Deborah James: You, Me and The Big C podcast wins top award

By Guy Lambert
BBC News

  • Published
Rachael Bland, Lauren Mahon and Deborah James
Image caption,
You Me and the Big C was originally hosted by Rachael Bland, Lauren Mahon and Deborah James

The podcast hosted by the late Dame Deborah James has been honoured at the British Podcast Awards.

You, Me and the Big C, hosted by James, Lauren Mahon and the late Rachael Bland, focused on life with and the treatment of cancer.

The Podcast Champion award is given to a person or show that has broken new ground, using its platform to help grow communities.

When she died in June, Dame Deborah's Bowelbabe fund had raised over £7m.

Her co-presenter Lauren Mahon accepted the award, saying: "I don't think there are many podcasts that you could say would be standing up here whose co-hosts are not with them because they have died of the subject matter, but that is why we do what we do.

"We knew it was a risk when we started it and it is something that we will continue to champion."

Established in 2017, the British Podcast Awards celebrate the UK's best output, from well-known voices to underground hits, and includes entries from a wide range of creators and subjects including comedy and news.

This year's ceremony was hosted by BBC Radio 5 Live's Elis James and John Robins at Kennington Park in London.

Previous winners have included Helen Zaltzman and Fearne Cotton, as well as 'My Dad Wrote A Porno'.

Media caption,

Remembering Dame Deborah James: 'One of those special people'

Diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer at the age of 35 in December 2016, Dame Deborah James said at the time that "my entire world changed".

Signing off her final podcast in May of this year, she said: "Check your poo. Come on. I can't leave on any other word apart from check your poo."

She died the following month at the age of 40 while receiving end-of-life care for bowel cancer at home, with a private funeral held by friends and family earlier this week.

Known as Bowelbabe, she helped raise £7.4m for charity in her final weeks of life and received a damehood from Prince William in a ceremony at her parents' home.

BBC presenter and You, Me and the Big C host Rachael Bland died at the age of 40 in 2018, almost two years after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Media caption,

The #YouMeBigC team talk about the importance of their podcast and friendship in 2018

Elsewhere at this year's podcast awards, there was more success for Namulanta Kombo and her BBC World Service podcast 'Dear Daughter', which took home the podcast of the year prize, as well as the family award.

Kombo won the BBC's International Podcast Competition in 2021 while living at home in Kenya.

'Dear Daughter' aims to provide life lessons and advice, created by letters from listeners.

She said: "Making the podcast has been a defining moment for me, I stepped out of my comfort zone and whole heartedly went for it.

"We created something special that resonates with people all over the world. We want to be heard and we want the best for the people we love. Winning Podcast of the Year is an incredible feeling and a huge honour."

Image caption,
The handbook to life created by listener contributions

By the end of this year it is estimated that podcasting will become a $1bn industry globally. Those behind the British awards hope to direct this growth towards a variety of projects - they have introduced a new climate award to celebrate output addressing environmental issues.

Matt Deegan, co-founder of the British Podcast Awards, said: "We're working with the Feast Collective to champion great initiatives both behind and in front of the mic."

"This isn't just about green podcasts that are preaching to the converted - although their work is important - but also the comedy, current affairs and fiction series that are addressing these issues at their audiences too."

The inaugural winner was 'Get Birding', aimed at budding birdwatchers and those who want to discover more about birds.

There was also success for comedian James Acaster, with his weekly 'James Acaster's Perfect Sounds' picking up the arts and culture prize.

Kirk Flash took home the rising star award for 'This is Gay', which examines darker aspects of modern gay life.

Coiled, a podcast exploring Black Afro hair, won moment of the year, with host and producer Leanne Alie and assistant producer Sylvie Carlos collecting the award.

Decode, which analyses the lyrics, beats, and social context of some of the most popular rap albums, won two awards.

The listeners' choice award - the only one voted for by the public - went to RedHanded, a true crime podcast hosted by Hannah Maguire and Suruthi Bala, who were previous winners.