David Baddiel throws a light on Pick’s Disease in his dementia documentary for Channel 4
The Trouble with Dad - Channel 4 - Monday 20th February
Controversy is not something that frightens comedian David Baddiel. He has spoken before publicly about his family's' relationship difficulties in his stage show My Family : Not the Sitcom. But in his latest film for Channel 4 he goes a step further - actually putting his dementia-affected father in front of the camera.
And this, he realises, may leave him open to criticism.
"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,” Baddiel told the Radio Times, “I’m perfectly happy if people want to say ‘That is not OK’, because maybe it isn’t.
But the alternative is that nobody ever talks about this, and we must. Dementia is an epidemic – the largest killer of older people, bigger than cancer. We must bring that into the light.”
In The Trouble with Dad he aims to raise awareness of the condition by revealing the reality of his Dad's illness.
Colin, his Dad, suffers from Pick's Disease, a rare form of dementia which affects the frontal lobes of the brain that control language and emotions. Symptoms get worse over time and often include difficult behaviours such as incessant swearing, sexual disinhibition and extreme rudeness.
The film focuses on the impact of dementia on the relationship between Colin and David and his brother Ivor.
Visits to his father can be exhausting he admits. “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."