EastEnders actress Michelle Collins has said she hopes Dame Barbara Windsor’s Alzheimer’s revelation will lead to more funding for the disease.
Dame Barbara, 80, first learned she had Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, but her husband Scott Mitchell revealed last week that she had been keeping it a secret until now, as her symptoms have grown worse in recent weeks.
Speaking at the Bafta TV Awards, Collins told of her sadness at hearing the Albert Square matriarch had the illness.
She told the Press Association: “I haven’t really seen Barbara for a while and I texted Scott, I’ve known Barbara, really really (for), a long time it’s really sad… it’s becoming a really big problem and it’s sad for someone like Barbara, (she’s) always been very out there and bubbly as we know her.
“But hopefully she’s on medication and she’s got Scott to look after her, but it’s a terrible, cruel disease and I think we need to put more money into finding (how) we can do something about it.”
She continued: “I think he’s (Scott) done it because I think he wanted to raise awareness.
“I think it’s important that people know about it and hopefully people may become more aware of it and donate more money to it.
“It’s very sad someone so vibrant and lively, but thankfully she’s got Scott, he’s stood by her side for years and years and years.”
Collins was among a host of small screen stars at London’s Royal Festival Hall for the ceremony, including Declan Donnelly, Amanda Holden and Thandie Newton.
The event will see prizes given out in categories including drama, leading actor and actress and soap.
Leading actor nominee Jack Rowan said he was “pinching himself “ at being recognised for his performance as a psychopathic teenager in Channel 4 series Born To Kill.
“It’s the first Baftas I’ve ever been to so to actually be here and be nominated is beyond me,” he said on the red carpet.
Rowan said the role was particularly special because “it was the first time that anyone took a risk on me”.
“It was the first lead role I ever got,” he said.
“A character that, although he was doing all the cold stuff and all these horrible acts, I found that I never judged him and I found something in the character and wanted to make him likeable.
“The opportunity to make a psychopath killer likeable was exciting.
“I’m just glad they went with me.”
Love Island’s Marcel Somerville was also among the early arrivals and enthused about the ITV reality series being nominated in Virgin TV’s must-see moments at the Baftas.
He told Roman Kemp: “If I get to hold a Bafta, I feel like I’ve achieved something”.
Talking about the nominated moment, which saw Stormzy featured on Love Island, he said: “It was crazy, it was nice to know we touched all kinds of people with the show, so it’s cool man.”
The Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards are being hosted by Sue Perkins.