Jeremy Paxman 'considered Dignitas' amid 'depressing' Parkinson's disease battle

Jeremy Paxman considered going to Dignitas credit:Bang Showbiz
Jeremy Paxman considered going to Dignitas credit:Bang Showbiz

Jeremy Paxman considered signing up for Dignitas amid his battle with Parkinson's disease.

The 73-year-old former TV presenter announced in May 2021 that he had been diagnosed with the brain disorder - which leads to shaking and stiffness, as well as difficulty with walking, balance and coordination - and he debated going to the assisted-dying clinic in Switzerland as his condition has worsened.

Speaking to Saga Magazine, he said: "Yes, I have [thought about it[.

"But then I saw the Terry Pratchett film ['Choosing To Die'] and I couldn't help noticing how scruffy some of the staff were in dirty T-shirts.

"I'm afraid the lack of personal hygiene rather put me off. I think it's very hard on those left behind, too."

Despite deciding against it himself, the former 'University Challenge' host has supported "anyone who makes this choice" and insisted the laws around assisted dying in the UK need to change.

He added: "I don't judge anyone who makes this choice, and I have a lot of sympathy for it. It is a deeply personal decision, so I do think people have the right to choose for themselves.

"It's appalling that we employ all these numpties to sit in the House of Commons and they won't let us make what ought to be our own decision."

Reflecting on his day to day outlook with the illness, he described the disease as "one of the most depressing things".

He said: "Parkinson’s is, for me, one of the most depressing things you could ever imagine. For many people who are ill there is the prospect of getting better.

"But Parkinson’s is degenerative, and that’s tough… to know that one will carry on being like this for ever is terrible.

"Though I suppose it is a very good opportunity not to do anything you don't want to do - I have escaped many household chores!"