David Baddiel warns of dementia 'epidemic' as he launches film on disease impact

Comedian David Baddiel has called for the “epidemic” of dementia as a killer of older people to be given more public attention.

The 52-year-old, whose father Colin is housebound and receives 24-hour care, has made a television programme exploring the impact dementia has on close family members of sufferers.

He said creating The Trouble With Dad was hard but decided there must be a wider dialogue about the disease.

David told the Radio Times: “There is no situation where it is straightforwardly OK to put someone on camera who is not totally informed about it due to dementia, as is the case here.

“But the alternative is that nobody ever talks about this, and we must. It’s an epidemic – the largest killer of older people, bigger than cancer. We must bring that into the light.”

His father, 82, suffers from Pick’s disease – a rare type of dementia that can see sufferers become sexually disinhibited and prone to swearing and rude behaviour.

The film, set to air on Channel 4 in February, focuses on the relationship between Colin and David and his brother Ivor.

The comedian, who is probably best known for his work with Frank Skinner, said he feels “exhausted” after weekly visits with his father.

“He’s hard work. Some times he’s not too mad, but others he’s very thankless. He can be extremely exasperating”, adding: “He doesn’t understand who the kids are any more. He was never a cuddly grandpa. He doesn’t always know Ivor and me.

“He understands he has sons, and can recognise pictures of us from our teens, but he seems to think we should still look like that.”

This week’s Radio Times is on sale today.

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