Joanna Lumley has confirmed that a documentary will be aired about a scientist dubbed the ‘human swan’ who was injured in a plane crash that killed a member of her film crew after both families received permission.
After filming, biologist Sacha Dench fell from the sky during her 3,000-mile journey across Britain in a motorized paraglider after colliding with a member of her support team.
Dan Burton, 54, who was in a separate paramotor, died last month, while Sacha, 43, a relative of Dame Judy Dench, remains in hospital after serious injuries.
Joanna, 75, had met the scientist to film her upcoming ITV documentary Joanna Lumley and the Human Swan, ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next week.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Joanna said that while she initially “wanted to “withdraw” from the project, both Sacha and Dan’s relatives urged her to air the documentary next week as scheduled.
Dan Burton, 54, died last month after a horror mid-air crash near Unapool in the Scottish Highlands while working as a cameraman on a charity flight in Britain in a motorized paraglider
Joanna Lumley, 75, (left) met Sacha Dench, 43, (right) before her horrific crash that killed another pilot, to film her upcoming ITV documentary ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November
‘But Dan’s brave, brave family said, ‘Please! This is what it’s for,” and Sacha messaged her team from her hospital bed: “For God’s sake, show this movie, this is why we did it,” Joanna said.
The paragliders were in the final stages of a circumnavigation of the country as part of the Round Britain Climate Challenge when disaster struck near Unapool in the Scottish Highlands.
Originally from Australia and now living in Bristol, Sacha is known for her global expeditions with migratory species, but has shifted her focus to climate change after losing her family home in Sydney to bushfires last year.
Dame Judi and Sir Ranulph Fiennes have supported previous missions, including a flight over the Atlas Mountains. For her latest challenge, Sacha flew a specially modified machine that allowed her to take off and land anywhere to recharge.
Pictured left, Sacha with her modified electric paramotor at the Glasgow Science Centre. Right, Dan Burton prepares for a flight from Stevenson Beach, on the west coast of Scotland
Joanna, who lives in Stockwell, South London, said it was all the more difficult to hear the news knowing how capable both Sacha and Dan were, adding that they always “put safety first” when flying.
“It was hard to take the news on board, knowing how skilled they are,” she said.
“Like mountaineers, they always put safety first. They’ve gone through the checklist before every flight.’
Elsewhere in the interview, Joanna also shared her thoughts on Insulate Britain, the environmental movement that has become infamous for its “campaign of civil resistance.”
Joanna said that while she herself would not participate in such demonstrations, she can sympathize with the anger of those involved with the group.
Biologist Sacha fell from the sky during her 3,000-mile journey across Britain in a motorized paraglider after colliding with a member of her support team
“You can understand why people get so enraged that they have to do these difficult and terrible things to draw attention to themselves.”
Lumley is a staunch advocate of the environment and animal welfare. A vegetarian since the 1970s, he made headlines earlier this week after claiming rationing could be the answer to climate change.
The Absolutely Fabulous star suggested that legislation is needed “for the sake of this beautiful Earth.”
“These are difficult times,” she said. “Maybe we should even go back to a kind of rationing where you get a certain number of points and it’s up to you how you spend them – whether you buy a bottle of whiskey or fly on a plane.”
Joanna, who has previously campaigned against single-use plastics, also said people should cut back on weekends abroad and stop eating meat.
Speaking to Radio Times, she added: ‘We have to think that everything we do will make the place better – every plastic bottle you don’t buy, every piece of garbage you pick up, every piece of meat you don’t buy. food. Every little thing counts.’