A father’s powerful and poignant memoir. Peter Barham lost his daughter, Debbie, to anorexia at the age of 26. Debbie was a talented BBC comedy writer whose death shocked the media world. The story centres around the 9 months Debbie lived with Peter and his moving search to know more about his daughter and make sense of it all after her death.
A father’s poignant memoir of the nine months he nursed his anorexic daughter and his struggle after her death to make sense of it all and to know his daughter more fully.
Peter Barham left his wife while Debbie was just a toddler and had little to do with her until the day she turned up on his doorstep, weighing just 4 stone. For 9 months he gave Debbie a home – terrified at times he would find her dead in the morning.
Debbie was a successful comedy writer for such luminaries as Clive Anderson, Rory Bremner and Ned Sherrin, the frail girl never stopped working. But at times she didn’t have the strength to lift her head from the pillow. Then one day, when Debbie felt stronger she left, leaving a note.
Debbie died of anorexia in her mid twenties, a reclusive inhabitant of a London docklands flat. The book opens with Peter’s harrowing visit to it, after her death, when he finds that Debbie had sent herself helium balloons via an internet mail order company the day before she died which bore the get well message, 'Chin up Debs. It can only get better.’
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‘Debbie Barham was addicted to comedy: she lived and died writing it. This book is a moving tribute to an astonishing talent and a life that ran out before the jokes did.’ Rory Bremner
‘A truly extraordinary person.’ Clive Anderson
‘The unsung queen of comedy.’ The Telegraph
‘She could be rude enough to make even Graham Norton blush.’ Ned Sherrin
‘An amazing talent.’ Bob Monkhouse
‘In her short life, Deb achieved what most writers would wish for in a much longer lifetime. She was prodigiously talented.’ Bruce Hyman radio producer
‘A frank and heartbreaking account of the battle with anorexia that left acclaimed comedy writer Deborah Barham dead at 26.’ Mail on Sunday (Jan 06)About the Author:
Peter Barham is father to Debbie. He left the family home when Debbie was small and it was only in 1999 that father and daughter became close, when Debbie turned up on his doorstep weighing just 4 stone in 1999. He and his wife nursed Debbie, at times having to lift her head from the pillow when she didn’t have the strength.
ALAN HURNDALL is a journalist, writer, author and filmmaker. In a distinguished career he has won national industry awards in both newspapers and television, including Campaigning Journalist of the Year in the British Press Awards, a Royal Television Society Award and a BAFTA nomination.
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