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New Dame Deborah James documentary to show unseen footage recorded before her death

Ali Condon

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New Dame Deborah James documentary to show unseen footage recorded before her death

Featured Image Credit: WENN Rights Ltd / Mark Waugh / Alamy Stock Photo

A new documentary on the 'last extraordinary five years' of the late Dame Deborah James is coming to the BBC.

The writer, podcast host, and cancer campaigner sadly passed away in June 2022 aged 40, after being diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Ever since she was first diagnosed back in 2016, Deborah had been documenting her journey on Instagram under the name 'Bowel Babe' and on hit BBC Radio 5 Live podcast You, Me and the Big C.

A documentary about Deborah James is coming to the BBC. Credit: Deborah James/Instagram
A documentary about Deborah James is coming to the BBC. Credit: Deborah James/Instagram
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Now, though, a new archive-based documentary will offer fans a never-before-seen look into the life of Deborah James.

The 1x80' documentary will piece together TikTok footage, Instagram posts, podcast episodes, as well as mobile phone footage, family videos, and voice notes.

It will also see Deborah speak frankly about her diagnosis and treatment, as well as sharing more personal moments and revealing how living with bowel cancer had affected her and those closest to her.

When Deborah learned last year that she would be moved to hospice at home care to spend her last remaining days with her family, she launched the Bowel Babe Fund, asking anyone who had followed her journey to consider donating the cost of a drink to fund lifesaving cancer research and 'to give more Deborahs more time'.

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Within 24 hours, the fundraiser had raised £1 million, and eventually raised a total of £7.6 million.

The doc will include never-before-seen footage of Deborah's last few months. . Credit: Deborah James/Instagram
The doc will include never-before-seen footage of Deborah's last few months. . Credit: Deborah James/Instagram

The fund supported causes close to Deborah's heart including the Institute of Cancer Research, The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, and Bowel Cancer UK.

As a result of her contribution to cancer research and awareness, Deborah was made a Dame by Prince William in May 2022, just one month before her death.

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Commenting on the upcoming BBC documentary, Lucie Kon, Commissioning Editor, BBC Storyville said: “Deborah worked with us on this film right up until the last few weeks of her life and was adamant that it was finished even though she wouldn’t be around to see it through.

"It’s an incredibly powerful and beautiful piece - emotional, intimate and unique.

Deborah was made a Dame by Prince William in May 2022. Credit: Instagram/@bowelbabe
Deborah was made a Dame by Prince William in May 2022. Credit: Instagram/@bowelbabe

"With enormous warmth and good humour, the documentary echoes the powerful, honest and direct way that Deborah communicated, as if she were talking to a friend or confidante.”

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BowelBabe: In Her Own Words will air on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer this spring.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week

Topics: TV And Film, BBC, Documentaries

Ali Condon
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