David Baddiel: Maybe it’s not OK to put my dementia-suffering father on camera – but the alternative is that nobody ever talks about this

The comedian’s new documentary, The Trouble with Dad, aims to raise awareness around the largest killer of old people

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David Baddiel has anticipated criticism of his new Channel 4 documentary, The Trouble with Dad, which focuses on his father’s dementia. 

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“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 latest issue of 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. It’s an epidemic – the largest killer of older people, bigger than cancer. We must bring that into the light.”

His father, Colin Baddiel, is among the less than five per cent of those with dementia who have Pick’s disease, where frontal lobe brain atrophy creates symptoms including incessant swearing, sexual disinhibition and extreme rudeness.

Baddiel and his two brothers have participated in The Trouble with Dad, which reveals the reality of their father’s condition.

The documentary will not be the first time Baddiel has made his parent’s struggles public. As those who have seen the comedian’s hugely successful stage show My Family: Not the Sitcom will know, his father’s dementia and his late mother Sarah’s long-running affair provide the material for his “twisted love letter” to his parents.

The Trouble with Dad is on Monday 20th February at 9pm on Channel 4

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Read the full interview with David Baddiel and his brother Ivor – in which they reveal the reality of living with Pick’s disease – in the new issue of Radio Times magazine, on sale in shops and via iTunes from Tuesday