The Fear – a dementia-care specialist's verdict

This show is horribly violent but it's useful for viewers to see a character with dementia who's difficult and unlikable, says dementia-care specialist Ian Weatherhead

People diagnosed with dementia need information above all else. Often there can be a gap of six or even 12 months between diagnosis and follow-up appointment: many calls made to the dementia helpline I work for are from people in that early, anxious period. So a TV programme like this – about a Brighton gangster, Richie Beckett (Peter Mullan), who has dementia – has a role to play in helping people access information about the condition.

This show could be very destructive for any viewers in the early stages of dementia – I'd hate them to think this is what it's really like. The show's horribly violent, and Richie is a very extreme case: a mobster psychopath, whose aggressive tendencies seem to worsen as his condition progresses. Dementia can
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