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Actress Prunella Scales has ‘mild Alzheimer’s’

File photo of Prunella Scales and her husband Timothy West. Picture: PA

File photo of Prunella Scales and her husband Timothy West. Picture: PA

ACTOR Timothy West has told how his wife, Fawlty Towers star Prunella Scales, has been suffering from “a sort of mild Alzheimer’s”.

Stage and screen actor West, 79, talks about Scales’ condition in a new More4 documentary, Grand Canal Journeys.

The actress, now 81, is best known for her role as Basil Fawlty’s wife Sybil in the comedy Fawlty Towers but has continued to notch up screen roles.

West, who last year appeared in Coronation Street and has since joined EastEnders, tells the programme, which is broadcast later this month, that Scales suffers from “mild” Alzheimer’s, the Radio Times said.

The couple have been navigating Britain’s canals ever since they first borrowed a friend’s boat for a fortnight in the 1970s.

West tells the programme, in which the pair embark on four canal journeys across Britain, that the trips are perfect for his wife because of the difficulties with her memory.

“She can’t remember things very well, but you don’t have to remember things on the canal,” he says. “You can just enjoy things as they happen, so it’s perfect for her.”

Scales has said that she is determined not to let the condition keep her from the stage.

“I always say I want to die on the eighth curtain call,” she says.

“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.”

The pair celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last October with a trip down the River Thames on paddle steamer the Waverley.

After Henry star Scales says of her hobby: “It’s always Tim who steers! But I enjoy running up and down because of the wonderful wildlife on the towpath. And it keeps you fit.”

 

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