Potter's daughter tells of `unreal' last days

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The daughter of the writer Dennis Potter yesterday described watching her father slave to complete his final two dramas - knowing he had only weeks before he died of cancer.

Sarah Potter was speaking at the launch of the television series of Karaoke and Cold Lazarus, which will be shown on both Channel 4 and BBC1 in response to Potter's dying wish. Karaoke starts on BBC1 on 28 April and Cold Lazarus runs on Channel 4 from 26 May.

Karaoke is the story of Daniel Feeld, a writer given months to live, who believes the characters in his latest film are coming alive around him. Before he dies Feeld - played by Albert Finney - freezes his head. Cold Lazarus, set in 2368, details attempts to reactivate it.

Potter's own last months were particularly painful because his wife, Margaret, was also diagnosed as having terminal cancer. Potter survived her by a week before he died in June 1994.

His daughter said: "Those days were almost unreal. Watching Dad, we knew it was harder for him to bear mother's demise than his own. "

Finney said: "We all wonder how we would handle such a situation if we were told we only had weeks to live. I'd probably lock myself in Oddbins [the wine merchants] or fly off to some exotic spot."