All Creatures Great and Small’s Samuel West on mum Prunella Scales’ dementia diagnosis

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All Creatures Great and Small star Samuel West, who plays Siegfried Farnon, recently opened up about his mother’s dementia diagnosis. Prunella Scales is best known for her role as Sybil in Fawlty Towers and ended her 67-year acting career in early 2020 following her 2014 diagnosis. Samuel recently opened up about his mother’s condition and revealed the comedy she still ensues.

Speaking on the Welcome to Yorkshire Talkshire podcast with Caroline Nickle, Samuel spoke about the future of the show, his childhood and gave an insight into his mother’s health.

Caroline asked: “We mentioned your mum, Prunella Scales, earlier a great actress who has played many roles as has your father, Timothy West.

“We have seen them most together recently during their Great Canal journey on TV, but for me and I’m sure for many of us, Sybil in Faulty Towers is just one of the funniest reels on TV.

“But is this a character that most people refer to when they mention your mum?”

Samuel laughed and explained: “I suppose so yes. My mum, as you may know, has got dementia, and I mean, she was always quite forgetful about parts she played.

“I remember quoting bits of Sybil to her, and she would laugh and say, ‘That’s funny who said that?’ And I say, ‘You did!’

“Verbatim recall of a character’s speeches, I suppose is the holy grail for any actor, I never achieved it, but she certainly has.

“That’s quite a thing, I think if you are part of something that has that longevity and still plays so well!”

 Prunella and her husband Timothy were forced to quit their Channel 4 TV show, Great Canal Journeys, due to her ailing health in January 2020.

The show documented journeys Prunella and Timothy would take on narrowboats across Europe, Egypt, and India.

Samuel recently told The Mirror: “She still recognises us, and she knows I have two children, so that’s really good.

“You can never quite tell with dementia what sort of personality it’s going to leave a person with, but on the whole, she’s quite cheery.

“At the moment, I’m interviewing them both about their lives because I want to write a book. “

In 2015, Timothy revealed to The Independent: “The sad thing is that you just watch the gradual disappearance of the person you knew and loved and were very close to if you live day to day, it is manageable.”

Samuel also revealed to Caroline there is a new series of All Creatures being made this year and was very excited about the prospect.

“We start next March [2022], God willing, and that will be pretty much to the model that we established this year, I think.

“Six episodes and a Christmas episode, so filming for four months from the beginning of March to the beginning of July.

“The dales at their best, and as we go into the third series, it’s 1939, and we had the hopes for peace, and we are heading into a war.

“Which will be seen very much through the working like of the community and through the working life through the preserves profession of the vets.

“But where that is going to go, I don’t know; we haven’t seen the scripts yet.”

All Creatures Great and Small is available to watch on My5. 

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