I carry a Do Not Resuscitate card, reveals veteran broadcaster Joan Bakewell as she calls for a debate on euthanasia
Veteran broadcaster says 'people would be pleased to have the choice'She has given instructions to her family to ‘pull the plug’ in case of calamityBakewell said that 'too many older people were ‘living in misery’

Eleanor Harding


17:47 GMT, 7 April 2013



18:19 GMT, 7 April 2013

Joan Bakewell has called for a ‘proper debate’ on euthanasia, revealing she carries a Do Not Resuscitate card.

The 79-year-old TV presenter said ministers needed to listen to ‘what people want’.

She suggested doctors should stop keeping terminally ill people ‘full of tubes’ alive if that is not what the patient wants.


Controversial comments: Joan Bakewell has waded in on the euthanasia debate

Veteran broadcaster Baroness Joan Bakewell

Outspoken views: Veteran broadcaster Baroness Joan Bakewell has many forthright opinions on growing old, feminism and party politics

The controversial comments come after Baroness Bakewell broke her foot in a fall and was forced to spend some time in a wheelchair.

She said: ‘We have to address this whole business of dying. We need to hear the whole debate about what people want, so that people aren’t simply filled full of tubes to keep their body going, if they don’t want to be.

'I want to see it properly debated. I think the public want change. I think people would be pleased to have the choice, to decide over their own lives.’

Baroness Bakewell, who spent 18 months as the previous government’s Voice of Older People, also said too many older people were ‘living in misery’.

During her campaign to improve social care to help the 1.7million elderly people living in poverty, she angered some Christian groups by voicing her support for assisted dying.

In an interview, she said her DNR card instructs paramedics not to keep her artificially alive should she be involved in an accident or fall seriously ill.

She revealed she also has a living will, in the possession of her solicitor and her family, giving clear instructions to ‘pull the plug’ in case of a calamity.

Her comments come just a week after she became embroiled in a row with Great British Bake Off star Mary Berry over feminism.

Dismissing feminism as a ‘dirty word’, Miss Berry had insisted she did not want women’s rights and said she loves it when men offer to carry her coat. Baroness Bakewell hit back by labelling Miss

Berry’s world view as ‘stable and unchanging’ in comparison to her own ‘whizzy’ life.

On Saturday, the Labour peeress claimed she had not meant to attack Miss Berry after all – and had left a message for her to explain.

Joan Bakewell has said that she does not want to be remembered as 'the thinking man's crumpet'

'Whizzy': Joan Bakewell, pictured in the sixties, said that she has lived a 'rackety' and exciting life over the years

Baroness Bakewell also talked of her next project, co-presenting a talent contest looking for the country’s best portrait painter, with Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel as the sitter.

She said she disagreed with the reaction to Mantel’s article on the Duchess of Cambridge – claiming it had actually been ‘sympathetic to royal women’ – but she added that she would like to hear more of Kate Middleton’s opinions.

She told The Times: ‘I do think it would be quite interesting to know what she thinks about things. I would want that for her, to be able to express herself.’