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Sir Terry Pratchett has said witnessing a man being helped to die for a controversial BBC film has not affected his support for assisted suicide.

In Choosing to Die, the 63-year-old author - who has Alzheimer’s disease - went to Switzerland to see a British man with motor neurone disease dying.

Liz Carr, a disability campaigner, said it was pro-suicide propaganda and that she was surprised the BBC had made it.

The BBC said Monday’s film would help viewers make up “their own minds”.

The programme, showed Peter Smedley, a 71-year-old hotelier, travelling from his home in Guernsey to Switzerland and taking a lethal dose of barbiturates given to him by the Dignitas organisation.

Sir Terry, who made the film to establish whether he would be able to die at a time and in a way he wanted, said seeing what Dignitas did had not changed his mind.

“I believe it should be possible for someone stricken with a serious and ultimately fatal illness to choose to die peacefully with medical help, rather than suffer,” he told BBC’s Newsnight.

Asked about the sanctity of life, Sir Terry responded: “What about the dignity of life?” Lack of dignity would be enough for some people to kill themselves, he said.

He added that he believed the right to an assisted suicide should extend to anyone over the age of consent.

He also accused the government of “turning its back” on the issue of assisted suicide.

“I was ashamed that British people had to drag themselves to Switzerland at some considerable cost,” he said.

The BBC denied the screening could lead to copycat suicides and said it would enable viewers to make up their own minds on the subject.

The documentary maker Charlie Russell said the decision to film Mr Smedley dying had been given a lot of thought.

“As a film maker I felt it was the truth and unfortunately we do all die,” he said. “It’s not very nice but that’s what happens to us all.”