By Ken Tucker
Updated February 18, 2010 at 04:35 PM EST

On Monday, during a show about end-of-life decisions, broadcaster-filmmaker Ray Gosling broke from the script and said, “I killed someone once.”

Gosling made the confession during the BBC program Inside Out. He spoke of a lover who had AIDS and was in a hospital. “The doctor said, ‘There’s nothing we can do,’ and he went away. I picked up a pillow and smothered him until he was dead.”

Gosling, a familiar media figure in Britain, has been arrested; assisted suicide is illegal in England and Wales. He has been released on bail.

The controversy over assisted suicide is complex, to say the least. But it’s rare indeed for a TV broadcaster to admit to committing this act publicly. In a subsequent news interview, Gosling said, “I have no views on euthanasia… I’m surprised at all the fuss”:

It’s difficult to watch these clips without feeling sympathy for Gosling, but it seems likely that his television admission is going to stir up new debate about euthanasia, don’t you think? I also cannot imagine the host of any American documentary making such an on-air admission, can you?