Barbara Windsor has been through “a real dip lately” amid her battle with Alzheimer’s disease, according to one of her former EastEnders co-stars.
Rita Simmons, who played Windsor’s on-screen niece Roxy Mitchell in the long-running soap, has shared a heartbreaking update on the star’s health.
Speaking to the Daily Star, Simmons said: “From what her husband Scott Mitchell said to me, she has had a real dip lately.
“What I have seen is more confusion, which is really devastating to watch because she always had her marbles together and was always the life and soul of the room.
“It is an incredibly sad thought that my Aunty Peggy, which is what I’ve always called Barbara, isn’t herself.”
She added: “From what Scott says there are some dark days but they still have good days, too.”
Barbara’s husband Scott revealed her Alzheimer’s diagnosis last month, admitting she had actually been living with the disease since 2014.
Revealing the moment the 80-year-old actress, who also starred in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, found out the devastating news, Scott, 55, told The Sun at the time: “When the doctor told us, she began crying then held it back, stretched her hand out to me and mouthed, ‘I’m so sorry…’ I squeezed her hand back and said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll be OK’.”
Revealing his fear that his wife will be judged for her changing appearance in public, Scott added: “Rather than me living in fear she might get confused or upset, they’ll know that if her behaviour seems strange, it’s due to Alzheimer’s and accept it for what it is.”
Globally, as many as 44 million people are living with Alzheimer’s or related dementia. It typically impacts one in 10 people over the age of 65, although that number increases to one in three for people over 85.
Barbara famously played landlady Peggy Mitchell in UK soap EastEnders, which aired in Australia on the ABC from 1987 to 1991. She’s also a well known name right across the world, having begun her career on stage in 1950 at the age of 13, before going on to star in the Carry On films.