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Viewers moved after watching ‘disturbing’ documentary about being 'better off dead'

Viewers moved after watching ‘disturbing’ documentary about being 'better off dead'

The programme has generated a lot of reaction online

Warning: This article contains discussion of assisted dying that some readers may find distressing

A BBC 'disturbing' documentary about assisted dying in Canada is being 'thoroughly recommended' by viewers.

The documentary aired on 14 May and is hosted by author, actor and disability activist Liz Carr, who has a condition called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, which results in multiple joint contractures or stiffness, since she was a child.

The show takes a closer look at the 'contentious debate' surrounding assisted dying.

Liz Carr's documentary looks at assisted dying (BBC)
Liz Carr's documentary looks at assisted dying (BBC)

Currently in the UK, assisted dying or encouraging someone to take their life is a criminal offence and carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

However, a bill named MacArthur's bill is being proposed which will offer terminally ill adults assistance to end their lives, which could be voted on by MSPs in it's earliest stage later this year, The Guardian reports.

According to the publication, polls have shown that 75 percent of Brits would support this change in the law.

Public figures, such as Dame Esther Rantzen, have also spoken out about their choice to die by euthanasia.

And the programme, called Better Off Dead?, follows Carr as she 'challenges assumptions and advocates for nuanced understanding in the contentious debate on assisted dying', The Open University writes.

Carr believes there's a double standard to society's views on suicide and laid these out in the show.

In the programme, she points to a Samaritans help sign on a busy bridge, and ask if you saw someone about to jump off a bridge, you'd probably 'intervene' rather than 'support them in the name of choice'.

"But if it was a disabled person, would your response be the same? Or would you see it as understandable?" she continued to say.

In other portions of the show, Carr's friends who have disabilities recount times that they were told they would have been 'better off dead' - sometimes by complete strangers.

A large chunk of the programme also shows Carr going to Canada to take a closer look at Maid (Medical Assistance In Dying).

The programme was legalised in 2016, and, according to the government, is a ' process that allows someone who is found eligible to be able to receive assistance from a medical practitioner in ending their life', and can only take place 'very specific circumstances and rules'.

However, in 2021, the law was changed to include people with serious, chronic physical conditions that could be non-life threatening, according to the BBC.

While there, the actor talks a doctor who has been involved in more than 400 assisted deaths - as well as speaking to some people who applied for the scheme.

Better Off Dead? has been applauded online for its unflinching approach to a sensitive subject and over on X, viewers shared their reactions.

Better Off Dead? has won praise online for its examination of the assisted dying debate (BBC)
Better Off Dead? has won praise online for its examination of the assisted dying debate (BBC)

One person wrote: "Anyone interested in the medically assisted dying debate should watch 'Better Off Dead' on BBC."

While another also wrote: "I thoroughly recommend the BBC documentary 'Better Off Dead?', fronted by actress Liz Carr, about assisted suicide and disability.

"Compelling, disturbing and at times funny: she is a great advocate for the case against a change in the law."

While someone else called it 'very good', adding that it 'should be watched'.

Better Off Dead? is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: Politics, BBC