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Actors use screen deaths to raise awareness

12 May 2014

Three thespians who have famously “died” in their acting roles are using their experiences to raise awareness of the need to talk about death and dying.

A part of this year's Dying Matters Awareness Week, which starts today, the Dying Matters Coalition have released a short film in which three actors – Brian Blessed, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Graham Seed – discuss their screen and radio deaths and reflect on why it is important to plan for the end of life.

Brian Blessed’s most famous on-screen death, in iconic Seventies series ‘I Claudius’, saw him dead in close-up for an unprecedented four-and-a-half minutes. Former Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh wowed critics and the public alike with her sensitive portrayal of the final weeks in the life of her character Hayley Cropper, who had pancreatic cancer. Graham Seed played upper class Nigel Pargetter in The Archers for 27 years before departing Ambridge following a fall from the roof of his stately home.

Dying Matters Awareness Week (12 to 18 May 2014) is a UK-wide week of events and activities based on the theme You Only Die Once (#YODO) – because we only get one chance to have our dying wishes met. Find out more about what's going on throughout the week and how to get involved on the Dying Matters website and on the Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief website.

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