Channel 4 has commissioned a brand new 4x60’ specialist factual series called My Last Summer which will bring together a group of five strangers who are terminally ill and have been told they are dying. The group will meet 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.
Putting the group all together in the same house will provide them with the opportunity to confront their hopes, fears and regrets and share what thoughts they have on their funerals, legacy and afterlife. They will also get the chance to meet one another’s close friends and families to discuss and understand how death affects those that are left behind. With guidance and support from some of the country’s leading charities, the Dying Matters Coalition and Marie Curie, Channel 4 hopes this thought-provoking series will challenge the subject of death in a responsible way and tackle the difficult issue both openly and honestly.
Death affects everyone and often in different ways yet it is not a subject we find easy to talk about. Taboos around death can leave us poorly prepared for the loss of those we love and even for our own mortality. My Last Summer will explore society’s emotional, cultural and spiritual attitudes around dying and how we face and cope with death in 21st century Britain as well as the practicalities of dealing with a death.
Channel 4 has a long tradition of engaging with original and challenging subjects. Previous examples include My Transsexual Summer, The Undateables and Make Bradford British.
Channel 4’s Commissioning Editor Sara Ramsden says: “Death is the one thing we all have in common. Yet this inevitable event is something most of us prefer to push to the margins of our consciousness. I believe our lives could be more fulfilled by bringing the understanding of our own mortality to centre stage. Life is so much more precious when we realise it is finite. I want this series to help people think, just a little more, about the unavoidable reality of their own death.”
Kieran Smith, Executive Producer at Love Productions says: “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 is a 4x60’ specialist factual series and will be made by Love Productions for Channel 4. It is executive produced by Kieran Smith, Richard McKerrow and Debbie Christie.