  



  • Wed 30 Nov 2016 20:00
  • Sat 3 Dec 2016 22:15