Terry Pratchett assisted suicide documentary wins International Emmy

By Jared Yee 

Terry Pratchett

The controversial assisted suicide TV documentary “Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die”, presented by UK novelist and Alzheimer’s sufferer named in the title, has been awarded an International Emmy. The program captured the assisted death of Peter Smedley, 71, who suffered from motor neurone disease, at Swiss suicide clinic Dignitas. Pratchett flew to the clinic to see the assisted suicide methods first-hand. Pratchett has publicly voiced his support for legalising assisted suicide he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in late 2007.

The program also won a Grierson British Documentary Award for Best Documentary on a contemporary theme. Critics described the series as “one-sided” and “propaganda” for euthanasia, and the BBC received over 1200 formal complaints questioning whether the show should have been aired. Pratchett told the BBC in 2011: “You can tell in the film that I’m moved. The incongruity of the situation overtakes you. A man has died, that’s a bad thing. But he wanted to die, that’s a good thing.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/10323