Stacey Dooley goes inside the undertakers to face her fears head on
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Stacey Dooley has always seemed fearless.
She was still in her very early twenties when she signed up for the BBC Three documentary series Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts, which followed six young Brits as they learned about the conditions in Indian clothing factories.
Not only did taking part in the programme give Stacey an increased interest in international labour laws and the rights of women and children, but it also convinced the Beeb that she had star potential.
Before long, Stacey was fronting her own investigative documentaries, exploring such sensitive subjects as sex trafficking, political extremism and child soldiers.
Then it 2018, she reached a whole new audience when she won Strictly Come Dancing – admittedly, it was safer than travelling to a war zone, but plenty of people would be terrified at the thought of trying to cha cha on national television.
However, there is one thing that continues to terrify Stacey, and that’s the idea of death. It’s an issue she tried to address in her documentary Inside the Convent, which saw her spending time with a group of nuns. She spoke to them about mortality, but it seems that didn’t put her mind entirely at rest.
Since taking part in that series, Stacey has some more life-changing experiences, including becoming a mother, which she admits have left her even more worried about the future and death.
So, now she’s attempting to face those fears head on in Stacey Dooley: Inside the Undertakers as she goes behind the scenes at of the UK’s busiest family-run funeral businesses.
Of course, Stacey is hardly unique in being uncomfortable with the subject of death. As she says: “Death is a topic that’s openly discussed in many other cultures, even celebrated in some instances, yet I am so awkwardly British about the whole thing!
“It is, of course, inevitable, and that’s why I wanted to really explore exactly what happens when we do die. This access allows us to ponder the bigger questions surrounding life, as well as witness the practical logistics of a funeral. I’d like to thank every family member that has allowed us to document their story. I’m so grateful.”
So, she’s hoping the documentary will get other people talking too and help to demystify some aspects of the process.
Cameras follow the presenter as she joins the team at Nottinghamshire-based firm, A.W. Lymn the Family Funeral Service, which has been run by the same family for five generations.
She’ll pitch in to help with the day-to-day job of undertaking, from arranging funerals and carving headstones to making coffins and even embalming.
The presenter will also follow the stories of some of the people who are saying goodbye to their loved ones, or even planning their own send-offs, and discover how, in an increasingly secular society, faith and spirituality still have a role to play in the ceremonies.
By doing so, she hopes to gain an insight into how we deal with the ultimate rite of passage.