Dame Deborah James’ friend reveals harrowing details of his final phone call with her before her death

11 Apr 2023, 11:44

Cancer, Deborah James

A friend of the late Dame Deborah James has shared harrowing details of his final phone call with the star before her death.

As we approach the first anniversary of Deborah’s passing, three of her friends have come together to discuss their memories of the amazing woman.

In a particularly tragic confession, radio presenter Tony Livesey has recalled not being able to put the phone down during their final call, aware that “it would be the last time I would speak to her”.

Deborah and Lauren were co-hosts on their You, Me and the Big C podcast (Credit: YouTube)

Friends remember Deborah James

In an interview with Radio Times, three of Dame Deborah’s friends – Emma Campbell, Lauren Mahon and Tony Livesey – opened up about their memories of the star and her incredible legacy.

Author and campgainer Emma first met Deborah when they were both undergoing cancer treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. She has previously spoken about how Deborah “gifted [her] with a ‘if she can do it so can I’ attitude”.

Lauren was Deborah’s co-host on her You, Me and the Big C podcast alongside Rachael Bland. Lauren told Radio Times about a time her friend told her off “very severely”.

Recalling the death of the pair’s co-host Rachael in 2018, Lauren said: “When Rachael died, I actually said to Deb the next day: ‘I’m the one who doesn’t have a husband and kids. Why her? Why you?’ And she told me off very severely and said: ‘Lauren, you’re the hope – I’m glad you’re not in our situation.’”

Lauren remarked that this kind of hopeful reaction was “very typical” of Deborah.

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Dame Deborah James’ final phone call

During the discussion, 5 Live presenter Tony Livesey opened up about the last time he spoke to Dame Deborah on the phone before her passing. The BowelBabe star had requested that Tony would conduct what would be her final phone interview.

Tony went into harrowing detail of the interview, which took place while Deborah was receiving palliative care at her parents’ house. He recalled that while Deborah had many frank conversations with him over the years, the last was by far the most honest. During the phone call, which was broadcast live on air, Deborah was crying and admitted for the first time that she was scared to die.

Tony relived the trauma of not being able to put the phone down in the knowledge that it would be the last time he spoke to his friend. He made a tragic comparison to two “young kids on a date”, saying: “‘You put it down,’ ‘no you put it down.’”

In the end, Tony said, Deborah put the phone down. “And that was the last time I ever spoke to her.”

Read More: Husband of Deborah James reveals heartbreaking details of her death in first TV interview

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