How to Die – OU/BBC documentary

How to Die: Simon’s Choice  broadcast on Wednesday 10th February 2016, on BBC2 at 9pm.  This film tells the dramatic and poignant story of one man facing a heart wrenching decision of whether to end his life at a suicide clinic.

Simon is a successful business man with a loving family and large circle of friends whose world falls apart when he is diagnosed with an aggressive form of motor neurone disease and given two years to live. Within weeks of the diagnosis the disease causes Simon to lose the use of his voice. Faced with the prospect of a rapid physical decline, Simon tells his family that he is considering ending his life at a Swiss suicide clinic.

This intimate and deeply moving film follows Simon and his family and friends as they grapple with the huge moral, emotional and legal dilemmas around Simon’s choice. Their conflicting perspectives unearth difficult questions for Simon which mean that his heart-wrenching decision is hanging in the balance until the very end.

Shot against the back-drop of the recent parliamentary debate on the assisted dying bill, Simon’s remarkable story explores the complex human questions at the heart of this deeply divisive issue.


OpenLearn has a wealth of information and resources on the topics featured in the series, including a discussion hub where you can have your say about the issues around assisted suicide.  For all this and more, please visit our website at

This documentary was commissioned for the University by the Open Media Unit , and is supported by the Faculty of Arts (alongside the faculty of Health and Social Care).

  • Commissioned by Dr Caroline Ogilvie
  • Nominated Academic, Arts, Prof. Derek Matravers
  • Nominated Academic, HSC Dr Samantha Murphy
  • Media Fellow, Arts, Chris Williams
  • Media Fellow, HSC, Janet Bardlsey
  • Broadcast Project Manager, Caroline Green
  • OpenLearn Online Project Producer, Freyja Taylor-Law

About ouartsfaculty

The Arts Faculty of The Open University is a world leader in supported Open Learning, and one of the best institutions in the world for arts and humanities. You can follow us on Twitter @OUArtsFaculty and on Facebook.
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