Unless, that is, you happen to be one of Ray Gosling’s unidentified lovers who happens to be seriously ill. Then you are very likely to find not only that you are an island, but a very small island; in fact a mere clod, about to be washed away by the sea – or, since it is more practical, smothered, while an obliging and obsequious doctor – would you Adam and Eve it – steps outside for a gasper.
Dr No is getting mightily fed up with the ludicrous death-fest that is currently being hosted by the BBC. Only a fortnight ago, we had auxiliary nurse Gilderdale withered by the Vine, hotly followed on the same night by an over-dressed dement ‘shaking hands with death’ in – of all places – the Royal College of Physicians of London. Now we have Ray ‘No Regrets’ Gosling doing a full on-camera confession number, followed in due course by spurious allegations that ‘everyone’ was at it. Oh really?
Don’t get Dr No wrong – he is quite sure that there is an important, even vital one might say, debate to be had about end of life decisions. In fact, he has even made his own modest contributions to the debate. What Dr No objects to is the strikingly one sided high profile celebrity infested nature of the BBC’s programming. Where, he asks, is the Panorama Programme ‘I helped my child live with love in my heart’? Where is the Reith Lecture ‘Shaking Hands with Life’?
No doubt in the cosy corridors of BBC power, where the muzak of political correctness pervades every thought, it seems cool, even hip, to be on the side of autonomy, on the side that says ‘my life, my death, my choice’. But real life isn’t like that – it’s just a little bit more complicated. There are other people involved:
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
John Donne knew it in 1624. It is a pity the BBC have forgotten it in 2010.