Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die

Synopsis: Terry Pratchett looks at the highly controversial issue of assisted suicide.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Charlie Russell
  3 wins & 2 nominations.
59 min

This programme contains scenes which

some viewers may find upsetting.

Oh, good. All the best here! It's

like being at the Ritz, isn't it?

Right, can I just change

what I say a little bit?


My name is Terry Pratchett, and I

write fantasy novels for a living.

I am 62

and I was diagnosed

with Alzheimer's

three years ago.

Sometimes, particularly

when I'm depressed,

I dread

what the future may hold.

And it occurred to me

that, in these modern times,

one shouldn't have

to fear that sort of thing.

I am talking about assisted dying,

which is currently not legal

in this country.

What you are about to watch...

..may not be easy,

but I believe it's important.

The people I will meet

in this film are all, like me,

considering how they will die.

Is it possible for someone like me,

or like you,

to arrange for themselves

the death that they want?

'Life with Alzheimer's,

at the moment,

'is full of small

but embarrassing inconveniences.

'I will forget your name almost

as soon as you've told it to me,'

because there is something wrong

with my short-term memory,

and I'm not going to make a joke

about that.

'A few years ago,

I stopped being able to type.

'Now I rely on my assistant, Rob,

'who takes dictation from me.'

..reached the undergrowth

at the edge of the dockyard...

Until THEY reached

the undergrowth. OK.

I'm very nearly finishing

the first draft of a book.

I think it's the 38th Discworld

novel. Is it?! Yeah. Bloody hell.

Was it any good? I think...

It's called Snuff. Which is snuff,

you know, the old...

In fact, I think

I've got some over there.

'But I know that the time will

come when words will fail me.

'When I can no longer

write my books,

'I'm not sure that I will want

to go on living.'

..I will stop the fight

when I deem that one man

has definitely had enough.

I want to enjoy life

for as long as I can squeeze

the juice out of it,

and then...I'd like to die.

But I don't quite know how,

and I'm not quite sure when.

There are plenty of people

in this country

who are against assisted dying,

for religious, moral

or even just practical reasons.

They fear

that we may open the floodgates

to widespread and uncontrollable

killing of the vulnerable.

'How do you guarantee

sincere consent?'

And what happens

to those who are left behind?

It's a delicate subject,

but my Alzheimer's means

that I'd like,

at least, to explore the options.

'I want to find out what it would

be like to be helped to die.'

'At 1-8 mile,

you have reached your destination.'

I began by going to meet a man

who has motor neurone disease,

a terminal illness.

'Turn right.'

He had been in contact

with Dignitas,

an organisation in Switzerland

which, for a fee,

will help you to die.

Hello! Hello. Good morning!

Terry Pratchett. Christine Smedley.

Come in. Thank you.

This is my husband, Peter Smedley.

Ah, Mr Pratchett. How do you do?

I'm delighted to meet you.

Excuse me not...standing up.

No, will you excuse me if I sit

down? I'd be delighted.

Would you like a cup of tea?

A cup of tea would be very nice.

I have motor neurone disease

and I thought I would barely make

my birthday in January this year,

but... Right.

The course of the disease

is most unattractive.

And the fact

that there was no...

there was no treatment

for it. Right.

My condition has deteriorated

to a point

where I feel

I need to go fairly shortly. Mm-hm.

So you almost immediately

contacted Dignitas? Yes.

This is not an affliction that one

wants to see through to the end.

No, indeed.

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this is the first script i writed. Sorry if my english is bad more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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