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Man whose assisted suicide features in Terry Pratchett documentary named

Footage of the assisted suicide of millionaire hotelier Peter Smedley is due to air on British television on Monday.

Author Terry Pratchett.
Author Terry Pratchett.
Image: Yui Mok/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A MILLIONAIRE BUSINESSMAN’s assisted suicide will be the first to be shown on terrestrial British television, after it was filmed for a documentary made by the author Terry Pratchett for BBC2.

Hotelier Peter Smedley, 71, has been named as the man who will feature in the controversial documentary.

Smedley, who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease two years ago, died last December after drinking poison at a clinic in Switzerland while accompanied by his wife and by Pratchett.

The Telegraph reports that Smedley’s friends hadn’t known he was planning to travel to Switzerland for the assisted suicide and were completely in the dark about the BBC documentary. His friends described him as an “extremely private man” who wanted a change in law which would allow people to be able to make a decision about when to end their lives.

Pratchett was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2008. The following year, he made a two-part series for the BBC about living with the disease and new treatments. He supports assisted suicide, saying that anyone who has a debilitating and incurable disease should have the right to choose when to die.

The BBC has been criticised for its decision to broadcast Smedley’s death, with charity group Care Not Killing saying that Pratchett’s position on assisted suicides means the programme is unlikely to be balanced. The BBC said that this was an important topic of debate and an issue which Pratchett and “many across Britain” are faced with.

The BBC2 documentary called Choosing to Die is due to be broadcast on Monday.

Read more: Terry Pratchett to present documentary on assisted suicide >

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