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Emmerdale’s Jackson Walsh In Assisted Suicide Shocker

February 22, 2011

A PARALYSED character in Emmerdale is to die in a controversial assisted suicide storyline, The Sun can reveal.

Jackson Walsh’s mother and his lover crush a lethal dose of tablets in a drink.

The ITV1 soap, watched by eight million viewers, was slammed last night by campaign groups who fear the producers are using the plot just to “chase ratings”.

Jackson, played by Mark Silcock, 22, was injured in a road smash last year.

He will ask boyfriend Aaron Livesy (Danny Miller) and mum Hazel (Pauline Quirke) to help end his life.

An Emmerdale insider last night said: “Jackson will start discussing plans to end his life in the next few weeks.

“His resolve to see it through will strengthen, which will lead to many rows and emotional scenes.

“Throughout the plot, there will be a phone number on screen for a helpline for anyone affected.”

Industry watchdog Mediawatch-UK slammed the storyline. Spokesman David Turtle said: “Emmerdale has been trying to push the boundaries for some time just to boost ratings. It’s a soap, not a serious discussion about a serious topic.”

Alistair Thompson, of the Care Not Killing Alliance, said: “I hope this is done for the right reason and not to chase ratings.”

In 2000 EastEnders character Ethel Skinner took morphine pills, aided by friend Dot Cotton.

Assisting a suicide can lead to 14 years’ jail.

An Emmerdale spokeswoman said last night: “We do not confirm or deny speculation about future storylines.”

Scope have Tweeted asking what people think of this storyline idea. Personally, I don’t agree with assisted suicide because, as a disabled person who cares deeply for my family and friends, I could not make anyone I love live with the knowledge that they had killed me, whether or not this would lead to them going to jail. Apart from that, every life is equally valuable. Many disabilities already shorten lives far too much, and I don’t see why anyone should be given the right to make those lives any shorter than they have to be. I believe in disabled people’s right to live as well as is physically possible, with as much support as we need to do this.

I don’t watch Emmerdale, but I know it is very popular in the UK. Personally, I feel quite sad to think that a programme with an audience the size of Emmerdale’s would consider covering such an issue. I really hope that if and when this storyline hits the screen, it is properly and thoroughly researched, and not covered in a way that leads to anyone, disabled or not, being given the idea that assisted suicide is somehow suitable for every disabled person.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 22, 2011 10:12 pm

    I’ve not watched Emmerdale in years (not since the 1990s except brief bits here and there), but it seems like a rather crass way of replicating the Daniel James story from 2008 (although his injury was in a rugby scrum, not a car crash as here). As with Daniel James, the suicide comes about 18 months to two years after the injury, which is when recovery from these kinds of injuries stops, and when people have to come to terms with the fact that, if they are still paralysed, they will be for good (unless some big medical advance happens of course). Someone mentioned in the comments to that Sun article that it’s another example of all the gay storylines in soaps ending in tragedy, but he’s also the most severely disabled character that appears in any British soap (there have been other wheelchair users, but no quadriplegics as far as I can remember), and none of them have killed themselves except this one.

    I also think it’s wrong to make it look like it’s “the merciful thing to do” to help someone in that situation to kill themselves if that’s what they want, particularly at a vulnerable time like that. If they say no to him then, he may decide in a few months that his life is worth living after all.

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