BBC viewers left in tears over heartbreaking Dame Deborah James documentary after her death

BBC viewers were left in tears on Thursday evening after a touching documentary aired paying tribute to the late Dame Deborah James, who recently passed away after a five-year battle with bowel cancer.

The podcast host and journalist, who also went by the nickname 'bowel babe', sadly died on Tuesday 28 June aged 40, with her family announcing the news in a heartbreaking statement on social media.

A moving documentary titled Dame Deborah James: The Last Dance aired on Thursday 30 June on BBC One paying tribute to Deborah, who raised over £6 million for cancer charities.

The show saw many of Deborah's friends talking fondly of her, including broadcaster Gaby Roslin and her co-hosts on You, Me & The Big C podcast, Steve Bland and Lauren Mahon, as well as TV presenter Lorraine Kelly.

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BBC One's touching tribute had viewers in tears, with many taking to social media to brand Deborah an inspiration.

One person wrote: "That was a hugely moving tribute to @bowelbabe #DeborahJames by the BBC. So much more can be done, and this eventually an illness we will defeat in entirety, an incredible inspiration".

Another Twitter user added: "Watching the #DeborahJames story what a special, special lady," as a third said: "Watching Dame Deborah James: The Last Dance. What a brave lady. What pain she went through and her beautiful spirit shines through even when facing death. Really puts all the worries into perspective."

Many found themselves emotional watching the documentary, with one viewer saying: "Wow I haven't cried like that in ages. Don't take life too seriously, tell your family you love them. Life is precious, you don't know what's around the corner. Dance in paradise Deb," alongside a pink love heart emoji.

Deborah's family announced the sad news that she'd passed away on 28 June on Instagram.

They posted a stunning photograph of Deborah in a white mini dress along with a clip of her dancing, and penned a lengthy statement along with a note from Deborah herself.

The devastating statement said: "Dame Deborah James.

"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."

The statement continued: "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."

Her family thanked Deborah's many fans and friends for their endless support as they shared: "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 @bowelbabefund Thank you for playing your part in her journey, you are all incredible."

Sharing a brief note from Deborah herself, with her permission, prior to her death, they added: "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 (Shared with Deborah’s permission)".


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  • Deborah James rekindled romance with husband just one month before cancer diagnosis

  • In The Style ‘sad and frustrated’ as Dame Deborah’s charity t-shirts are ripped off after her death

  • Lorraine Kelly in tears as she pays tribute to Dame Deborah James in Rebellious Hope t-shirt

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