Michael Winner has considered ending his life at a euthanasia clinic in Switzerland after doctors told him he only has 18 months to live.

The retired film director, who has been battling ill health, said he has been researching the controversial Dignitas institution after liver specialists revealed this summer that he had between 18 months and two years left to live.

Winner, 76, told the Times that people should have the choice of ending their own lives but he was put off by the drawn-out process at the Swiss euthanasia clinic.

"The idea that people should be able to have an assisted suicide is absolutely, highly proper," he said.

"Why should people elongate life when it's no good for them? People should have the right to terminate their own life. If you're dead, you're dead, so who cares? I'm very happy to snuff it.

"I've had enough time on earth. I'd be happy if someone gave me the plug to pull."

He added that he had investigated Dignitas, without his wife's knowledge.

"You don't just go in and say 'Here I am, do your worst'," he added.

"You have to go through a whole series of papers and re-examinations just to die. You have to fill in forms and things and you have to fly there, go back twice."

He said that his wife Geraldine "would be shocked to know I'm even talking about it".