I am very afraid of being told that I will not live long

Liz Carr has said that ever since she was told in her early teens that she would not live long, she was still “very scared”.

The 50-year-old actress, best known for her role as coroner Clarissa Mullery on BBC crime drama Silent Witness, is also a disability rights activist.

She suffers from the rare genetic condition arthrogryposis multiplex congenital, a condition that affects joints and muscles, and has been a wheelchair user since she was 11 years old.

Olivier Theater Awards 2022 - London

Liz Carr after winning Best Supporting Actress for The Normal Heart at the 2022 Laurence Olivier Awards (Ian West/PA)

She told Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs: “I used to be a patient of a very anxious doctor, you went to her consultations and a big booming woman.

“I thought I didn’t know I was scared. I was very ill. What will happen? We don’t know, but you won’t grow old.

“How it affected me is that every night before I went to bed, when my mom talked about it, I said, ‘Am I going to die tonight?’ And she said no and I said yes but you don’t know that.

“I need realism and if you’re told that by a doctor, and of course we doctors believe, and to this day I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t think about it.

“I’m very scared most of the time but I’ve lived with it so far (view) that I have to do it now because who knows.”

Carr joined Season 2 of the Netflix dark fantasy series The Witcher, which stars Superman Henry Cavill as the monster hunter Geralt of Rivia, and has also appeared in the BBC NHS comedy-drama series This Is Going to alongside David Tennant and Michael Hurt and the supernatural Amazon series Good Omens on Glamour.

She also spoke about her work as a campaigner with Not Dead Yet UK, an association of disability activists who oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Carr told presenter Lauren Laverne: “I have concerns that when we introduce assisted suicide things are going to change, that it changes our NHS, it changes our relationship with the medical profession.”

Carr added that she understands that people who become ill or disabled feel like their “burdens are hopeless.”

“Of course your life has changed beyond measure and I know that because I’ve had it too,” she added.

“So I have full sympathy … I don’t even know how many years it took for me to be okay with being who I am.”

The 2022 Olivier Prize winner, who stars in a supporting role as polio survivor and doctor Dr. Emma Brookner in The Normal Heart, a play about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, which Gong took home for best actress, also recalled a woman who appeared to be homeless gave her change when she met her future wife, Jo Church, for the first time.

“A woman without a home, in a beautiful act of generosity, thinks that I am more needy than she is,” Carr added.

“So I feel like while we have such an inequality, we have an inequality in how we view certain lives.

“We have an inequality in healthcare and care. We don’t endorse people.

“We don’t have enough palliative care (so) I think I’ll continue to speak out.”


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