You, Me, and the Big C co-hosts prepare fans for a “long goodbye” after death of founders

The BBC award-winning series to come to an end after five years

The surviving co-hosts of You, Me, and the Big C have announced that they are planning to take a step back from the show, following the deaths of two of the three founding presenters. 

The award-winning BBC show - which takes a candid look at the realities of living with cancer - was launched in 2018 by Dame Deborah James, Lauren Mahon and Rachael Bland, all of whom were current cancer patients. Bland passed away from her cancer six months after the podcast launched, and James in June 2022.

“Me and Deb had a little joke when Rachel died that I couldn’t just do the podcast by myself,” Mahon said during her acceptance speech after winning Podcast Champions at last year’s British Podcast Awards, “because I couldn’t call it ‘Me, Me and the Big C’. The podcast is our happy place. It’s a bit surreal to be standing here without both my girls. We knew this was a risk, that some of us would die when we started it, but we wanted to continue to champion it.” 

Lauren Mahon and her co-host Steve Bland - who took over from his late wife Rachel after her death - told BBC North West Tonight that they have found it challenging to cope with the emotional burden of running the podcast.

“I have struggled over the last year getting back in that studio without their seats being filled,” said Mahon. “I'm still processing it all. In what other job than the army would you go into work thinking you may lose colleagues, and so it's very hard because there's not many people who get it. It's challenging."

Mahon, who is five years clear of breast cancer and is the founder of online awareness community Girls vs Cancer, said that she’s had many conversations with Bland about the future of the podcast. 

“We'd like the podcast to carry on because it's a really important thing for so many people,” said Bland. “It just takes a toll and it's heavy and it's hard to kind of keep talking about this stuff - particularly when we've had to deal with, obviously, Rachel and Deborah over the last few years.

"There aren't many people doing podcasts where two people have died from the subject matter. It's a tough thing to keep talking about."

They have now come to the decision, they said, that it would be too difficult to continue the show and that it would be “more appropriate” to have people talk about cancer who are currently going through it. Bland said that although there are no confirmed dates on when the show will officially end and that it would be a”long goodbye”, there are only a few episodes remaining.

One of these will be the podcast’s first ever live show, which will be recorded later this month on 25 January to celebrate the life of James. Tickets will be allocated via random draw, and fans have until 18 January to apply.

While the podcast may be coming to an end, in 2020, Mahon announced that her cancer story had been optioned for adaptation into a TV series by production studio Lime Pictures.

“Lauren is a brilliant woman and her Girl vs Cancer movement has brought together a community of people seeking connection with like-minded souls,” said Lime’s head of drama & young adults Louise Sutton at the time. “We are delighted to be working on bringing Lauren’s unique brand of humour and incredible story to the screen.”