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Thread: Fawlty Towers actress Prunella Scales has dementia

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    Default Fawlty Towers actress Prunella Scales has dementia

    Timothy West: My wife Prunella Scales can't remember films she's watched due to dementia

    Mark Jefferies 3 hrs ago

    (© Roy Jones/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) English actors Timothy West and his wife Prunella Scales in 1977.

    Acclaimed actor Timothy West has admitted his wife Prunella Scales can no longer remember films or plays immediately after watching them.

    In an emotional interview, the 81-year-old admitted heartbreak at watching the “gradual disappearance” of the former Fawlty Towers star Prunella.

    Tim said: “It’s not Alzheimer’s, it’s a related kind of dementia. The sad thing is you just watch the gradual disappearance of the person you knew and loved and were very close to.

    "A lot of her has left, but we still enjoy life and there’s still a lot Pru is able to enjoy and we are able to do together.

    It develops very gradually, if you live from day to day then it’s manageable, but it’s when you start thinking about the past; ‘What a shame she can’t do that anymore, or she can’t appreciate that anymore or we can’t talk about that anymore’. Then it’s sad.”

    Tim said he first realized a change in Prunella when she was appearing onstage in South East London.

    “It was a very long time ago and it has stunned everyone that it’s developed so slowly. It was a play that Pru was in at Greenwich.

    © Getty

    It wasn’t that Pru had forgotten her lines or didn’t say them properly, it was that I could see her thinking. I knew there was something wrong, for quite a long time we didn’t know what it was.”

    Since they went public and spoke about it he says people are “not rushing to employ her” but she still works doing radio voice overs, as well as starring alongside Tim in the Channel 4 series where they travel around by boat.

    Asked for the hardest part of her illness, he said: “Communication really. When we have been to a concert or to see a film, there’s not much we can say of it afterwards because Pru will have a fairly hazy memory of it.

    “She’ll have enjoyed her evening and will talk about the acting, but if we were talking about what the actual play was saying then she is not able to cope with that.

    “I should think it’s very frustrating for Pru but she’s very kind and doesn’t let on about it. It’s frustrating for me. I think we need each other very much, I am very conscious of it.”

    Paying tribute to his wife, he added: “She’s been absolutely vital to my life. We share the same idea about why we have stayed together so long - prolonged and frequent separations!

    “We look at that from different ways because I am a travel freak, I love traveling around but Pru would be very happy for all the acting to be done on the internet.

    "She says she doesn’t really like going out the front door to collect the milk in the morning. We do spend a lot of our lives apart so we are always very pleased to see each other.”

    (© Rex) The couple attending the Olivier Awards in 1990

    Speaking on ITV’s Life Stories with Piers Morgan, Tim also spoke about his unusual obsession for buying women’s clothes, and his friendship with Prince Charles.

    Tim admits he’s gets pleasure from buying clothes for women, some of which aren’t his wife.

    “I like shopping for ladies’ garments which will instantly give you the wrong impression, but I do. I’m very interested in female fashion. I like shopping. Not for underwear, just dresses, skirts, jumpers, I’m not so interested in shoes.

    Getting a nod from Prunella, he added: “I’m rather good at it, aren’t I?

    “We met through an old friend of ours, a very attractive girl, who said, ‘Oh I do like shopping with your husband, he’s so good, he’s bought me some lovely clothes’. I like buying clothes for other women.

    “I buy for 30 or 40 women. Prunelle doesn’t seem to mind, no. I buy them for her too.”

    (© Getty) Timothy West and Prunella Scales feature in Great Canal Journeys

    Turning to talk about another women in his life, Tim spoke of his first wife Jacqueline Boyer’s bipolar and their daughter Juliet. He says he is full of regret for not being in her life.

    It was partly physical because Jacqueline married again and went to live in South Wales, Juliet was with her so it was quite difficult to reach her.

    “Also, I think I must have put up a barrier, I thought it was going to be painful. I said it was all my fault, I’d rather make a clean cut and then let it gradually come together. I do feel guilty about it but I also feel sorrow that I missed the time that father should spend with their daughters, showing them about life and introducing them to things.

    “I blame myself. Juliet has been wonderful because she did have a very hard time trying to keep her mother together. She didn’t really feel she could make the leap to make friends with Pru and me, but thankfully it’s all ended happily.

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