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Call the Midwife actress Judy Parfitt opens up about late husband's battle with dementia

Judy plays Sister Monica Joan in the show

Francesca Shillcock

Call the Midwife has been loved by viewers for many years for its heart-warming storylines, but it's also been hailed for touching on and raising awareness on more sensitive subjects. One of the show's stars, Judy Parfitt, echoed this notion when opening up about her late husband's battle with dementia.

Speaking on Thursday's Loose Women, Judy, 84, expressed how the show was relatable to viewers, and that the discussion around dementia was growing. "A lot of the programmes that are on, [there] is somebody killing somebody, or war, and I think people like to see something that people can identify with."

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Call the Midwife actress Judy sadly lost her husband in 2001

In the BBC drama, Sister Monica Joan was one of the first women to qualify as a midwife in Britain. Sister Monica, despite suffering with the early stages of dementia, has been a staple pillar in the Nonnatus family, and remains passionate about her work. On how important the inclusion of dementia is within the programme, Judy said: "I'm delighted it's getting more and more attention because it needs more and more attention. There are 850,000 people in the country suffering, and they think it's not long before it'll be a million. It doesn't have the resources, we need to raise money."

It's a subject that's close to the actress' heart as, not only does the character she's played on the show since 2012 have dementia, her late husband Tony Steedman suffered with the disease and sadly passed away in 2001. "I always said with my husband, I lost my husband that I loved, but I gained a child that I love because they become your children, and they're there physically, but they're not with you."

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Panellist Judi Love also bravely opened up on her mum's battle with dementia

She continued: "It's very important to talk about it, because the terrible thing with dementia, a lot of people find it very difficult to communicate with someone with dementia. It's difficult, you can talk to them and they can talk rubbish to you. It's very insidious, it climbs in very gently, and you either get on with it, or you give in."

READ: Call the Midwife cast: who plays who and what else they've been in

Loose Women panellist Judi Love also opened up about her experience with dementia, after losing her mum to the disease. Judi, who's a stand-up comedian and radio presenter, was overcome with emotion on the show. "My mum passed away from dementia, just that the spirit of the person's gone, you've got the shell, as a carer it's… I can't even explain the emotion, it's so draining."

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