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Terry Pratchett to present documentary on assisted suicide

The best-selling author, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2008, will present a documentary exploring the issue of assisted death – and follow the final days of a 71-year-old travelling to a Swiss clinic.

Sir Terry Pratchett.
Sir Terry Pratchett.
Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

AUTHOR TERRY PRATCHETT is to present a programme which shows a man suffering from motor neurone disease travelling to an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland.

Pratchett, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2008, reveals during the BBC2 documentary that he is “a believer in assisted death”.

The documentary will follow the last days of a 71-year-old man named as Peter, the Press Association reports.

Dr Peter Saunders, director of charity Care Not Killing, has criticised the BBC for making the programme. Saunders said that, given Pratchett’s stance on the subject, the show was unlikely to be “balanced” and accused the BBC of acting “like a cheerleader for legalising assisted suicide”.

“Given Sir Terry Pratchett’s position, the fear is that it will show all the supposed benefits of assisted death with very little redress,” he said.

However, the BBC’s commissioning editor for documentaries, Charlotte Moore, said: “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.”

Pratchett has said that he believes any person with “a debilitating and incurable disease” should have the right to choose when to die, and that he has researched Dignitas clinic in Switzerland “in case I ever wanted to go there myself”, the Telegraph reports.

The hour-long programme will be broadcast this summer.

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