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Better Off Dead? | Preview (BBC One)

A documentary on assisted suicide, authored by actor and disability rights activist Liz Carr.

We may be used to seeing Liz in dramas such as Silent Witness, Good Omens or The Witcher, but now she’s stepping away from the spotlight to pursue her greatest passion – debating why she believes we shouldn’t legalise assisted suicide. As a long-term campaigner against that change, Liz fears disabled lives will be put at risk if the law is altered.

Travelling to Canada, Liz explores the repercussions of some of the most permissive assisted suicide laws in the world. Here Liz is confronted with a law that can end the lives of not just the terminally ill but people who are disabled and those who are offered a medically assisted death as a ‘way out’ of social deprivation.

Back in the UK, Liz meets influential voices calling for a change in the law, such as Labour peer Lord Falconer and Sunday Times columnist Melanie Reid. She also meets fellow campaigners fighting to retain the status quo, including disabled peer Baroness Jane Campbell, who had a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ order placed on her for a routine illness without consent.

In a society where disabled people are often told they are ‘better off dead’ than disabled, Liz asks: ‘Should we really be giving more power to end that group of people’s lives?’

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."

Better Off Dead? airs Tuesday 14th May at 9pm on BBC One.


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