Entertainment & Arts

Prunella Scales showing signs of 'early dementia'

Prunella Scales and Tim West Image copyright PA
Image caption The couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last year

Fawlty Towers star Prunella Scales has "a sort of mild Alzheimer's", her husband Timothy West has revealed in the Radio Times.

In the couple's upcoming More 4 programme, Tim and Pru's Slow Boat, West says his wife "can't remember things very well".

Scales, 81, said it won't stop her performing: "I always say I want to die on the eighth curtain call."

The Alzheimer's Society thanked West for "raising awareness".

"Their recent adventure navigating Britain's canals shows that it is possible to live well with dementia and plan to carry on enjoying life."

A transmission date for the series has yet to be announced.

West, who has recently been appearing in EastEnders, says in the programme: "She can't remember things very well, but you don't have to remember things on the canal.

"You can just enjoy things as they happen - so it's perfect for her," adds the actor.

The show will see the pair embark on four canal journeys across the UK.

Image caption Scales played Basil Fawlty's long-suffering wife Sybil in Fawlty Towers opposite John Cleese

Dementia is difficult to diagnose, particularly in its early stages and there are many different types of the illness.

Rebecca Wood, chief executive of Alzheimer's Research UK, the UK's leading dementia research charity, said: "It's always sad to learn that a much-loved public figure is living with Alzheimer's, and this news will have touched the hundreds of thousands of families across the UK who are facing a similar struggle.

"By speaking out about their experiences, the couple have helped bring dementia into the spotlight, in turn helping to tackle some of the stigma that still surrounds the condition.

"We are grateful to them for helping to bring attention to the many challenges faced by people with Alzheimer's disease."

She also said that West, 79, had backed the charity's calls for increased funding for dementia research in the past.

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