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Barbara Windsor’s husband, Scott Mitchell, has revealed the actress always has “instant recognition” when she sees the Queen Vic pub on the TV – despite her six-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Scott told The Sun on Sunday, “We watch every EastEnders episode. There’s always instant recognition when the theme tune comes on.”
While the disease is degenerative, Scott admitted he notices a difference in Barbara, 82, when the BBC1 soap she spent 23 years playing Peggy Mitchell on is on the television.
“We watch every EastEnders episode. There’s always instant recognition when the theme tune comes on,” he explained.
“Bar comes back then, although the first thing she usually says is, ‘Oh I haven’t seen this for ages’, even though we watch religiously.
“She’ll point at the Queen Vic and say things like, ‘I used to work behind that bar’, but she doesn’t always recognise the picture of her character Peggy behind the bar.”
While some memories are clear, Scott, 56, said the disease is “slowly” taking her away.
“There are plenty of people that she recognises instantly — Gillian Taylforth, Adam Woodyatt. But it’s so sad to see her being slowly taken away.”
Scott revealed Barbara’s devastating diagnosis two years ago in an attempt to raise awareness of the disease.
Giving an update on her progress, he added, “Barbara’s condition has deteriorated since this time last year and there is a very poignant, strong expression that is used about this illness which is the long goodbye, and I think that is what it is.
“I’d say there is a frailty about Barbara. She’ll forget that she’s eaten, so 20 minutes after I’ve made her dinner she will say to me, ‘What are we going to eat tonight?’
“And I then say, ‘No, we’ve just had dinner and you just had dessert’, and she’ll say, ‘I haven’t eaten’. And my conversation for the next ten minutes could be, ‘Yes, love, we did’, repeating to her what we ate,” he said.
“And she has some phrases she repeats time after time. She has a repetitive thing. Her most common one when we are at home is, ‘When are we going home?
“She will ask me, ‘Why are there pictures of me all around this room?’ She doesn’t recognise her location. She doesn’t recognise her front room. She thinks she’s somewhere else.
“She gets quite confused and upset now and says things like, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ because she always prided herself on having this wonderful memory.”