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My last summer.

Date
2014
  • Videos

About this work

Description

In this thought-provoking and poignant series, narrated by Andrew Lincoln, five terminally ill people are brought together for regular weekends at a Cotswold manor house to talk candidly about their experience of living and dying as they contemplate the last months of their lives. Taboos surrounding death can leave us poorly prepared for the loss of those we love and for our own mortality. Filmed over two years, My Last Summer tackles this difficult issue openly and honestly. Loved ones and families also feature as the series examines the reality of living with terminal illness and the impact on those left behind. 58 year old Jayne from Cardiff was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, and it has returned in her bones. Having lived her life for others, Jayne views dying as an opportunity to make time for herself. Jayne left her husband of 25 years in 2012, six months after her diagnosis. Junior from London, a 48 year old DJ, was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in January 2012 after the cancer had spread to his spine and lungs. 38 year old Lou from Kent has motor neuron disease. She received her terminal diagnosis shortly after the birth of her first grandchild on Christmas Eve 2010. First to arrive at the house is 57 year old Ben from Folkestone, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2011. Ben is single and has chosen to distance himself from those around him as he approaches death. Andy from Oxford, who is 43, was diagnosed with leukaemia in February 2010. Like Ben, illness has left him isolated, although not through choice. Since his diagnosis, Junior has never been separated from his girlfriend Sonja. Although the first residential was intended to be an opportunity for the five to meet alone, Junior arrives with Sonja. The group discuss loss of contact with friends and family as a result of their diagnoses. Jayne recounts her husband’s lack of emotional support preceding her divorce. When Lou was diagnosed, her daughter Ria was in her second year of primary school. Rather than use the term dying, Ria refers to it as ‘chocolating’. Lou is married and has four children – two from previous relationships and two with her husband John, who also has two from a previous relationship. She has been open about her prognosis with all six. Junior also has children – he has fathered 11 to 10 different mothers, but has not had a child with Sonja. The pair have known each other for 10 years, but only got together shortly before Junior’s diagnosis. Sonja is candid about the fact that their relationship would probably not have survived if it weren’t for his illness. Andy expresses his surprise at the group’s darkly humorous approach to their situations. Although now clear of leukaemia, aggressive treatment left him with pseudomonas, an incurable lung disease. Andy is married to Annette and has three teenage boys from a previous relationship and a four year old daughter with Annette. The group engage in a frank discussion about euthanasia with Palliative Care Nurse Nigel Dodds. Jayne is adamant that she no longer wishes to pursue treatment, and views euthanasia as a means of preserving her dignity. Her opinion, while shared by others in the group, is at odds with Nigel’s, who aims to support patients in coming to terms with their illnesses, rather than see euthanasia as their only option. Lou speaks forthrightly about her fears of how her family will cope in her absence. She is keen for John to embark on a new relationship after her death, but regrets not being able to meet the person who will ultimately fill her shoes. The strain Junior’s illness is taking on his relationship becomes apparent when he and Sonja argue bitterly. The following morning, Jayne has a heart to heart with Junior and helps him accept his prognosis.

Publication/Creation

UK : Channel 4, 2014.

Physical description

1 DVD (47 min.) : sound, color, PAL

Notes

Broadcast on 5 June 2014.

Creator/production credits

Produced and directed by Phil Turner and Kevin Jarvis: Love Productions for Channel 4

Copyright note

Love Productions 2014

Type/Technique

Languages

  • English


Where to find it

  • LocationStatusAccess
    Closed stores
    5321D

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