Harrowing Ross Kemp Documentary 'Living With Dementia Is Airing On ITV Tonight
Part of his Living With series, the two-part programme will explore the impact of living with dementia, which is currently Britain's biggest killer.
In a heartbreaking clip, he meets with former co-star Barbara Windsor's husband who describes how his wife struggles to recognise him thanks to her own battle with dementia. You can watch it here:
Filmed both before and during the UK lockdown, it will see the EastEnders hardman following in Louis Theroux's footsteps as he "immerses himself in situations to gain a first-hand taste of the issues contributors face", ITV said in a statement this morning.
As part of his research, Ross explores how the disease has affected his former 'Enders co-star Barbara, 82, when he meets with her husband Scott Mitchell.
Ross told The Sun how his 'heart sank' when Barbara - who played infamous landlady Peggy Mitchell on the soap - struggled to recognise him.
Describing how Alzheimer's - the most common form of dementia - has turned their lives upside down since Barbara's diagnosis six years ago, Scott says: "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 off the woman but it's not the Barbara I know, and you [do], that I live with."
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Ross also visits former actor Jerry Beckman, who has early onset dementia and Parkinson's disease, and lives with his family in Surrey.
Describing how the disease has impacted his mobility and his ability to work, Jerry says: "It's cruel...I don't know how [his wife is] still here. I wouldn't have got past step one without [her]."
Louisa, Jerry's wife, is his carer as well the family's sole breadwinner. She now has take on much of the responsibility of bringing up the pair's 12-year-old son, Jack, and tells Ross of the strain the disease has placed on their family.
"I feel huge guilt," says Louisa. "There are many different levels of guilt. I feel guilt because I can actually escape, I'm there caring for him but I go to work to do a job that I love and I'm very, very lucky to be able to do that."
Speaking about his latest venture, Ross said: "I've always believed that to understand a problem, you need to get as close to it as you possibly can.
"So I'm back meeting people who are living with some of the biggest issues facing Britain today. With almost 1 million people living with dementia, this is the first of two programmes where I'm meeting people battling with the disease."
Ross will follow up the two-part series with docs on people living on opioids and the UK's homelessness crisis.
Ross Kemp: Living With Dementia is on ITV on Thursday 11th June at 7.30pm
Featured Image Credit: Silver Star/Freshwater Films