EastEnders actor Jake Wood has hailed his former co-star Dame Barbara Windsor and her husband Scott Mitchell as an amazing couple following their decision to reveal her Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Mitchell recently revealed the 80-year-old actress and former EastEnders stalwart was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in April 2014.
Wood, known for his role as Albert Square villain Max Branning, told Good Morning Britain: “I fully support their decision and totally understand it.
“I know they had the diagnosis in 2014 and Scott has, they’ve worked incredibly hard together to, I suppose you just sort of, you’re never sure how far it’s going to develop and how quickly, to keep it under… as quiet and as private as they can.”
Asked by Susanna Reid how Dame Barbara is faring, Wood said: “Ups and downs, good days and bad days.
“I’ve been in touch with Scott this week so, but it is incredible, they are just an incredible couple anyway and Scott’s got a lot of support around him.”
Soap star Wood, 45, is nominated in this year’s British Soap Awards in the villain of the year category and the BBC One soap has picked up a slew of other nominations – best single episode and best storyline – relating to Max.
Wood also told Piers Morgan and Reid: “I wish them (Dame Barbara and Scott) both really well and I think, someone told me, the donations to the Alzheimer’s Society have rocketed as a result, I think it’s amazing.”
The Alzheimer’s Society has been contacted for comment.
Another of Dame Barbara’s close friends, the actor Christopher Biggins, told ITV’s Lorraine that close friends of the actress had known about her diagnosis for “about four years”.
Biggins said: “It’s been happening very slightly, and I think it got to a point where I think Scott felt that he wanted to come out about it, because when he went out with her in the street people were coming up and she was getting confused.
“So I think he wanted the public to know, so that the confusion wouldn’t be there.”
He added: “She’s the best. I’ve known her for 40 years.”
Dame Barbara became known to EastEnders fans for her role as the formidable Peggy Mitchell.
She first appeared in the role in 1994 and played the character until 2010, after which she made occasional appearances before her character was killed off in 2016.