Patrick Malahide has a small part in the BBC’s “A Short Stay in Switzerland” (2009), a made-for-television movie based on the true story of Dr. Anne Turner’s quest to end her own life after discovering she has a progressive, terminal illness. He plays Richard, a doctor and long-time family friend, and has a strong and sympathetic presence in his scenes.
This is not an easy movie to watch by any means, but it tackles its subject matter head-on, and Julie Walters as Anne Turner gives us a heart-wrenching look into the process of dealing with debilitating illness and the end of life. She also gives us a glimpse of the desperation these patients face when dealing with the laws of their own countries, driving them to seek solutions overseas in Switzerland. If Richard is a sympathetic force, his wife Clare (Harriet Walter) is more antagonistic; she strongly questions Anne’s reasons and is directly opposed to her decision.
Aside from the serious subject matter, Malahide and Harriet Walter do have a lovely chemistry in their scenes together, brief as they are, and provide a few moments of humour. It’s very easy to see them as a real married couple. Malahide is also very good in the scenes where Richard first tells Anne of her diagnosis and counsels her children, very effectively played by Stephen Campbell Moore, Lyndsey Marshal, and Liz White.
You can watch “A Short Stay in Switzerland” in its entirety on Youtube, or scroll down for a gallery: