‘I looked around the ward and held up a pillow’: Anneka Rice, 63, reveals she nearly killed her father ‘out of love’ after seeing him battle Alzheimer’s for a decade
Anneka Rice has revealed she considered killing her father after watching him battle Alzheimer’s disease.
The presenter, 63, admitted she couldn’t bear to watch her dad suffer in hospital and considered suffocating him with a pillow, after he was diagnosed in 2005.
Anneka, who also revealed her mother began to show symptoms of dementia after her father’s funeral a decade later, added she couldn’t bring herself to end her dad’s life, saying murder ‘isn’t naturally in our DNA.’
Tough time: Anneka Rice has revealed she considered killing her father after watching him battle Alzheimer’s disease
Speaking on her Anneka Has Issues show on Radio 4, the Treasure Hunt presenter told listeners that her father was admitted to hospital with a broken hip in the midst of his dementia battle.
She said: ‘He was dazed and confused and it broke my heart. I’d visit every day, a three-hour round trip, and I remember vividly looking at my dad, usually so dapper, and now so broken in that hospital bed.
‘And I looked and I looked, deep into my soul, and I looked at the pillow and I took one of his pillows.
Emotional: The presenter admitted she couldn’t bear to watch her dad suffer in hospital and considered suffocating him with a pillow, after he was diagnosed in 2005
‘And I looked round the ward and I held the pillow up. And I wanted so much to help him on his way – as all our elderly parents say to us ”please don’t let me linger in pain”.
‘But when the time comes it’s almost impossible to do the deed. Murder I don’t think is naturally in our DNA.’
‘I told forensic anthropologist and general expert on death Dame Sue Black that I nearly murdered my dad.’
Hard: Anneka added she couldn’t bring herself to end her dad’s life, saying murder ‘isn’t naturally in our DNA’
Sue, who was a guest on the show, then added: ‘The one thing that connects what you wanted to do, which sounds like such a vicious act to most, is that it was through love.’
Anneka then revealed: ‘It was through deep love. A week after my dad died my mother developed the exact same symptoms.’
The Strictly Come Dancing star previously discussed her dad’s battle with dementia, telling Alzheimer’s Research UK: ‘In the throes of his dementia, the time of his life he liked to revisit in his head was visits to a health spa and we would spend hours in the sitting room queuing for the steam bath, wondering why the swimming pool wasn’t open.’
‘I grew up sharing his love for DIY and during his illness we’d spend hours looking at swatches of paint and choosing a colour for a tie or a shed. I asked him once, ‘Dad, what’s my name?’.
‘He looked at me tenderly and said ‘Dulux’, and inexplicably, this brought me comfort.’
Candid: It comes after Anneka revealed that looking at photos of herself recently left her feeling ‘horrified’, but added that she doesn’t feel any different now than she did 30 years ago (pictured in 1989)
It comes after Anneka revealed that looking at photos of herself recently left her feeling ‘horrified’, but added that she doesn’t feel any different now than she did 30 years ago.
The star made the comments as her most prolific 90s programme, Challenge Anneka, is set to return to the UK’s screens.
During episodes of the show, which ran on the BBC between 1989 and 1995, Anneka and her team of volunteers would take on complicated tasks against the clock, usually to raise money for charity.
Famous challenges, which she usually undertook while donning her trademark blue and pink jumpsuit, included the building of a swimming pool for orphaned seals and putting up a suspension bridge in Cornwall.
Thirty years on: The star made the comments as her most prolific 90s programme, Challenge Anneka, is set to return to the UK’s screens (Anneka is pictured in 2019)
Speaking in an interview with the Times, Anneka discussed how she has changed over the last three decades.
When told she still looked the same as when the show was first on television, she replied: ‘Look at those photos [we have just taken]. I was horrified.’
However, she added: ‘But the thing is I don’t really feel any different.’
Speaking about why the programme has been recommissioned, she said she believes it’s because the people now working in TV grew up watching the show.
‘I think it’s that the people who are now making television programmes remember it,’ she explained.
‘They were kids then. Now they’ve got the power. The commissioners at all these channels grew up on Challenge.’
Anneka announced in May that she would once again be fronting the programme, saying she hopes that the relaunched show will help to challenge stereotypes about gender roles on television, just as her original show did for female presenters.
Back on the road: Anneka announced that she would once again be fronting the programme, saying she hopes that the show will help to challenge stereotypes about gender roles
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