Poignant diary film nominated for top award

Chris Cowley with wife Becky and children Sam and Lily
Chris Cowley with wife Becky and children Sam and Lily

A moving television documentary following a Wigan dad’s cancer battle has been nominated for a prestigious award.

Chris Cowley, 35, was one of three people with the disease who were filmed for Fighting Cancer: My Online Diary.

Now the programme has been named by BAFTA in its annual British Academy Television Craft Awards, which honours the best behind-the-scenes talent working in television.

It is one of four shows in the running in the breakthrough talent category, with BBC1’s Inspector George Gently also listed.

The programme was produced and directed by Tom Pursey, from Amos Pictures, and broadcast on Channel 4 in October as part of its Stand Up To Cancer campaign.

Chris’s wife Becky, from Orrell, was delighted that it had been recognised by BAFTA.

She said: “I’m pleased for Tom because he put a lot of hard work in and I’m proud of our part in it.

“Chris decided to be part of it because he thought if it made one person feel less alone or feel they shouldn’t rest on their laurels and make the most of life, then it was worth it.I know he would be really chuffed with this nomination.”

The programme features Chris, Becky and their two children, following the ups and down as he battled cancer.

Becky hopes the nomination will lead to more people watching the documentary and learning from the experiences of her husband and the other people involved.

The winner of the award will be announced in a glittering ceremony in London on Sunday, April 22, hosted by actor Stephen Mangan.

Other nominees for gongs include people who worked on The Crown, Blue Planet II, Black Mirror and Peaky Blinders.

Chris was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, on Christmas Eve 2015.

The keen rugby player had spent months thinking a problem with his ankle was a sports injury and then gout.

He had chemotherapy and his leg was amputated in May 2016.

He was determined to walk on his prosthetic leg by Christmas and walked out of hospital that November with no sign of the disease.

But just a few weeks later, he suffered back pain and scans showed he had secondary cancer in his back and lungs.

He was told he might have two years to live, if doctors could get it under control.

Chris had more treatment but stopped chemotherapy in September last year when he had a reaction to it and developed an infection.

He died in hospital on October 10 with Becky at his side, just two weeks before the TV programme aired.