Julie Walters tackles suicide role

Julie Walters is to take on the factually-inspired story of a woman who plans an assisted suicide.

The Mamma Mia! actress will star in A Short Stay In Switzerland for BBC1, a drama inspired by the true story of Dr Anne Turner.

The drama sees Dr Turner (Walters) diagnosed with a near identical illness to that of her husband Jack, who died from an incurable neurological disease.

With determined rationality, her answer is that once her illness has reached a critical point, she’ll take her own life.

She needs her children’s support, but the more her son and two daughters struggle to gain consensus over their mother’s desire to die, the further they pull apart. The magnitude of the situation threatens to tear the family to pieces.

Award-winning writer Frank McGuinness said: “As a doctor, Anne Turner lived and worked by her principles, and she chose to die by them. This film recognises that rare courage.”

Dr Turner, a retired physician from Bath, died at Dignitas in Switzerland in January 2006, the day before her 67th birthday.

Filming in London from next month for transmission in winter 2009, A Short Stay In Switzerland is a BBC Drama Production.

McGuinness’s credits include Observe The Sons Of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, which won a host of awards including London Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright; Henhouse; Carthaginians; A Doll’s House and a film adaptation of Dancing At Lughnasa – which featured Julie’s Mamma Mia! co-star Meryl Streep.