Update: The Pratchett lecture was very good, delivered (completely from memory, from what I could see) by Tony Robinson on Terry Pratchett's behalf. As part of the debate, it was worth seeing, very thought provoking, and very honest. Panorama was pretty good, it brought in a range of opinions, though the core story was of a mum who helped her daughter to end her own life. Within that context, it's hard not to present those choices sympathetically.
In the middle of the Dimbleby lecture (with both brothers on the front row), between mentions of Martin Amis and Michael Parkinson, I was struck by the presence of the Baby Boomer generation at the forefront of the pro-euthanasia campaign. The line 'my life, my death, my choice' had echoes of the Boomer mantra 'we want to be free, to do what we wanna do' (from Easy Rider I think). In the 60s and 70s they tested the sexual boundaries, in the 80's and 90's the boundaries of consumption and greed, and now that the boomers have finished their world with SAGA, the idea that a life lived totally on my own terms might not end on my own terms jars with everything the Boomers have done and campaigned for. I'd be interested to see the breakdown of the Panorama surveys by age cohort.
Panorama documentary 'I helped my daughter to die' (judging by the title, it will be sympathetic to the assisted dying argument).
Terry Pratchett lecture (same link) arguing for the right to assisted suicide.
December 08-Jan 09
'A Short Stay in Switzerland' dramatisation with Julie Walters of the death of retired doctor Ann Turner, who travelled to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland to end her life.
Panorama 'I'll Die When I Choose'.
both sympathetic, and aired in the run-up to a Parliamentary debate on the issue.
News coverage of the Joffe bill in 2006, with commentary by Care Not Killing, a coalition of groups opposed to euthanasia. The summing up by reporter Fergus Walsh is quite obviously one-sided.
I'm struggling to think of a programme devoted to the issue which presented both sides equally, let alone allowed a supporter of palliative care to set the agenda and tone for the piece. If I'm wrong, then please let me know some examples, and I'll happily blog them.
In the meantime, I don't want my license payers money used so that the BBC can be a mouthpiece for the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. Yes this is a complex issue, there are arguments on both sides, and its emotionally charged, but to me it doesn't look like the BBC are facilitating a debate, more that they are running a campaign. Is that fair?