Dame Barbara Windsor eases dementia by watching Carry On films and EastEnders | Ents & Arts News

Dame Barbara Windsor’s dementia is eased when she watches herself in Carry on films and EastEnders which trigger her memory.

The 81-year-old actress was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, and her husband Scott Mitchell has said her condition has worsened and that she cannot be left alone.

But he said that watching herself in the old comedy films and seeing a picture of herself in the BBC soap, in which she played pub landlady Peggy Mitchell, have a positive effect.

“The Carry Ons were on over Christmas. She does watch them and she can get quite emotional because she says that is a past version of her,” he told the Daily Mirror.

“She still watches EastEnders every night.

“There’s still a picture of Peggy behind the bar and every time that comes into shot, I say ‘Look, look, there’s my wife’ and she always laughs and says ‘That’s nice that they’ve still got that there’, so it’s really good.”

The EastEnders actress with her husband Scott Mitchell, 55
Image:
The EastEnders actress with her husband Scott Mitchell, 55

Mr Mitchell, 55, said the memories “trigger things off” for his wife and that they are “quite clear”.

“She knows there’s a strong association with EastEnders and Carry Ons and that’s quite nice.”

The actress’s condition was only made public last year, with Mr Mitchell saying that she was taking medication to manager the symptoms.

He previously said: “Firstly, I hope speaking out will help other families dealing with loved ones who have this cruel disease.

“Secondly, I want the public to know because they are naturally very drawn to Barb­ara and she loves talking to them.

“So rather than me living in fear she might get confused or upset, they’ll know that if her behaviour seems strange, it’s due to Alzhei­mer’s and accept it for what it is.”

Dame Barbara in 1960
Image:
Dame Barbara in 1960

Dame Barbara appeared in nine Carry On films in the 1960s and 1970s.

She first played Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders in 1995 and left in 2010, but returned a number of times until her character’s death in 2016.

Mr Mitchell, who married Dame Barbara in 2000, will run the London Marathon along with a number of EastEnders stars in a team called Barbara’s Revolutionaries, to raise money for campaign the Dementia Revolution.

He is hoping to raise £100,000 alongside a team including EastEnders actors Adam Woodyatt, who plays Ian Beale, and Jake Wood, who stars as Max Branning.

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