BBC to screen assisted suicide
The death of a millionaire hotelier and motor neurone disease sufferer is set to be screened on television.
Campaigners have accused the BBC of helping to promote assisted suicide in the documentary by Sir Terry Pratchett. But the BBC has denied the screening will lead to copycat suicides, saying it will give viewers the chance to make their own minds up on the issue.
In Choosing to Die, on BBC Two, Peter Smedley, 71, is seen taking a lethal dose of barbiturates at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland.
The film follows Mr Smedley from his mansion in Guernsey to the Dignitas clinic, which over the last 12 years has helped 1,100 people to die.
Following an advance screening of the documentary, a Dignity in Dying spokeswoman said it was "deeply moving and at times difficult to watch".
"It clearly didn't seek to hide the realities of assisted dying," she said. "In setting out one person's views on assisted dying, it challenges all of us to think about this important issue head on and ask what choices we might want for ourselves and our loved ones at the end of life."
But anti-euthanasia campaigners complained about its portrayal of assisted suicide.
Alistair Thompson, a spokesman for the Care Not Killing Alliance pressure group, said: "This is pro-assisted suicide propaganda loosely dressed up as a documentary."
Mr Thompson accused the BBC of repeatedly giving voice to pro-euthanasia views in both fiction and non-fiction programming but failing to offer the opposite view. The campaigners claim that this is the fifth programme produced by the BBC in three years presented by a pro-euthanasia campaigner or sympathiser.
The BBC denied it had any bias in the public debate over the issue. A spokeswoman said the documentary was "about one person's experience, Terry's journey exploring the issues and the experience he is going through".