Dame Barbara Windsor’s memories are triggered and the effects of dementia eased when she watches herself in Carry On films and EastEnders, her husband has said.
The 81-year-old actress was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, and her husband, Scott Mitchell, has recently said her condition has worsened and that he cannot leave her by herself anymore.
Mr Mitchell 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.
He told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “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…
“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.”
Mr Mitchell, 55, said the memories “trigger things off” for Dame Barbara, whose diagnosis with Alzheimer’s was only made public last year, and that they are “quite clear”.
“She knows there’s a strong association with EastEnders and Carry Ons and that’s quite nice.”
Dame Barbara appeared in nine Carry On films in the 1960s and 1970s.
She began playing battleaxe Queen Victoria landlady Peggy in EastEnders in 1994 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, formed by charities Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.
He and the team, which includes soap actors Adam Woodyatt (Ian Beale) and Jake Wood (Max Branning), are hoping to raise £100,000.