BBC's Decision to Broadcast Real Death Stirs Controversy (Fake Killing on TV Continues Apace) BBC's Decision to Broadcast Real Death Stirs Controversy (Fake Killing on TV Continues Apace)
Culture

BBC's Decision to Broadcast Real Death Stirs Controversy (Fake Killing on TV Continues Apace)

by Andrew Price

April 28, 2011

Next month, the new BBC science show Inside the Human Body will broadcast the death of an 84-year-old man named Gerald who succumbed to cancer in January, surrounded by his family. Apparently the episode is expected to stir up some controversy.

Presenter Michael Mosley said that footage of Gerald's death would upset some people, but it was important not to avoid "talking about death and, when it's warranted, showing it." [...] "There are those who feel that showing a human death on television is wrong, whatever the circumstances." [...] "Although I respect this point of view, I think there is a case to be made for filming a peaceful, natural death - a view shared by many who work closely with the dying."

The idea that there's something wrong with showing a single real death, in the context of a science show, when glamorized and sensationalized fictional deaths are ubiquitous in movies and TV, strikes me as crazy. Isn't the public better served by an emotionally rattling episode of Inside the Human Body that presents death as it is than an episode of 24?

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BBC's Decision to Broadcast Real Death Stirs Controversy (Fake Killing on TV Continues Apace)