Deborah James speaks to the camera about her children

Deborah James confession about children revealed in new documentary

Deborah James confession about children revealed in new documentary

Dame Deborah James made a heartbreaking confession about her children in new documentary The Last Dance.

The film was aired on BBC One last night (Thursday June 30) following cancer campaigner Deborah‘s death earlier this week.

The mum-of-two, who was diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer in 2016, was just 40 when she passed away.

The Last Dance contained tender and fond tributes to podcast host Deborah from people whose lives she touched.

Celebrities who have supported her Bowelbabe fundraising and campaigning – like Lorraine Kelly and Gaby Roslin – also featured.

But among many touching accounts about Deborah, the most affecting words were delivered by Deborah herself as she spoke about her children.

Deborah James lived to see her children go to secondary school (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

Deborah James on her children

She took part in filming for the documentary in October 2021, shortly after she turned 40.

She described it as “a birthday that I never thought I would make… and I did”.

Read more: Lorraine Kelly supported on Instagram as she shares emotional pic after Deborah James’ death

She also reflected on how she was left emotional by her children – Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12 – progressing with their own lives.

Deborah said: “The other big milestone for me was seeing my kids to secondary school.”

Deborah James puts her arms around her children
Doting mum Deborah putting her arms around her son and daughter (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

Deborah documentary

As sweet family images were shown, she went on: “I didn’t allow myself to think that that was possible. And I managed to just about hold it together. But, I have to say, inside, I was kind of just massively crying.

“And I did that classic thing where you drop your kids off and then you get into the car and you’re sobbing all the way down the road.

“And I was thinking, ‘They’re not five anymore, let them live their life.’”

Deborah James looks at her daughter in BBC documentary
Deborah giving Eloise a loving look (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

Deborah James’ ‘blessing’ with children

Furthermore, Deborah heartbreakingly added how she felt ‘blessed’ to have had the time she did with Hugo and Eloise after her diagnosis.

“What it’s made me realise actually is just how much I’ve been able to witness them grow up since I’ve been diagnosed with cancer,” she said.

The blessing of that five years is possibly the difference between them remembering me and not remembering me.

Deborah continued: “I might not see them get married. But, actually, the blessing of that five years is possibly the difference between them remembering me and not remembering me. And that is huge.”

Deborah James sits with her children in photo shared in BBC documentary
Deborah felt ‘blessed’ to have had the time she did with her children (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

Viewers made it clear on social media they were very moved by The Last Dance.

“Sat crying my eyes out watching The Last Dance about @bowelbabe. What an incredible woman. Life is too, too short,” one person tweeted.

Read more: Lisa Riley supported by fans on ‘toughest day’ following heartbreaking family loss

Another wrote: “Truly an inspiration to all and will be forever in people’s thoughts. The Last Dance programme was so moving. Not a dry eye.”

And a third viewer posted: “Phew! That was a hard thing to watch. Dame Deborah James: The Last Dance. What an amazing lady.”



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