Ross Kemp says Barbara Windsor doesn’t recognise him as EastEnders star battles Alzheimer's

11 June 2020, 15:13 | Updated: 11 June 2020, 15:26

The ex-Eastenders star has opened up about the devastating effects of Alzheimer's on his "TV mum" as he prepares for ITV series.

Ross Kemp has revealed that Barbara Windsor doesn’t remember who he is.

The former Eastenders actor starred alongside the British icon on the soap, and has given some insight into her heartbreaking struggle with Alzheimer's.

Speaking in The Sun, the TV hard man - who is set to cover the struggles of living with and caring for those with Dementia in Living With on ITV - has opened up about his last visit to see the Carry On star.

He began: "'WHO are you? What are you doing here?'

"I’ve been in Barbara Windsor’s house for just a few minutes. I’m sitting down with a cup of tea and a biscuit with my friend of three decades. I’m taken aback, but I can’t show it.

"When I arrived, she greeted me with a hug, as one of her ­closest friends. 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."

WATCH Ross Kemp explains his viral video to Chris Moyles

Ross Kemp and Barbara Windsor, who played Grant and Peggy Mitchell in Eastenders, in 1997
Ross Kemp and Barbara Windsor, who played Grant and Peggy Mitchell in Eastenders, in 1997. Picture: PA Archive/PA Images

The Extreme World star added: "On the wall opposite where I’m sitting on the sofa, Barbara’s husband Scott has put up a “memory board” to remind her she is married to him, he loves her, and that this is her house — but mainly to remind her who she is.

"The impact of her dementia can lull you into a false sense of security.

"This is a disease where your own home becomes unfamiliar, your memories slip from your grasp and you don’t recognise your best friends or the man you’ve been married to for 20 years."

Speaking about Barbara Windsor's husband Scott, who has been caring for her, he revealed: "Scott describes Barbara’s ­Alzheimer’s as like a computer screen with all the graphics being wiped from the top down, with the short-term memory going first.

"It is the reality for many people and their families living with dementia, one of ­Britain’s biggest killers.

"Currently about 850,000 people have it in the UK — with the number predicted to double in the next 30 years — and someone is diagnosed with dementia every three minutes."

If you or anyone you know has been affected by this story, please seek help from the organisations helplines below:

Alzheimer's Helpline

www.dementiauk.org/helpline

Alzheimer's Society -

www.alzheimers.org.uk

Alzheimer's disease support

www.alzheimersresearchuk.org

Tel: 0300 111 5555