Charity pays tribute to late Patron Sir Terry Pratchett ahead of documentary of his life

07 February 2017

Alzheimer’s Research UK has paid tribute to its late Patron Sir Terry Pratchett, as a new documentary based on his unfinished autobiography prepares to air.

Back in Black is billed as a poignant and humorous look at the popular author and dementia research advocate’s life. Starring Paul Kaye as Sir Terry, the film is told in his own words with assistance from Neil Gaiman, Val McDermid and his long-serving assistant and close friend, Rob Wilkins.

As well as his journey to success, the documentary will chart his long battle with Posterior Cortical Atrophy, a variant of Alzheimer’s disease. Sir Terry died in March 2015 at the age of 66, having been diagnosed in 2007.

Sir Terry was the creator of the hugely popular Discworld series of fantasy novels, selling over 85 million copies worldwide. He became Patron of Alzheimer’s Research UK (then Alzheimer’s Research Trust) in 2008.

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Sir Terry enriched the lives of many, through both his profound effect on literature and those living with dementia. In 2008, he took to the stage at our annual conference to speak publicly about his dementia diagnosis for the first time. Brimming with his trademark wit, but with an honesty and openness about his diagnosis rarely heard before him, this 15-minute speech proved to be a watershed moment for the 850,000 people like him living with the condition in the UK.

“From that moment Sir Terry, as a Patron of Alzheimer’s Research UK, waged war on dementia, helping to engender huge public awareness of a condition often swept under the carpet. This personal crusade was backed by a $1 million donation to research from his own pocket. Sir Terry’s powerful calls on government to increase research funding, coupled with an openness about his condition that led to influential documentaries and public appearances, helped change the conversation around dementia.

“Sir Terry was and remains an enormous motivation to people with dementia, our supporters, staff and the thousands of scientists who are battling this condition.”

Back in Black will air on BBC Two from 9pm on Saturday 11 February.