Timothy West shares update on Prunella Scales's dementia battle as star recalls harrowing first sign of illness

Timothy West shares update on Prunella Scales's dementia battle as star recalls harrowing first sign of illness

WATCH NOW: Prunella Scales and Timothy West discuss living with dementia

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 15/11/2023

- 11:09

Updated: 15/11/2023

- 11:22

The actors recently marked their 60th wedding anniversary

Legendary actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales have sat down together for a joint televised interview to share an update on how life is living with the latter's vascular dementia.

EastEnders and Gentleman Jack icon West and Fawlty Towers legend Scales have been married for 60 years and almost a third of that time has seen Scales live with the illness.

"It has been something which we bear in mind all of the time, really," West admitted. "It's just something you have to think of. People understand and are very helpful and sympathetic about it."

Scales was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2014 but it was over a decade earlier that West admitted he spotted the first signs of something being out of place.

In their latest interview, West recalled how he watched his wife perform in a play in the early noughties when he had his attention drawn to his wife's behaviour.

Recalling the devastating moment, West said: "I thought, 'Pru's a bit strange. Not totally with it.'

Timothy West and Prunella Scales have been married

Timothy West and Prunella Scales have been married for six decades


"It wouldn't have bothered any ordinary member of the audience, but I knew that she had just not quite been on top of it."

West went on to reveal the words the specialist gave to him when he confirmed the news of his wife's diagnosis in 2014.

"(They) said, 'Sorry this is just something which happens to you when you are older and it's not going to get any easier, but you can cope with it. Don't let it get you down.'," West said, before insisting it hadn't changed their relationship at all.

However, as their sit-down interview with the BBC continued, West did take a moment to look to the future and discuss his wife's wellbeing.

He conceded: "I know that things are going to change a little bit, but it's been a long time and we've managed pretty well really.

"I don't think we ever think, 'Oh no'," he added to which Scales defiantly echoed: "No I don't. Not ever."

The pair garnered floods of praise for their candid and touching interview with TV viewers at home, with many left in tears at their bond after six decades of marriage.

While Scales has enjoyed a decorated career on the screen and stage - notably as Sybil Fawlty alongside GB News presenter and The Dinosaur Hour host John Cleese in Fawlty Towers - she and her other half's time on-screen in recent years has been on Channel 4's Great Canal Journeys.

Timothy West and Prunella Scales

Timothy West and Prunella Scales step out together in 2017


For 10 series, the husband and wife duo have explored Britain's canals alongside a host of famous guests including Sheila Hancock and Gyles Brandreth.

They've also been joined by their two sons Joseph West and Samuel West in the show - although the latter has been dedicating much of his work diary to Channel 5 success All Creatures Great and Small.

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