'It's Your Funeral' to air on 5
The series, created by Talent consultant Patrick Stoddart and produced by Jean Davison with Tony Humpreys as executive producer, has been commissioned by Channel 5 Controller of Childrens and Religious Programming for transmission in the new year.
Nick Wilson said: "The series is a serious, insightful look at an issue that we all have to contemplate. It gives people in the public eye a chance to comment on aspects of their life that they rarely discuss in showbiz interviews. It's as much about celebrating life as contemplating death."
The show, hosted by Live Talk presenter Kaye Adams, invites guests to pick the venue, music, readings and even what they will wear at their own funeral. Other guests include Rabbi Julia Neuberger, actors Brian Blessed, Stephanie Cole and Lesley Joseph and rock star Steve Harley.
Says Davison: "It may sound gloomy, but it really isn't. It's an opportunity for interesting people to have some say in their own funeral do, and reveal something about their beliefs and convictions along the way. The conversation will be quite serious at times and quite silly at others - that all depends on the guest."
Stoddart came up with the idea 10 years ago, after contracting a serious illness and being told he had three hours to live. He survived, but when his best friend died of a brain tumour soon afterwards, he began to think even more seriously about the need to arrange your own leaving do.
He said: "You reach an age when you find yourself going to more funerals than weddings and that makes you consider your own mortality. It also gets you comparing and contrasting funerals - you think to yourself: 'That's a good idea, I must make sure someone does that at my funeral.'
"I don't think the idea is remotely bizarre - death is life's one certainty, so we might as well accept the fact and make sure we give our friends and family a good time when they turn up to see us off. It also gives you some small chance to dictate the way you'll be remembered, although none of us can be sure what people really think of us, of course."