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Timothy West: Life with Prunella Scales ‘not changed’ in 60 years of marriage

Timothy West has said that life with Prunella Scales has not “changed at all” in 60 years of marriage.

Stage and television actor West, and Scales, known for playing Sybil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers, were wed in 1963.

Ninety-one-year-old Scales was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2014 and West said this was something they “manage” as a couple.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast about how their life had changed over the course of 60 years, the 89-year-old actor said: “I don’t think it’s changed at all.”

He added: “I know that things are going to change a little bit but it’s been a long time and we’ve managed to do well.”

Scales, meanwhile, said that she had got to know her husband “better and better and better” over the course of their lifetime.

West revealed that it was more than a decade before his wife’s diagnosis that he first noticed signs of dementia.

Theatre Awards UK – London
Scales said she had got to know her husband ‘better and better and better’ over their years together (Yui Mok/PA)

He said: “I came to see a play that Prue was doing in Greenwich.

“I went to see the first night, it was fine, it was good: much enjoyed by the audience.

“And then I went to see it again, a bit later on, and I thought Prue’s a bit strange she’s not totally with it.”

He added: “We went to see a specialist who just said, ‘I’m sorry. This is just something that happens to you when you get older, and it’s not going to get any easier but you can cope with it’. We manage.”

Speaking about how they first met, West revealed that the couple used to write each other up to three letters a day.

He said: “We were doing a terrible play. Yes.

“We used to keep talking to each other through letter writing.”

He added: “We both loved writing to each other, sometimes two or three times a day.”

In celebration of their diamond anniversary, West recently penned the memoir Pru And Me: A Love Story, where West charts the course of their life, including Scales’s dementia diagnosis.

Together the couple filmed 10 series of Channel 4 programme Great Canal Journeys, which saw them travel across the UK and other parts of the world exploring different waterways.

West is known for his theatre and TV credits and most recently starred in the 2019-2022 TV series Gentlemen Jack playing Jeremy Lister.