Timothy West reveals his wife Prunella Scales is ‘still enjoying life’ after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis – with the actor throwing her a huge 90th birthday bash this year
Prunella Scales is ‘still enjoying life’ after her Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis in 2014, her husband Timothy West has revealed.
The actress, 90, just celebrated her milestone birthday by having a huge party with 150 guests and the married couple have recently been Greek island hopping.
Prunella, best known for playing Sybil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers, ended her 67-year acting career in early 2020 following her 2014 Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.
Making the most of it: Prunella Scales is ‘still enjoying life’ after her Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis in 2014, her husband Timothy West has revealed (pictured at The Oldie of the Year Awards)
Speaking of her life now former Corrie star Timothy, 88, told The Mirror at The Oldie of the Year Awards: ‘She enjoys life, which is essential really. She likes doing things.
‘We’ve just been on a little boat trip around the Greek islands – it was just us enjoying ourselves with no cameras.
‘We had a party this year – quite a big party. About 150 people came!’
It comes after their son Samuel, 56, shared an update on Prunella’s health in December 2021.
Nice! The actress, 90, just celebrated her milestone birthday by having a huge party with 150 guests and the married couple have just been Greek island hopping
At the time, the actor had been interviewing Prunella with the intentions of writing a book, as her memory begins to fade.
Speaking to The Mirror, Samuel detailed: ‘She still recognises us and she knows I have two children, so that’s really good.’
Samuel added that despite her deteriorating hearing, which makes conversation difficult, she is ‘in good spirits’.
He continued: ‘You can never quite tell with dementia what sort of personality it’s going to leave a person with, but on the whole she’s quite cheery. At the moment I’m interviewing them both about their lives, because I want to write a book.’
Star: Prunella, best known for playing Sybil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers, ended her 67-year acting career in early 2020 following her 2014 Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis (pictured with son Sam in 2012)
Samuel revealed he spent lockdown interviewing his father about his life, twice a week, before also interviewing his mother, so their memories can be preserved.
However, he added that due to his mother’s lack of short-term memory the task was harder and he had to be very patient.
Prunella and her husband Timothy were forced to quit their Channel 4 TV show, Great Canal Journeys due to her ailing health in January 2020.
They were replaced by Celebrity Gogglebox stars Gyles Brandreth and Sheila Hancock on the Channel 4 show.
Discussing their departure, a source told The Sun at the time: ‘It’s not a decision Pru and Tim have taken lightly but they’re delighted it’s Gyles and Sheila.’
Prunella filmed her last show in October 2019, but the couple appeared in more than 30 episodes of the programme. The actress became a household name as Sybil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers, and the award-winning thespian, threw their support behind their successors.
The couple said in a statement to publication: ‘Good luck Gyles and Sheila. Enjoy the countryside and the pubs.’
Screen legend Prunella revealed in 2013 that she was struggling with her memory, and could not even recall the year she married her husband – which was 1963.
Hard battle: Screen legend Prunella revealed in 2013 that she was struggling with her memory, and could not even recall the year she married her husband (pictured in 2017)
In a 2015 interview with The Independent, Tim revealed the heartache at seeing his wife slip away amid her battle, admitting that while he cherishes the time he has with her, the effects of the disease made communication difficult.
‘The sad thing is that you just watch the gradual disappearance of the person you knew and loved and were very close to,’ he said. ‘If you live day to day it is manageable.
‘It is when you start thinking of the past and you think, ‘Oh what a shame she can’t do that any more’, or you can’t talk about this any more. Then it is sad.’
Tim and Prunella married in 1963, after meeting on the set of a TV costume drama. Tim had been briefly married before and had a daughter, Juliet. The couple went on to have two sons: Sam is an actor and his brother Joseph is a translator.
Couple goals: The pair have been married for nearly six decades (pictured together in 1963)
Nowadays, Prunella’s short-term memory is severely affected as she frequently can’t remember things she did or said just a few minutes earlier.
Tim’s career is still blooming as viewers might recognise him best from the soap EastEnders, when he was the patriarch of Albert Square, Stan Carter, until five years ago.
More recently, he was landowner Jeremy Lister in BBC1’s period drama Gentleman Jack this year, and Private Godfrey in a trio of Dad’s Army remakes.
WHAT IS DEMENTIA? THE KILLER DISEASE THAT ROBS SUFFERERS OF THEIR MEMORIES
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of neurological disorders
A GLOBAL CONCERN
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders (those affecting the brain) which impact memory, thinking and behaviour.
There are many different types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common.
Some people may have a combination of types of dementia.
Regardless of which type is diagnosed, each person will experience their dementia in their own unique way.
Dementia is a global concern but it is most often seen in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live into very old age.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED?
The Alzheimer’s Society reports there are more than 900,000 people living with dementia in the UK today. This is projected to rise to 1.6million by 2040.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting between 50 and 75 per cent of those diagnosed.
In the US, it’s estimated there are 5.5 million Alzheimer’s sufferers. A similar percentage rise is expected in the coming years.
As a person’s age increases, so does the risk of them developing dementia.
Rates of diagnosis are improving but many people with dementia are thought to still be undiagnosed.
IS THERE A CURE?
Currently there is no cure for dementia.
But new drugs can slow down its progression and the earlier it is spotted the more effective treatments are.
Source: Alzheimer’s Society