Deborah James


The aughts had Jane Tomlinson, the 2010s had Kate Granger, now for the 2020s edition of the FFBI-transcending cancer campaigner. Deborah James was a deputy head teacher at the time of her 2016 bowel cancer diagnosis, which spurred her to pursue a path in journalism to raise cancer awareness. In 2017 she started a Sun column for which she donned the nickname “Bowelbabe”, and followed suit months later with the BBC podcast You, Me, and the Big C. Her honest discussions of her illness earned much praise, as did the awareness she raised of early symptoms of bowel cancer. After defying several close brushes with death (and even having a brief stint of remission), James announced she was stopping all treatment this May. She raised millions for charity in the subsequent days, and was promptly honoured with a Damehood. Even if that was largely a political manoeuvre by BoJo to try (and fail to) get people to like him, ultimately Deborah James herself was someone who did a lot of good in her limited time. A time that has come to an end, aged 40.

Her frequent defying of the odds throughout her cancer battle often made her a tricky 50/50 pick, though she experienced an uptick in popularity this year after discouraging treatment news in the months prior. Now that it’s You, Me, and the Big Sleep, the top 10 shakes up with Smart Beta and 2023? – no thank you! I’ll leave before among those on the rise while David Quantick’s Showbiz Pals continues to control the narrative. Amongst the committee, GUN had her as did Reptile, who was surprised as us all that James would predecease Vicky Phelan rather than outlast her by six months. Further down the scoreboard are joker points for The Walking Dead and Today’s the day the maggots have their picnic, and the first points for veteran Star Dust after a long deadpooling hiatus.

Deborah James
1 October 1981 – 28 June 2022, aged 40
21 TEAMS (💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀 10 POINTS, 🃏 (x2) 20 POINTS)