Viewers emotional after Ross Kemp show explores Barbara Windsor’s Alzheimer’s

Barbara Windsor and Ross Kemp arriving for the British Academy Television Awards at the Royal Festival Hall in central London
Barbara Windsor and Ross Kemp arriving for the British Academy Television Awards at the Royal Festival Hall in central London.

Ross Kemp’s programme Living With Dementia has left viewers emotional over EastEnders star Dame Barbara Windsor’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

The 82-year-old actress, who played Kemp’s on-screen mother, Peggy Mitchell, in EastEnders, was diagnosed with the disease in 2014.

In scenes from the ITV series, Kemp, 55, explained that her illness was the reason he decided to explore the disease on screen.

Windsor dementia
Dame Barbara Windsor and her husband Scott Mitchell (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

He said: “One of the main reasons for making this film is that one of my closest friends, somebody who I worked with for a very long time, has Alzheimer’s.

“Her name is Barbara Windsor.”

Kemp also spoke to Dame Barbara’s husband Scott Mitchell, who admitted that he “went numb” the moment a doctor confirmed her diagnosis.

Mitchell has been campaigning to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s.

Emotional viewers responded to the programme online, with some sharing their own stories.

One said: “Watching the documentary ‘Living with dementia’ with #rosskemp was heartbreaking especially talking 2 Scott, Barbara Windsor’s husband, my nan had dementia & for her 2 not remember who u are when visiting is so sad.”

Another tweeted Kemp, writing: “Just watched your program, very emotional…. Very sad, have you not seen your screen mum, Barbara Windsor, such a horrible disease.”

A third described the programme as “heartbreaking”.

They added: “Worked in dementia care 4 years & its truly the most gruesome illness ever.

“The devastation 4 families who have already ‘lost’ their loved ones due to this disease is horrific. God bless Dame Barbara Windsor & the love her husband Scott has for her is beautiful.”

Another viewer praised Kemp for tackling the difficult subject.

They said: “This is such a marvellous thing you are doing we as a family have lived this for years.

“It took 3-4 years to get my mother-in-law diagnosis for what help we got we struggled to get it. Keep highlighting the things you do.”

Ross Kemp: Living With… continues on ITV.

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