Esther Rantzen's daughter makes emotional plea about assisted dying

Broadcaster Rantzen is battling lung cancer

Esther Rantzen leaving after the Service of Thanksgiving for Forces' sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn at Westminster Abbey, London. The singer and entertainer lifted people's spirits during the Second World War with songs including We'll Meet Again and The White Cliffs Of Dover. She died in June 2020, aged 103. Picture date: Monday March 21, 2022. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)
Esther Rantzen has been diagnosed with lung cancer. (PA Images via Getty Images)

What did you miss?

Dame Esther Rantzen’s daughter has made an emotional plea about changing the laws around assisted dying, saying: “I need it to happen now.”

Broadcaster Rantzen, 83, has been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and revealed last year that she had joined the Dignitas assisted dying clinic in Switzerland.

Euthanasia is illegal in the UK, but this week Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said in a phone call to the campaigner that he was in favour of changing the law around assisted dying. He has said that parliament would vote on it if Labour wins the next general election.

What, how, and why?

Rantzen’s daughter Rebecca Wilcox addressed his comments during an appearance on ITV’s Lorraine, saying: “I am very grateful to Sir Keir for making that commitment, I just need it to happen now.”

Esther Rantzen's daughter Rebecca appeared on Lorraine. (ITV screengrab)
Esther Rantzen's daughter Rebecca appeared on Lorraine. (ITV screengrab)

She went on: “Mum is extraordinary… I can’t imagine being 84 and doing this campaign let alone having stage four lung cancer and everything that goes with that, the stress and the symptoms.”

Presenter Lorraine Kelly suggested that Rantzen was trying to spare her children, including Wilcox, after their father Desmond Wilcox died of heart disease in 2000.

“Absolutely,” Wilcox said. “She knows so clearly that our wonderful father, who was insanely brilliant as a dad and broadcaster himself, and all our memories of him were completely replaced by those final hours.

"I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw him but I could describe to you his death moment by moment, but I can't remember the last time we had a hug, the last time we had a conversation.”

What else did Rebecca Wilcox say?

Esther Rantzen and her daughter Rebecca Wilcox now host a weekly radio show together. (John Phillips/Getty Images)
Esther Rantzen and her daughter Rebecca Wilcox. (John Phillips/Getty Images)

Wilcox also talked about the idea of having a "good death".

“Mum and I are great fans of the wonderful Dame Joan Collins," she said. "So both of us have pictured our own versions of good death, as the social care and reform report called it, and it would be a wonderful bubble bath wearing every single diamond that anyone will lend us.

"Possibly quaffing champagne and then taking a cocktail of whatever drugs it is to gently gently slip off with all our loved ones around us. And I mean it sounds like a fairytale, and at the moment it is a fairytale.”

Read more: Esther Rantzen

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