Gerry Anderson has revealed he has diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at a charity walk launch. (
Gerry Anderson has revealed he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at a charity walk launch. (

The creator of the classic TV series Thunderbirds, Gerry Anderson, has revealed he has been living with Alzheimer's Disease for the past 18 months.

The 83-year-old writer and director spoke about his condition publicly for the first at the launch of an Alzheimer's Society's Memory Walk on 28 June.

He said: ''I was upset when I found out I had dementia but I try to stay positive and enjoy every day. My dementia hasn't just affected me; it's affected my friends and family too.''

Anderson, who also created the hugely popular 1960s puppet shows Stingray, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and Joe 90, said it was his family who first noticed something may be wrong.

Speaking on BBC Berkshire he said: "I don't think I realised at all. It was my wife, Mary, who began to notice that I would do something quite daft like putting the kettle in the sink and waiting for it to boil.

"Finally I was persuaded to go and see the doctor and eventually I was confronted with the traditional test - a piece of paper with drawings on it, taking a pencil and copying them.

"I thought 'Why are they doing this? A child could do this'.

"But when I started to copy the drawings, that wasn't the case. I started to get in a muddle. That's when I began to realise that there was something wrong."

Anderson, who lives in Henley-on-Thames, described how not being able to drive anymore was "the biggest blow of all".

"That virtually took away my freedom. It meant that I couldn't go to Pinewood Studios where I worked and this depressed me enormously, because my film work was my life.

"Suddenly my life was cut off. Since I've had Alzheimer's I've realised how debilitating it is. It can affect your life in so many ways that you don't think about."

Alzheimer's Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes said: 'We're so grateful to Gerry for supporting Memory Walk. By speaking out about his dementia he's spreading the message much further that it can happen to anyone."

Anderson will be taking part in the Windsor Memory Walk with his son Jamie on 13 October in support of the Alzheimer's Society, which is encouraging people to sign up for the walks that will take place around England.

There are currently 800,000 people with dementia in the UK and there will be over a million people with dementia by 2021, according to the Alzheimer's Society.