The 81 year-old English actress describes her condition as "a nuisance."
Actress Prunella Scales and her husband Timothy West have revealed that the Fawlty Towers star is suffering with a condition similar to Alzheimer's. The acting couple have narrated and starred in an upcoming documentary about the canals of Britain, navigating the waterways on a narrowboat and sharing one of their big passions with More 4 viewers.
Prunella & Her Husband Tim West Will Appear In An Upcoming Documentary About Britain's Canals.
West spoke movingly about his wife's condition and how he is already a supporter of Alzheimer's Research UK. "Pru has this condition," the 79 year-old explained. "It's sort of Alzheimer's but it isn't; it's quite mild. "She can't remember things very well, but you don't have to remember things on the canal."
Though he described Prunella's Alzeimer's as "slight", West said that she is a different person to the one he once knew. "When you think back over the long period and you think this person that I loved and enjoyed this and that and the other with doesn't really exist anymore, it's another person. that's quite painful," he said, via The Telegraph.
"But you mustn't think like that, you must take it from day to day. You notice how much she's able to do and how much she enjoys life." Indeed, the couple's positive outlook on life is infectious, with West putting a positive spin on the degenerative effect of the illness: "You can just keep your mind absolutely vacant, enjoy things as they happen and as you see them, so it's perfect for her," he said.
West Vowed To Support His Wife Though Admitted She Is Not The Person She Once Was.
Scales was also pragmatic about her mental state but vowed not to deliberately slow down. "I certainly do enjoy life, and I can still perform my duties as crew," she said onboard the boat. Comparing herself to her husband, the 81 year-old said she has "probably got a bit more energy than he has," as a result of the fitness regimes and training she undertook when she was a young actress.
West agreed whilst watching his wife go about her canal boat duties. "It's easy to forget Pru is the age she is, when she's so agile leaping about the locks," he marvels. "She's just growing older and in a certain area more quickly that either of us would like. We're very lucky, really," the EastEnders star lamented.
The Optimistic Scales Focusses On The Things She Can Do, Rather Than Can't.
The couple have fostered their passion for canals since the '70s when they borrowed a friends boat for a fortnight and intend to continue as long as they are able. Luckily, the laidback lifestyle the meandering canal offers is conducive to a stress-free existence. "She can't remember things very well but you don't have to remember things on the canal," West says before Scales adds sunnily, "Well it can be a nuisance sometimes but it doesn't stop me being able to open a lock gate or make the skipper a cup of tea."
Speaking to the Radio Times, Scales revealed that she would like to eventually "die on the eighth curtain call," explaining "Eight will mean the show's been rather a success. I just hope I'm somewhere near the middle and have been reasonably good in the part."
Grand Canal Journeys will be broadcast on More 4 on March 10, 2014, at 9pm.