BBC2 readies assisted suicide doc “How to Die”

The UK pubcaster has ordered the observational documentary How to Die: Simon's Choice, on the controversial issue of assisted suicide as seen through the story of British businessman Simon Binner (pictured).
January 26, 2016

UK pubcaster BBC2 has ordered Rowan Deacon and Colin Barr‘s observational documentary on the controversial issue of assisted suicide as seen through the story of British businessman Simon Binner (pictured).

Produced by Minnow Films in association with The Open University, the 90-minute How to Die: Simon’s Choice is provided with exclusive access to Eternal Spirit in Basel – Switzerland’s second largest assisted suicide clinic – to chronicle the life and death of Binner.

The intimate doc was filmed against the backdrop of the recent parliamentary debate in the UK on assisted suicide, with arguments voiced on both sides of the discussion.

Binner, whose story was the subject of attention in the UK press following his death last year, was diagnosed with aggressive motor neuron disease in January 2015 and given two years to live. The film documents Binner’s family and friends as they cope with his decision to end his own life while struggling with the moral, emotional and legal problems surrounding his resolution.

Binner passed away last October after announcing the date of his death on professional networking platform LinkedIn.

Deacon serves as producer-director on the film, with Barr acting as exec producer. Clare Sillery, commissioning editor of documentaries, ordered the film for the BBC.

How to Die: Simon’s Choice is expected to first air on BBC2 on February 10.

“This is a hugely important and powerful film about one of the most contentious issues facing families in the UK,” said Patrick Holland, BBC head of documentary commissioning, in a statement. “Simon, his wife, family and friends have allowed us into their lives as they face one of the biggest dilemmas imaginable. Together they confront the terrible choices involved with love and humbling candor.”

“The film sensitively explores the issue of assisted suicide with intimate access to one family facing up to one of the toughest decisions there is to make,” added BBC2 channel editor Adam Barker.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.