BBC to Air First Real Suicide on Broadcast TV

06.13.11 Marina Galperina

SUICIDEToday, BBC Two will screen a documentary with writer Terry Pratchett who is considering assisted suicide after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In Choosing to Die, he travels to Switzerland’s Dignitas clinic where a 71-year-old motor-neurone sufferer drinks a cocktail of toxins and dies in his wife’s arms.

Terry Pratchett hopes his euthanasia doc will help him change UK’s laws that force the terminally ill “to commit suicide earlier than necessary because they have to go to Switzerland before they are too ill to travel.”

Last month, BBC Two’s Inside the Human Body featured footage of a cancer patient’s final moments (See clip below). In response to claims that the channel is turning dying into a spectacle, critics defend the program’s motive to demystify death’s biological processes and, in effect, help the viewers deal with its psychological implications. They expect Pratchett’s controversial film to draw attention to the UK’s right to die movement.

Warning: Not for sensitive viewers.