I've just watched A SHORT STAY IN SWITZERLAND, which detailed the illness and assisted suicide of Anne Turner. She was played, very movingly, by the wonderful Julie Walters. A drama like this is incredibly difficult to make. The issue is so sensitive, with dogmatic views held by both sides of the debate, that the programme is bound to generate a lot of heated argument. Was it right of the BBC to commission the programme? Did it explore the issue properly and without bias? Was it over emotional, tugging too much on the heartstrings? You will all have your own views.
The BBC has come under fire for attempting to influence a debate which takes place tomorrow in the House of Commons on assisted suicide. I see absolutely nothing wrong in screening this programme the day before the debate. I suspect it is coincidence anyway, as programmes like this are usually scheduled far in advance of parliamentary timetables.
I don't think anyone has a right to judge either Anne Turner or her family. I'd like to think I would know the right thing to do in similar circumstances. I think that's all I will say about this. Writing on this subject while feeling emotionally exhausted by watching Julie Walters' performance is perhaps not the best time to be reflective.