Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Kate Phillips, the Director of Unscripted Content, revealed the approval of a new documentary titled “Better Off Dead?” (working title). This documentary has been authored and presented by Liz Carr, an advocate for disability rights, and is slated for broadcast on BBC One and iPlayer.
The topic under scrutiny is the act of a medical professional aiding an individual in terminating their life, commonly referred to as assisted dying, assisted suicide, or euthanasia. This practice has been a subject of ongoing discussions.
According to a recent survey, 73% of Britons are in favour of physician-assisted suicide for individuals with terminal illnesses. However, Liz Carr and numerous other individuals with disabilities harbour concerns that legalising such practices could jeopardise their lives.
Liz, who has tirelessly campaigned against altering existing legislation, points out that the opinions of disabled individuals are seldom taken into account regarding this matter.
Liz says: “Too many disabled people will have had the experience of someone, often a complete stranger, telling them, ‘if I was like you, I’d rather be dead’. Putting such low value on our lives has been reported in medical settings when disabled and older people have ‘do not resuscitate’ orders placed on their medical notes without their consent. This documentary is about challenging the assumptions behind these actions and shining a light on the many grey areas in this often one-sided debate.”
This year, a House of Commons Select Committee has for the first time launched an enquiry into the legalisation of assisted suicide, with its findings set to influence future government policy.
Concerned that any change in the law sends the message that the lives of disabled and marginalised people are less valuable, Liz will take an in-depth look at the issue, speaking to people from all sides of the debate. She will also travel to Canada to explore the repercussions of some of the most permissive euthanasia laws in the world. Here she will be confronted with a law for people who are disabled, and not just the terminally ill.
Liz says: “I’m pro-choice, an atheist, a rights campaigner and assisted suicide scares me. I want everyone to have a good death and through this documentary, i hope to show why I’m unconvinced that any type of ‘assisted dying’ is the answer to this.”
Kate Phillips, Director of Unscripted, says: “Factual at the BBC is in great shape, with recent series such as Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland and Parole as well as singles such as Rose Ayling Ellis’s film on the deaf community or Matt Willis on addiction winning widespread acclaim.
“We want to continue bringing audiences impactful new films that inspire debate and bring fresh new perspectives on important issues and I’m really pleased that Liz Carr is presenting this new film, sharing her own unique insight into the difficult debate around assisted suicide.”
Better Off Dead? (working title),a 1×60’ for BBC One and iPlayer, is commissioned by Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual. It is Produced and Directed by James Routh and Georgie Nicholson. It is Executive Produced by Nina Davies and Clive Tulloh, the Consultant Producer is Liz Carr and the Commissioning Editor is Tom Coveney. It is a Burning Bright Production.