Did you?

Charles 25 Comments

Did you like it? 

I’d be inclined to give it 10 out of 10. 

Last night’s BBC2 programme Dead Good Job is well worth watching. If you missed it, it covers: 

a Muslim funeral company’s attempts to bury the dead as quickly as possible in accordance with Islamic tradition, a terminally ill mother of two who chooses to plan and arrange her own funeral and a high speed send off for a biker who gets his wish of a final ride in a motorcycle hearse.

Next week, we are delighted to see that they will be following Rachel Wallace, funeral photographer. We’re huge fans of Rachel here at the GFG-Batesville Tower. 

Catch it on the iPlayer here


  1. Charles

    The Muslim burial was FASCINATING! Everyone wanting to carry the coffin and fill in the grave. A lesson to be learnt from this inspiring community involvement. Also love the idea of ‘organised chaos’.

  2. Charles

    Yes, I did, and I thought it was very good. I liked the way they gave the families ‘slow time’ and silence to bring their feelings out or just to sit and ponder. I’m also glad they gave airtime to the thoughts of Quicker Vicar Paul Sinclair about people needing to make choices and ‘get it right’.

    It was very informative – especially to see the Muslim burials – as was demonstrated you need your wits about you to do that day in day out! It was fascinating and I learned a lot about why and how things are as they are. Equal in death… so simple and so true.

  3. Charles

    I loved it… particularly the Muslim funerals. Found it fascinating and loved the fact that it was simplistic, with every person receiving the same, time honoured, rituals. The chaos of burying the body as quickly as possible… was almost comical in parts but also very heart warming.
    Pesonally, I think we wait way too long between death and funerals in the UK…. #justsaying

      1. Charles

        Hi Jenny and Ru

        Interesting comments and of course there is no need to hurry the funeral with unseemly haste when poor decisions can be made, but equally drawing the process out does no one any favours.

        I suspect that your experiences are very different to mine as a daughter, a friend, a carer, a relative, an executor roles and colleague (to name a few…) but I have yet to encounter anyone who said “I wish the funeral wasn’t for another few days”.I actually find that people most want closure (sorry, poor word).

        That said, I was interested in the ten days offered by Ru. Is that considered to be the optimum length of time? Would be most interested to hear views.

        1. Charles

          Yes, I think, Patricia, that many people do feel that they want to ‘get things over and done with’ as soon as possible.

          However, I’ve worked with many families when a longer wait has been unavoidable, for instance when a death happens over a holiday period like Christmas, and the venues have become booked for up for many days, if not weeks, ahead. Or if there are relatives who have to travel very long distances, or are receiving hospital treatment themselves and need to recuperate before they can attend.

          And, quite contrary to most people’s expectations, I find that many famlies come to believe that this delay was, in hindsight, a surprising advantage. They have the opportunity to come through the very early days of bereavement into a different place, where there is room to think, breathe and imagine what they might like to do in order to honour the life of their relative and friend.

          As a slight aside, I would also urge you not to assume that the ‘professionals’ who comment here are any different to you in their personal experiences. Are they not also ‘a daughter, a friend, a carer, a relative, an executor…and colleague’? We are not a separate species pronouncing wisdom from on high – indeed many people who undertake bereavement work do so because of their own dreadful experiences of personal loss.

        2. Charles

          ‘…drawing the process out does no one any favours.’

          Yes it does, Patricia; or at least, please don’t assume it does not.

          The conditioned reaction to having to arrange a fuenral is to get the grizzly business over and done with as soon as possible, and even if that’s not the conscious intent it tends to be the driver. But I have been shown gratitude from people whom I’ve gently ‘allowed’ to take a couple of weeks over the funeral, on the grounds that it leaves them in a much clearer and more informed and empowered place to proceed.

          Not to get it over with because it simply has to be done, but to do it for a reason.

        3. Charles

          What fascinates me is that the length of time isn’t in the end the most important factor in what constitutes a ‘successful’ funeral – it’s the expectations of the people involved that matters most. You can see that, for the Faithful, what matters above all is the burial, because that’s the gateway to paradise for the person they have lost. Whatever their own feelings why would they delay?

          And that was true for all of them, wasn’t it? Traditional Christian, the biker – it was all about doing what was right by the person who had died. In the past I’ve written about how malleable grief is to tradition and culture – but it now strikes me that if getting it right is the real driver, then it is more as though it is grief itself that insists on carving out that channel that it needs.

          Is it just us post-religioners who need more time? To work out what is right for us and invent the service that both satisfies and assuages the grief we feel?

          1. Charles

            Yes, Vale, I think it is. It’s a secular thing. Members of faith groups have a prescribed process, and their religious teachings prepare them. They pull out the familiar script and crack on. For them, it’s all automatic, meaningful and emotionally nourishing.

            Most secular folk also reach for the familiar script (hearse and two, crem cowboy, 20 mins of the familiar mumble-jumbo) and their urgency to get it over and done with is because its meaningless, invidious and of little if any emotional value.

            I’m with Jonathan. It’s all about opening minds to doing it for a reason. This process can only start after someone has died, because no one’s thought about it beforehand, and it can only proceed when there’s a realisation that it doesn’t have to be ‘one of those’. It takes time just to get to square one.

            Very interesting what you say about the effect of the enforced longer wait, Sweetpea.

  4. Charles

    A fair and balanced programme. Shome mistake surely? Well done to the producers and all concerned – it was sensitive and informative – let’s hope it continues in the same way.

    A little bit of information about transparency of ownership would be most welcome in future episodes. We can but hope!

  5. Charles

    There was one moment I took issue with – when the FD said: “Most people want the usual traditional funeral. If it isn’t broken….” I took that to infer that he wasn’t about to voluntarily offer anything else.

    1. Charles

      I don’t know if you’re a celbrant, Jed, but I suspect we celebrants would be snowed under with work if the undertakers stopped taking that indolent ‘don’t fix it’ approach.

      The question; ‘religious or humanist?’ leaves little room or time for consideration other than the response, ‘let’s just play safe and do the normal thing.’ My limited experience of aranging funerals with families may be insufficient for a generalization, but the proportion of them who’ve opted for the traditional funeral has been tiny once they’ve been encouraged to think about the alternatives.

  6. Charles

    I find myself disagreeing with the agreeable comments here. It was ok, it told the story how it is – and yes, I can see now how you bury a muslim within a day if the rituals are identical and so sparse, which is informative. But it still says ‘this is how funerals are, this is what you must expect’. It doesn’t suggest much alternative to following the herd, other than cosmeticising the rituals by losing one wheel off ‘the’ hearse, or weaving ‘the’ coffin, or other such novelties; and so, by consolidating the way things are, it entrenches so many of the empty traditions that are in such need of disinterrment.

    How about a series that questions the purpose and place of the funeral – the why rather than the how – and invites viewers to consider what they would like to do if no-one told them what was ‘on offer’?

    1. Charles

      People know so very little about funerals and are easily shocked that I suppose I thought this was a very good start. And TWO celebrants and the quicker vicar has to be a breakthrough. And although I agree with Jed about the traditional fd, they had to have someone like him to show the difference in approaches that exists.

  7. Charles

    excellent stuff, really enjoyed it, even the second time – a very decent mix etc, Mr Taslim and his daughters were terrific (as were all of the others shown)

    I’m sure that Lilleywhite’s do offer ‘non-traditional’ choices, but they know their local market and the usual trends and a strong tip for them, imo, three Chapels available and Clients can seemingly come in when and as often as they please…….so they’re not told when they can view, which is often the ‘Corporate way’

    no need, David, for ‘transparency of ownership’ for that programme, apart from a brief visit to a Funeralcare branch, the others shown are all Independent firms etc

    next up seems to be Chandu and Nigel L-Rose, in addition to the said Photographer that is


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