In a heartbreaking interview on You, Me & the Big C this week, a podcast that features candid conversations about cancer, broadcaster Deborah James (commonly known as @bowelbabe on Twitter) said that she was stopping treatment for her cancer and was switching over to palliative care.
Listeners have followed Deborah’s story for a number of years and the podcast has built a considerable community of people who support and share their own stories. In a tweet that soon went viral this week, James launched the Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK, hoping to raise funds for forthcoming campaigns and for research and clinical trials. Hoping to initially raise £250,000, donations have so far surpassed £4 million. On Thursday it was announced that, because of her campaign work and fundraising efforts, Deborah James was to receive a Damehood from The Queen.
I lost a close friend to bowel cancer two years ago. Her name was Sarah and she left us when she was only 30. What I found particularly inspiring about Sarah was that she dedicated a lot of her time in the last two years of her life advocating the symptoms of bowel cancer to look out for and highlighting that bowel cancer was not an ‘old person’s disease.’ It would be a disservice to her not to follow the opportunity by listing these symptoms here, just in case you are having any of the following. It is always worth getting in contact with your GP.
These symptoms are: persistent changes in your bowel habits, a pain coming from your tummy, unexplained weight loss or tiredness and blood from either your bottom or from your stools. You can find out more info on the Bowel Cancer website.
NOTABLE NAMES ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK
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- The Eurovision Podcast has reaction from the contest, which aired last night, featuring interviews with the winners and a catch-up with some of the most popular entrants.
- On The Line of Fire with Ramita Navai, a captivating podcast that explores the experiences of war correspondents throughout the world, Navai speaks to Shoaib Sharifi, who is one of the last remaining Afghan journalists remaining in Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the country.
- The Argentinian screenwriter Gaspar Noé is on the latest episode of Kermode and Mayo’s Take, the new place for their film reviews.
- Simon Callow and Amanda Abbington are the latest guest on the popular food podcast Out to Lunch with Jay Rayner.
- On Queer Spaces: Behind the Scene, a podcast that highlights and celebrates LGBTQ+ spaces, Alim and Tim visit the staff at Open Barbers, a not-for-profit hairdressing service that is inclusive for all genders and sexualities.
Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead
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Radioman – A new audio drama written by Joe Derrick, with audio production provided by Benbrick, who was behind the British Podcast Awards-winning Have You Heard George’s Podcast? This new thriller, which stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, David Morrissey and Cathy Tyson follows a local DJ who decides to start a podcast looking into a some recent murders that has rocked a local community. As you would expect from Ben Brick, this is a treat that is best enjoyed through your headphones and with no distractions.
By the way, as this is an Audible Original, you need to be a paid subscriber to listen. However, listening to this series does not use up any of your ‘credits.’
The Way We Are with Munroe Bergdorf – The activist and model Munroe Bergdorf is back with a second series of her popular Spotify podcast, where she invites guests to discuss important issues facing our society. In the first episode, she invites the much loved Jonathan Van Ness, most notably from Queer Eye but also a string of successful podcast and Netflix series. They discuss how HIV prevention is an important issue not just for the LGBTQ+ community and how being famous can create an illusion of perfectionism that isn’t just there.
There’s a great emphasis in the series on the importance of self-care and self-love and the vibe from listening is particularly great.
Committee Corridor – A new podcast that looks at the work of Select Committees within Parliament. These are groups of MPs from all political parties who bring in witnesses, experts and ministers to defend their actions or to discuss their opinions.
Presented by Tom Tugendhat MP, the current Chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, this podcast features a deep dive into some of the recent discussions that have taken place in these committees, starting with a discussion on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine. It is an insightful guide into how this part of democracy works, it explores the ways that opposing political parties work together and it helpfully looks at politics in a different way than just the ins and outs of Downing Street.
After The Tone – A great concept, where Scottee (great name) reacts to voice notes that listeners have left on the podcast’s own WhatsApp. Not only are the voice notes hilarious, full of interesting stories and anecdotes sent in from listeners, Scottee’s reactions to each one and subsequent monologues are enjoyable and intimate. Just a warning that some of these stories are quite NSFW, but honestly you wouldn’t have it any other way.
I was back on Podcast Radio Hour with Chris Pearson this week with my podcast recommendations for this month. Many of the podcasts were ones that have been written about in this newsletter, including Betwixt the Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society, NearlyWeds and The Line of Fire with Ramita Navai.
We also spoke to actor and activist Charlie Craggs about her debut on Doctor Who: Redacted.