Comedian Ricky Gervais says he “absolutely” supports euthanasia and thinks death will one day be reduced to simply buying a pill on the high street.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Gervais said people should be able to “say when you’ve had enough”.
The star, who found fame through TV sitcom The Office, was speaking about his latest show – Derek – which is set in a care home.
He said that in Britain and the USA, “we don’t really take care of our old people”.
“Personally, I don’t fear dying but I do fear ill health and not having a decent quality of life”, he commented.
However, Christian ethicist Dr Peter Saunders has previously warned: “Any change in the law to allow assisted suicide or euthanasia would place subtle pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives, for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden upon others.”
In his interview Gervais, who is an atheist, said: “I’m pro-choice in everything. I believe you’re the master of your own body and you should be allowed to die with dignity and say when you’ve had enough.
“There should be no argument with that. But by the time I want to go it’ll be easy. I reckon I’ll be able to pop into Boots and say, ‘Give me the pill, I’m going.'”
He explained he is “absolutely all for” euthanasia.
In 2011 Gervais posed for an interview with New Humanist magazine mimicking Jesus on the cross, and with the word “atheist” written across his chest.
There are calls at both Westminster and Holyrood to introduce assisted suicide, but critics warn the vulnerable would suffer.
In England and Wales a Bill from Lord Falconer would allow doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to patients with less than six months to live.
In March Prime Minister David Cameron said he was not supportive of a change in the law. “My worry has always been about whether people will be unfairly pressurised”, he said.
A Bill to bring in assisted suicide in Scotland was introduced at Holyrood in November last year.
However campaign group Care Not Killing said such a law could lead the vulnerable to feel they have a “duty to die”.