Deborah James: The Last Dance: when is BBC tribute to ‘Bowel Babe’ on TV - who is in it with Lorraine Kelly?

Dame Deborah James gained a following after sharing her bowel cancer journey on the BBC podcast ‘You, Me and the Big C’

The BBC will air a special tribute to ‘bowel babe’ Dame Deborah James following her sad passing.

Dame Deborah’s family announced that the cancer campaigner had died following a six-year battle with bowel cancer.

The inspirational story of the campaigner has been followed by millions online, with Dame Deborah raising millions of pounds for the cancer cause and raising awareness of the condition.

She had gained her following after creating the BBC Sounds podcast ‘You, Me and the Big C’, alongside fellow cancer patients and campaigners Lauren Mahon and Rachael Bland.

Deborah James has been awarded a damehood (Photo: Deborah James / bowelbabe Instagram)

Now the BBC - and a handful of celebrities - will pay tribute to Dame Deborah and her extraordinary life in ‘Deborah James: The Last Dance’ - here’s everything you need to know about the show and when it will air.


What is Deborah James: The Last Dance about?

The BBC has commissioned a half-hour documentary tribute to the bowel babe, who died at the age of 40.

The show will include tributes from celebrities such as Lorraine Kelly and Gaby Roslin.

Radio host and bowel cancer patient Adele Roberts and BBC newsreader George Alagiah, who was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2014, will also pay their repsects to Dame Deborah.

The BBC describe the show as “an intimate tribute”, adding that friends, family and fellow cancer paitents will take part.

When will Deborah James: The Last Dance air?


The show will be broadcast on BBC One at 8:30pm on Thursday 28 July.

The show will also be available on the BBC iPlayer to watch live, and on catch up after it has aired on TV.

Who is Deborah James?

Deborah James was a former deputy head teacher turned cancer campaigner from London.

She had written for and featured in a variety of publications including The Sunday Times, The Sun, Daily Mail, The Times, Grazia, Women’s Health and Marie Claire, and the Independent.

She also appeared as a regular co-host on Talk Radio and BBC radio London, and has featured and presented for BBC Breakfast, Lorraine, Sky News, Victoria Derbyshire, Stand up to Cancer and The One Show.


Deborah also penned a bestselling book titled “F*** You Cancer”, which is a self-help guide to living your best life with cancer, and is presenter of the BBC podcast You, Me And The Big C.

She was married to Sebastien Bowen, a banker at Pomona Capital, and she leaves behind two children - Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12.

Deborah was also honoured with a damehood last month after raising more than £7 million for charity after setting up a Just Giving page to raise funds for clinical trials, research, and increase awareness of the disease.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “If ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it. Deborah has been an inspiration and her honesty, warmth and courage has been a source of strength to so many people.

“Through her tireless campaigning and by so openly sharing her experience she has not only helped in our fight against this terrible disease, she has ensured countless others with the Big C have not felt alone.

“I hope this recognition from Her Majesty – backed I’m sure by the whole country – will provide some comfort to Deborah and her family at this difficult time. My thoughts are with them and Deborah should know she has the country’s love and gratitude.”


Deborah said she was “incredibly honoured” to receive the award and that her Bowel Babe fundraising campaign had “surpassed all expectations.

When did Deborah James die?

Dame Deborah’s family shared the sad new of her passing on 28 June 2022.

In a post on her Instagram page, her family said: “We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dame Deborah James; the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, mummy. Deborah passed away peacefully today, surrounded by her family.

“Deborah, who many of you will know as Bowelbabe, was an inspiration and we are incredibly proud of her and her work and commitment to charitable campaigning, fundraising and her endless efforts to raise awareness of cancer that touched so many lives.


“Deborah shared her experience with the world to raise awareness, break down barriers, challenge taboos and change the conversation around cancer. Even in her most challenging moments, her determination to raise money and awareness was inspiring.

“We thank you for giving us time in private as a family, and we look forward to continuing Deborah’s legacy long into the future through the Bowel Babe fund.

“Thank you for playing your part in her journey, you are all incredible. “And a few final things from Deborah…“find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope. And finally, check your poo – it could just save your life.” x”

Dame deborah has been diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 after experiencing symptoms such as weight loss, passing blood and increase frequency in trips to the toilet.