A Short Stay in Switzerland

Synopsis: Julie Walters stars in a one-off drama inspired by the true story of Dr Anne Turner, who in 2006 took her own life in a Zurich clinic having developed an incurable degenerative disease. Having recently witnessed the death of her husband from a neurological disease, Anne Turner is diagnosed with a near-identical illness and determines to end her life once her condition has reached a critical point. As her health deteriorates, Anne's son and two daughters struggle to reach a consensus over their mother's intentions and while they search for alternative options, silent recriminations and stubborn practicality threaten to tear the family apart. With her family at logger heads, Anne must also face the fury of her best friend, whose opposing views bring them into direct conflict.
Director(s): Simon Curtis
  1 win & 10 nominations.
90 min


What are you doing?!


You're treble-checking

what I've double-checked.

I'm confiscating this list,

One thing left to be done

is for you to get yourself ready.

Clare and Richard are late with

the flowers. Get ready, please.

'Young fellow, what are you doing? '

We're not going to let her bully us,

are we, Flora?

Cats! Well, at least

they don't get married

and make their mothers

wear ridiculous hats.

What are you doing in

your dressing gown?!

It all looks wonderful.

I think I will decide on that.

No-one will notice weeds, they're

going to be too busy looking at me!

Now go and get ready. I can't!

I can't find my glasses!

Try looking in your handbag.

Is Jack ready?

Is your father ready?!

Tea, do you want any?

Coming! Yeah, coming.

You'll outshine that sister of yours.

Your father will be great.

Yeah, he will be.

He's waited for this day.

We've talked about

this day for so long.

And now, the final touch.

I'm not cut out for this

mother-of-the-bride business.

I look like that madwoman

patient of yours that pestered you.

Wore those gigantic hats.

I saw her once hatless,

she had hair like the Eiffel Tower.

Oh, Jack,

really, please!

Keep control! Oh!

I'm sorry, darling.

We'll get through today,

and Sophie will make us proud.

She always has.

Clare and Richard are here at last.

And they're bickering as usual.

Have it your way. I'll carry these

but I left them especially for you.

Where are you going to put those?

I know where I'd like to put them.

I think they'll fit better up yours.

Where is everyone?

Where's Mrs Savery?

She's within hearing distance.

I'll help this poor man

unload some of his burden.

I wonder if they need help with Jack.

They can manage.

Are the cars ready?


Don't you make a lovely couple?

Have you got your speech?

You've asked me twice.

Yes, I've got my speech.

I don't know which is beginning

to wilt, mother or the hat.

Daddy, yours is slipping.

"I Don't Feel Like Dancing"

by Scissor Sisters

# So I play along when I hear

that favourite song

# I'm gonna be the one

who gets it right.

# But I don't feel like dancin'... #

We've had the church wedding

and the ground hasn't

opened up and swallowed us.

I'm working on it.

Ah, excuse me,

I have this dance with Edward.

Might convert him.

She'll never change, will she?

Not a chance.

Have you spoken to Jack?

How do you think he looks?

You're as good a doctor as I am,

Anne. What do you think?

He's completely immobile, he doesn't

sleep, he's suffering terribly,

he can barely...

The doctor in me tells me...

That it's a dreadful way to die.


Can I say something awful?

We both know you have to be

damned unlucky to go like this

and we are doctors,

so if it scares us,

how can I blame people for

not going anywhere near him?

Not even you.

My wonderful husband

reduced to this.

Richard, go and talk to him, please.

Hello, old friend.

Actually, Anne...

Excuse me.

She's coming.

Darling, I'll be back in a moment.

# But I don't feel like dancin'

No sir, no dancin' today

# Don't feel like dancin', dancin'

Even if I find nothin' better to do

# Don't feel like dancin'... #

Smile, everyone! Hurry up, Sophie!

Well done. Come on! Mind the tree!

Over here! Mind, Flora!

Jack, mind the cat!

That damn cat has a mind of its own.

Of course she has, she's my cat!

Let me take that.


Anne, where are you?


Daddy's looking for you.

Edward's going to do his speech.

He's been working on it for ages.

Oh, dear. Is it very long?

I thought it was perfect

but Sophie cut it.

Good for Sophie.

Before I make a toast

to the bride and groom,

I ask you to raise your glasses

to the man who should be delivering

this speech... Our wonderful father.

He's been a tower of strength to

Sophie, to Jessica, to myself and

to our mother, all through our

lives, and he continues to be so.

He makes you all welcome

to our house on this great day

and so I ask you to salute

our parents...

To Dr Jack Turner

and Dr Anne Turner.

Jack and Anne.

Guess who's last to leave.

Clare and Richard

are having a nightcap.

Why don't you go and see them off?

I can manage here.

Oh, thank you, darling.

My wife has just made the profound

observation that nature knows best.

I'm pointing out she is,

as usual, talking rot.

And you'll take his side,

You'll stick together.

You doctors always do.

Well, I know we're not allowed

to help people die peacefully

but we can watch

them die of starvation!

Hypocrisy annoys me, Clare.

It's been a long day.

We'd best be going.

No, no, no. Drink

the champagne, finish it. Enjoy it.

Enjoy everything while you can.

We had such plans, Jack

and myself, when he retired.

A new life... Oh, Clare,

take that expression off your face!

You're looking sympathetic,

it doesn't suit you.

You look like a nun with halitosis.

Well, thank you very much!

If you're not careful,

I'll come and breathe all over you!

Oh, get me a last glass

of something - anything!

That'll do. Get that down you.

Cheers. Cheers.


Did you put poison in this glass?!

No, I merely looked at it.

I want to see you drink it.

Come to an end.

Life as we have known it.

I wanted to be

happy in our retirement.

I am angry he got ill,

we had better things to do than die!

Damn it! Damn it!

We'd better go.

Right, has everyone

done four handfuls?

Sophie, you have, Jessica

has, I have... I've done three.

Well, do a fourth.

Think I've found something.

Look at this.

Must be a screw from the coffin.

If anybody says a word about

your father having a screw loose...

Mrs Turner, would you be angry

if I gave these a rub with a brush?

Why would I be angry?

Well, people are strange

when it comes to dying.

It's hard to let go of who we love

and all they had about them.

Do you believe in ghosts?

It's not the dead put the

wind up me, it's the living.

No, no superstitions,

I don't entertain them.

I'm glad you're bearing up.

Doctor Turner is a very big loss.

You know what has to be done and you

do it, and more power to you, I say.

Oh, Jesus,

I poison you with compliments!

Come on, back to work, both of us!





Could you get me a couple of

plasters or something? Look at this.

Tripped for no good reason.

There you are.

What would I do without you?


See you later. Surgery?

So you have a fair idea

of the tests we'll need?

Yes, and I'll do them all.

Well, I'll arrange... I have no

doubts about it. It's what I want.

Having a child...

Have you got children?


My mother's very ill.

A stroke. A whole series

of small ones then a whammer.

She whispered something

to me after the first.

She said, "Love your children. "

Your mother sounds very wise.



Thank you for all this.

How could I manage?

I love it, you know I do.

Makes a pleasant change

from the office in London...

What's the matter?

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Frank McGuinness

Professor Frank McGuinness (born 1953) is an Irish writer. As well as his own plays, which include The Factory Girls, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me and Dolly West's Kitchen, he is recognised for a "strong record of adapting literary classics, having translated the plays of Racine, Sophocles, Ibsen, Garcia Lorca, and Strindberg to critical acclaim". He has also published four collections of poetry, and two novels. McGuinness has been Professor of Creative Writing at University College Dublin (UCD) since 2007. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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