The Trouble With Dad - an affecting look at dementia

David Baddiel (right) with brother Ivor (left) and dad Colin
David Baddiel (right) with brother Ivor (left) and dad Colin
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Caring for a sick relative is hugely difficult. Whatever they’re suffering from, the carer is faced with the gradual loss of the person they recognise as their father, grandmother, husband or daughter.

The problem for comedian David Baddiel was working out where his father Colin ended, and where his condition – a form of dementia called Pick’s disease – began.

As The Trouble With Dad (Channel 4, Tuesday, 9pm) revealed, Colin had been quite a difficult man to live with, as David put it, he lived for the “bantz”. Never showing physical – or verbal – affection for his three sons, prone to terrifying rages, and never one to shy away from foul language.

The Pick’s disease had only worsened the language, turning off any kind of inhibitors in Colin’s brain.

You would think growing up with this tyrant would put anyone off caring for him in old age, yet David and his two brothers still clearly loved Colin, despite carrying the scars of their childhood.

It was this that came across most clearly, that while they had experienced a problematic upbringing, the brothers credited Colin for giving them much that was positive. In fact, it was Colin’s slow descent into silence and lethargy that most affected them –they missed the swearing and the verbal abuse.

This loving, affecting documentary also showed how dementia comes in many forms, as David said, it’s not all bath chairs and tartan blankets, and he hoped to raise awareness of this.

But what most stood out was how many people, without the resources of the Baddiels, cared for their loved ones with stoicism, compassion and, most of all, love.

Much has been muttered about the problems hearing the dialogue in SS-GB (BBC1, Sundays, 9pm). My advice, turn the subtitles on, and enjoy a proper, old-school thriller, mumbles and all.

I know I’ve mentioned several times, but Taboo (BBC1, Saturdays, 9.15pm) comes to what promises to be a filthy, foul-mouthed and hugely entertaining end this weekend. Catch up and watch it.