Pam St. Clement was "shocked" when she found out her friend Dame Barbara Windsor had told the nation she has been suffering with Alzheimer's Disease.

Pam St Clement

Pam St Clement

The former 'EastEnders' star - who was known for playing Pat Butcher in the long-running soap until 2012 - has admitted she knew about the 80-year-old actress' battle with the illness for a while but was surprised when she discovered her husband Scott Mitchell had announced it today (10.05.18) - four years after she was first diagnosed.

Speaking on 'Loose Women' on Thursday, Pam said: "My thoughts are with both of them. I haven't seen Barbara for a few months. This came as a shock, but it came as a welcome one. She done exactly the right thing by going public."

Barbara - who left 'EastEnders' in 2016 - first noticed something was wrong with her memory when she began to struggle to learn her lines.

Pam, 75, said: "Barbara, like myself, has always had to work hard to learn her lines anyway. Maybe it happened like it happens to many of us."

The 'Carry On' star has been in a "definite continual confusion" since she turned 80 last August, and while she enjoys going out for walks, Scott - who has been married to the actress for 18 years - admitted she feels "a kind of shame" about the diagnosis.

He added: "I hope speaking out will help other families dealing with loved ones who have this cruel disease. Secondly, I want the public to know because they are naturally very drawn to Barbara and she loves talking to them.

"So rather than me living in fear she might get confused or upset, they'll know that if her behaviour seems strange, it's due to Alzheimer's and accept it for what it is."

Barbara has now retired from charity work as well as acting as a result of the disease.