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BBC Documentaries: Season 2009

2009x31 Richard Wilson - Two Feet in the Grave

  • 2009-09-29T20:00:00Z on BBC
  • 60 mins
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • Documentary, Special Interest

At 72, actor Richard Wilson - who famously died himself as Victor Meldrew - wonders why, when it's life's one certainty, people have such difficulty discussing death.

In that Palinesque style that he's developed, Richard travels around the country meeting people and finding out how death is dealt with in the 21st century - how people face it, what happens when we die, and the different ways people cope with death and grief. New rituals like roadside memorials and ghostbikes are regular sights on the roads, but old traditions of cremation and burial still dominate.

Richard meets members of the plethora of people whose jobs bring them into daily contact with the dead. He follows the elaborate processes dead bodies must go through as they are passed from pathologist to embalmer, funeral director to crematorium, and finds out why individuals should make choices about death while they can.

In all it's a gentle and touching film that handles its subject matter with care and grace. It maybe about something that we're all going to have to face whilst rather preferring not to, but mostly, it's about living.