Ross Kemp reveals heartbreak as Barbara Windsor forgets who he is amid Alzheimer's battle
11 June 2020, 11:56
EastEnders legend Ross Kemp says his former on-screen mum sometimes doesn't recognise him.
Ross Kemp and Barbara Windsor worked together for 20 years on EastEnders playing mother and son, however, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, she sometimes doesn't recognise her friend.
Ross, 55, has a new two-part ITV documentary coming out which addresses Dementia and those living with it.
During the filming of Ross Kemp: Living With Dementia, the actor sat down with Barbara's husband, Scott Mitchell, who has put up a 'memory board' for his wife to remind her they are married, that he loves her and that this is her house.
Talking to The Sun, Ross revealed that after only a few minutes at Barbara's house, he was taken aback when she asked who he was and what he was doing there.
He said that moments earlier, when he arrived at her house, she had greeted him with a hug.
He told The Sun: "Barbara was my 'TV mum' on EastEnders and is hilariously funny and vivacious, with a rapier wit — we’ve always had a giggle, on and off set. But now she clearly has no idea who I am."
Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease six years ago.
Her husband, Scott, describes her disease like a "computer screen with all the graphics being wiped from the top down, with the short-term memory going first".
During the making of the new show, Ross said he had been bought to tears while looking to get a vivid insight into the reality of people living with Dementia.
He said: "It’s impossible for me to walk in their shoes.
"But by spending time with them and their carers — generally their loved ones — I’ve tried to gain a greater understanding of how they cope with this devastating disease".
Ross said that seeing how Barbara has suffered, and how this has had an effect on her husband Scott, drove him to look into the issue.
He explained: "I found it is fast becoming central to Britain’s social care crisis. Due to her condition, Barbara didn’t take part in the film.
"I see her as often as I can — every couple of months before the lockdown — and the deterioration in her condition has been shocking and to those of us close to her, deeply upsetting.
"Scott spoke candidly, to give people an insight into this horrendous disease and the human cost and financial burden it places on sufferers and their families."