Hugh Dennis: ‘One in three of us will get dementia – we need to act’

Sixty Seconds Hugh Dennis

Hugh Dennis on raising awareness for dementia, career highlights and starting out in comedy (Picture: Getty / BBC / ITV /

Metro has teamed up with Alzheimer’s Society for Dementia Awareness Week to shine a light on the devastating disease and the work being done to combat it.

Among those joining the campaign is presenter and actor Hugh Dennis, 62, who was part of a hard-hitting storyline in his TV role as Pete in Outnumbered.

Hugh tells us about the experience of having a grandfather with early-onset dementia, why he’s a supporter of Alzheimer’s Society, and the reason raising awareness is so important.

One in three of us will get dementia in our lifetime.

We saw you recently at the Alzheimer’s Society’s international football match to help raise awareness about the disease…

(Credits: Fergus Burnett Photography)

Yes, I went to England versus Belgium at Wembley, which was great because I love football. But it was also nice to be there for the Alzheimer’s Society, who are the FA’s chosen charity. 

They raise money during games and use the matches to raise awareness. The sooner you get a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, the easier it is to treat, so they encourage people to do that.

The match really was a game of two halves, wasn’t it?

Yes, they did it cleverly.

The first half was like a normal football game with the England players all having names on the back of their shirts. And in the second half, they didn’t have names on them, to sort of go, ‘This is the kind of the thing you’d struggle with if you had Alzheimers,’ – because those are the type of things that disappear.

Why are you a supporter of Alzheimer’s Society?

Hugh Dennis helped write a dementia storyline on Outnumbered (Credits: Hat Trick Productions)

For various reasons. One in three of us will get the disease and huge numbers of the population are caring for people with dementia.

It’s important because it’s all tied in with what happens towards the end of your life, and as a society we haven’t really got anything nationally in place to deal with it other than the Alzheimer’s Society. But we need to do something about it.

My grandfather had what was, at that point, called early onset dementia – I think he got it in his 60s – so
I remember him and I’d experienced it that way.

But really I was approached because in the final series of Outnumbered, my character Pete’s father-in-law had dementia and he and his wife, Sue, were looking at the next steps for him. So I was involved in it script-wise, about the enormous problems of care and looking after someone who is living with dementia.

In terms of your career, you started out gigging at The Comedy Store with Steve Punt once you left uni…

Steve Punt and Hugh in 1992 (Credits: Getty Images)

We did, but that was a slightly odd thing because I also had a normal …read more

Source:: Metro


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