Esther Rantzen: Living with Grief


In a year of 100,000 unforeseen deaths, with many thousands of people losing loved ones to the COVID pandemic, Dame Esther Rantzen explores the experience of bereavement and coping with grief.


Esther wants to learn from others who have been through loss and enlists the help of six extraordinary individuals. Each has a very different story to tell, from a woman who lost her husband to COVID-19 and a mother whose child drowned, to a young man who was just eleven when his brother was murdered.


It’s exactly twenty years since Dame Esther lost her husband Desmond Wilcox, but in many important ways she has yet to come to terms with the loss of the man who she shared her life with.


The much-loved presenter and campaigner, who’s been on our television screens for half a century, strips away the television presenter veneer in this extraordinarily personal and candid exploration of what it’s really like for people to deal with loss. Dame Esther, now eighty, has found widowhood a challenge and likes to focus on looking forward but her family say she’s in denial.


Esther and her fellow bereaved confidantes reveal what it’s like to lose someone you love, and tear up the rule book on bereavement. With unflinching honesty, they explore what is uniquely individual, and discover how much is shared. From the death bed to the first anniversary, from dark days of suffering, to finding ways to celebrate,through vivid stories and unearthing memories, Esther takes a journey through life after loss, and with the help of her children, challenges her approach to her own bereavement.

In an emotional and ultimately uplifting documentary, over one summer Esther is forced to look back, unlock some doors and recognise there are no rules when it comes to losing a loved one.