Who is Lucie Kon? Why NTA nominee and cancer survivor made Dame Deborah James Bowelbabe documentary

BBC editor Lucie Kon met Deborah James when the pair were both battling cancer
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Producer Lucie Kon has been nominated for a National Television Award (NTA) for her work on a moving BBC documentary about her in the final months of her battle with terminal cancer.

She was shortlisted in the category of Authored Documentary for the Storyville documentary Deborah James: Bowelbabe in Her Own Words.

Kon decided to make the special after working with James on an earlier programme about cancer, but as James’s condition worsened, Kon realised that James would be unlikely to live to see the documentary be completed. 

The documentary was shortlisted alongside Netflix entry Lewis Capaldi: How I'm Feeling Now, and two more BBC specials, Matt Willis: Fighting Addiction, and Rob Burrow: Living with MND.

The National Television Awards 2023 will take place on Tuesday 5 September (Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)The National Television Awards 2023 will take place on Tuesday 5 September (Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)
The National Television Awards 2023 will take place on Tuesday 5 September (Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

Who is Lucie Kon?

Lucie Kon is a BBC journalist who has previously worked as an executive producer on Panorama and is currently commissioning editor for Storyville, the documentary arm of the BBC’s programming.

She produced 35 programmes for Panorama, including episodes on the Ebola outbreak, the Prince Andrew scandal, and several about Covid-19. She also produced the 2023 documentary film Tanja: Up in Arms, about the former guerrilla fighter Tamja Nijmeijer.

When Kon first met journalist and podcaster Deborah James whilst making the 2020 documentary, Britain’s Cancer Crisis, for Panorama, she was fighting cancer herself, having been diagnosed with breast cancer just days before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK.

Lucie Kon shortlisted for an NTA for her documentary on Deborah James's [pictured] cancer battleLucie Kon shortlisted for an NTA for her documentary on Deborah James's [pictured] cancer battle
Lucie Kon shortlisted for an NTA for her documentary on Deborah James's [pictured] cancer battle

Kon made Britain’s Cancer Crisis because she received treatment for cancer but saw that many others had their medical care delayed due to the pandemic. James, who was living with bowel cancer, joined the documentary as a reporter, and the pair became friends. 

In 2022 they worked together again when Kon produced the 80 minute Storyville documentary Deborah James: Bowelbabe In Her Own Words, with director Sara Hardy.

James sadly died of bowel cancer last year, before the documentary aired in April 2023, and Kon has since been nominated for an NTA in the Authored Documentary category for her work on the programme.

What is Bowelbabe documentary about?

Bowelbabe is a moving documentary following the final weeks of James’s cancer battle. It explored how the former teacher became a social media star following her diagnosis as she shared what it was like to live with incurable bowel cancer.

Speaking of the documentary, Kon told Jewish News “I am so pleased and proud that Deborah’s film has made the NTA shortlist. She would be so excited and busy posting on Instagram asking people to vote. 

“We started making the film with Deborah when she was alive and she was adamant that we worked with her family to finish it when she realised she wouldn’t be able to see it through to completion.”

Where can you watch Bowelbabe?

Bowelbabe is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer.

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