Reality series tackles attitudes to death and dying
Filmed over two years, 'My Last Summer' brings together five strangers, each of whom has received a terminal diagnosis. The group meets regularly at a residential manor house in the Cotswolds to help support one another through the final stages of their life while they contemplate the reality of their own death. The programme aims to explore fundamental questions around death and dying, including: is it possible to have a good death? How does terminal illness affect loved ones? How do you explain terminal illness to a child? How do you prepare for death?
Channel 4 hopes the thought-provoking series will challenge the subject of death in a responsible way and tackle the difficult issue both openly and honestly.
Dying Matters and Marie Curie Cancer Care were consulted by the makers of the programme. Joe Levenson, Director of Communications for the Dying Matters Coalition, commented: “ 'My Last Summer' doesn’t always make for comfortable viewing, but we very much hope that the series will help to break down barriers about talking about dying, death and bereavement.
"Although we weren’t involved in developing the programme’s format, we are pleased we had the opportunity to provide information and advice to the producers prior to filming and to have also had the opportunity to work with Channel 4 to ensure information is available on their website for people who want to talk more openly about dying. Whatever your reaction to the first episode and to the series as a whole, we’d love to hear from you so we can feedback to Channel 4 and to the programme’s producers.”
Kieran Smith, executive producer of the series makers Love Productions, said: “Five brave people who know they are dying allowed us to film with them and explore how they and their families live with the knowledge that they will die soon. I hope their honest testimony will start a conversation amongst us all and ask how do I want my death to be? And how can I influence the effect it will have on me and those close to me?”
- My Last Summer starts Wednesday 4 June at 10pm on Channel 4.
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