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11/06/2020 10:05 BST | Updated 11/06/2020 10:05 BST

Barbara Windsor’s Deterioration ‘Shocking And Deeply Upsetting’, Says Ross Kemp

The former EastEnders star was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014.

Ross Kemp has said it has been “shocking” and “deeply upsetting” to see Dame Barbara Windsor’s condition deteriorate following her Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

The actor spoke of his distress at the effect the disease has had on his former EastEnders co-star and on-screen mum in a first-person piece for The Sun

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Barbara Windsor with Ross Kemp and fellow EastEnders star Steve McFadden

In the article, Ross descibed how Barbara – who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014 – sometimes does not know who he is.

He said: “I see her as often as I can – every couple of months before the lockdown – and the deterioration in her condition has been shocking and, to those of us close to her, deeply upsetting.”

Detailing one particular visit to her home, he said: “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... But now she clearly has no idea who I am.”

In the piece, which coincides with his new ITV documentary Living With Dementia, he also spoke to Barbara’s husband Scott Mitchell, who said: “It’s not the Barbara that I knew. It’s not my wife Barbara any more.

“I’m Barbara’s carer. I’m still her friend, you know, I still love the bones of the woman but it’s not the Barbara I knew… that I live with.”

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Barbara and husband Scott Mitchell

Earlier this year, Scott said Barbara’s condition had deepened, telling the Sunday Mirror: “I have to remember she doesn’t always realise it’s me. Sometimes she will say ‘Where is Scott? Do you know where my husband Scott is?’”

Her close friend Christopher Biggins also revealed she has been struggling with lockdown measures, as she can’t understand why people aren’t visiting her. 

He told The Sun: “She’s a little confused as to what’s going on because no one can visit her. She’s used to having a lot of visitors but now she’s asking why people have stopped coming to see her.

“It’s not because she thinks ‘they don’t like me’ because her husband Scott explains to her but she just forgets the explanation and she asks all the time.”