Presented by Ayo Akinwolere. Veteran radio presenter Ed Doolan reveals his daily battle with dementia and why he is determined to stay on air as long as he can.
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This week, we look at electric stun guns
used by police and ask, are
front line officers becoming too quick to draw their Tasers?
I felt the electricity in my body and
my body went to jelly and I fell straight on the floor.
A legendary radio presenter who has always
fought for the rights of the man on the street
is facing his biggest battle ever - against dementia.
Should I be getting strange signals or is
I don't know what normal is any more.
There's more surprising stories from right across
the West Midlands.
I m in Birmingham, the home of Aston Villa, the club
where striking legend Dalian Atkinson made his name.
Last summer, Dalian was tasered by police in Telford.
He died shortly after.
Dalian's is one of several deaths linked to the use
of Tasers and an even more
powerful version of the weapon is in the pipeline.
Qasa Alom has been investigating what's being done to make sure
police get it right.
This is a Taser ? it s a type of stun gun.
It looks like a brightly coloured pistol, but Tasers
are promoted as a less lethal alternative to firearms.
When fired, wires linked to the handset conduct 50,000
volts into the body.
The electric shock will stop suspects in their tracks -
buying police a few seconds to bring violent situations
under their control.
Tasers are used in more than 100 countries and one is deployed
somewhere in the world every two minutes.
The idea is simple enough and they re clearly popular.
But they re also controversial.
Tasers have been found to play a part in the deaths of two men in
And investigations into eight other cases are still under way
including Dalian Atkinson s.
And it s been proven that sometimes police do get it wrong.
That s what happened to Ivan Martin.
Police called at hs home in February 2011,
they were looking for someone else
but mistook his identity.
He was a totally innocent man.
All three of them are coming through the door now.
So I went to go to the kitchen and the
next minute I know, I felt these two little
bullets for whatever going
into my back.
I turned round and as I turned round, I could see these
two wires attached to my back.
I felt the electricity in my body and
my body went to jelly and I fell straight on the floor.
Do you have any idea why they fired the Taser
in the first place?
Looking at it today, there's three of them and one
I haven't got a weapon on me, I haven't threatened them, I'm just
answering their questions.
Shoot first, ask questions later, that is
If you're going to deploy a Taser, deploy it at people
that have no alternative.
If the man's got a gun and is going to
shoot a police officer, yes, pull out the Taser.
For a one-to-one talk when you're talking
to someone on the doorstep, why do you need to Taser someone?
I don't get it.
In fact officers from West Midlands Police Force got it
so wrong that Ivan was awarded compensation in court.
Did you ever get an apology?
I got an apology, not from those three.
If they're going to pull out their Taser and Taser
somebody, there has to be consequences for them.
We brought up Ivan s concerns with West Midlands Police
but they told us they can t comment on individual cases.
Ivan said Tasers should only be used in life-threatening
situations and originally, that was exactly what
they were meant for.
Introduced in this country in 2004, at first Tasers were only given
to firearms officers as an alternative to using lethal
force, such as guns.
But four years later, that changed so other specially
trained officers, this time without a background in firearms,
were also allowed to use them.
That means Taser use has become much more common.
So why are Tasers the weapon of choice for police?
I'm about to meet David Davis, a Conservative MP,
but he was a Special Constable for nine years so he's got
the policing experience and he can really see the
benefits of Tasers.
If officers are using a teaser instead of a baton,
that's a good sign, because it's better to be hit
with a Taser than a baton.
Are you sure about that?
I'm certain about it.
Because people could hurt themselves as a
consequence of being Tasered?
Yes they could but a baton is not that
controllable because you make the mistake of thinking
that a police officer who is
trained to strike somebody on the leg at the gym is going to be
able to do that when confronted with a
violent person not in the gym but out on the street.
Arms, legs everywhere and people not doing what
they're meant to do.
The adrenaline is going so much that your hands are
shaking and you can't write notes for an hour afterwards.
It's not a nice situation to be in and honestly,
the people I work with, 99.99% just want to go home of an evening.
Resolving violence in the most peaceful way is something
Amnesty International UK wants to see.
They think Tasers should be used as they were first intended -
for life or death situations - and what they re most worried
about is the lasting effects on someone who s been Tasered.
I think of one person who was Tasered and his
description of what happened was, he felt he was burning up from the
inside, like his insides were being boiled alive.
And that s been part of the controversy.
In some cases, Tasers can leave a lasting impact.
And recently, it s been proven they're being used more often.
In England and Wales
in 2015 outside of London, Tasers were used the most by police
here in the West Midlands region as a whole with 1,548 deployments.
That s about 15% of the total.
But a Taser won t have been fired
often just drawing or pointing the handset has the desired effect.
Because Tasers are being used more frequently, complaints have also
gone up and that s something Staffordshire Police
in particular are working on.
They ve cut Taser use in half over the last three years,
after being criticised for using them too much.
I want to know what s changed.
I instigated a review into the way Tasers is used and the
police, I think, looked at themselves,
they looked at the way they were
using Taser and I think it just worked.
Some things you can't entirely explain, that extra
scrutiny is in place, that body cams are being used when Taser
is used now just really sharpens that mind.
And he s convinced these bodycams have made the difference.
Very quickly I saw the benefit of body cams where it was a black
and white decision.
Since 2014 all police officers in staffordshire have had body cams
and PCSOs and specials and it has changed
the relationship and there it is.
Not statements, but disagreements, it is
there in pictures and audio.
Video camera OK?
Matthew thinks body cam worn video is part of the solution to solving
issues with Taser use
so I want to see one up close for myself.
You just push the red switch down and when you want to switch it
off, push the red switch back up again.
I'm surprised at how sharp the picture is and the benefits are
just as clear.
It's safer for the public, for the police officers if
they're wearing them.
No one can dispute what is said or done if it's all
So we know body cams are an essential bit of kit in
Staffordshire but are other West Midlands forces on board as well?
These guys are going to be using them, too,
specifically alongside Tasers.
We'll have a system by which is a Taser is deployed, it
will automatically trigger the body worn camera
so that the officer is
filmed in what he is doing and everything is there for a senior
officer to look at or for me to scrutinise in terms
of work the police do.
OK, that's two West Midlands Policing authorities on
board with body worn video but what about
the West Mercia Police Force?
It was officers from here who have been swept up the latest Taser
controversy, the death of Dalian Atkinson.
The circumstances surrounding the death of the ex Aston Villa
footballer is still under investigation so although I'm here
to meet the Police Commissioner, he can't talk about Dalian but there's
plenty more I'd like to ask him.
I've been reassured that on every Taser
deployment, there is the appropriate investigation and understanding of
the facts of why it was drawn which gives reassurance to my community
that it's only being drawn when necessary.
I also see body worn video as being essential so we will over
the next 12 months ensure it is rolled out
across the force.
These things do take time.
We have to invest in infrastructure and architecture that
sits underneath the technology.
I could organise the kit that they wear tomorrow
but the ability to be able to store the images and manage
the images afterwards do take a while to get that investment.
At the moment, how many officers are actually
wearing body cams?
We don't currently have body worn video in the
I think our front line officers want it, they don't
understand why we haven't delivered it yet and I think it's a failing of
the organisation that we haven't.
Is that good enough?
It isn't good enough, no, and thats
why I've got the project moving.
Since speaking to us, the Commissioner, elected last May,
has agreed a ?1 million contract for
body worn video so to the police in West Mercia will be kitted out this
Different forces have different policies but that is
It seems only a matter of time before every officer armed with
a Taser is also wearing a body cam.
You can drop us a tweet - @bbciowm.
If you've missed any of the films, why not head over to the iPlayer?
And it s [email protected] if you d like to get in touch.
A couple of million people live in Birmingham and the Black Country
and over the last 40 years, many of their lives have been
touched by one radio legend.
Broadcaster Ed Doolan.
But Ed is now bravely facing by far his biggest
battle ? against dementia.
He opened up about how it s affecting him and about how he s
determined to stay behind that microphone just as long
as he possibly can.
Australian born broadcaster Ed Doolan is a radio hero.
He is just such a sociable person.
He is seen as part of the DNA of the West
He's a broadcasting legend.
He's an institution really.
He revolutionised local radio.
Born in Sydney in 1941, the young Doolan only ever had one
dream ? to make it in radio.
The most wonderful job and I wanted it.
Eventually I got it, but wow!
Ed began his UK radio career at Birmingham 's commercial
station, BCMB, before moving to the BBC in 1982.
He made a name for himself championing the rights of his
listeners and taking on some of the big corporations.
His success on radio led to similar TV programmes
but it wasn't just consumer rights that kept him busy, during his
career, he also interviewed just about everyone going.
A lovely man.
But all good things come to an end and in 2011,
Ed decided to call time on his daily radio show.
No one would have begrudged him a happy
retirement but life was about to deal him a cruel blow.
I started to notice that driving was becoming
There were several times when he came
home and the side of the
car had been grazed because he hadn't been able to judge
an entry or exit from the car park.
Eating is fine except until you look down and
realise that there's a goodly amount of it on the floor.
These were early warning signs and in 2012
Ed was formally diagnosed with vascular dementia, the second most
common form of dementia after Alzheimer's.
It was hard hearing the news but it made sense of a lot of
the things they had been living through.
We began to realise there were some things he had covered up
for some time.
One of the things that sticks in my mind is when we
used to go to restaurants and he would say to friends, oh, Chris
knows what I want.
So I would choose his food.
Maybe it was the reading of the menu or making the decision
as to what to have, but he was finding a way
round that process.
Dementia takes many forms and it's believed there are over 850,000
people living with one form or another in the UK today.
Many sufferers find even simple everyday
tasks become challenging.
You do find that the use of the toilet, the
use of different implements in toilets and other things like that,
I don't have to draw you pictures do I?
Ed and his wife's world changed.
Life was now a mixture of medical appointments, prescription drugs
and the challenges that come from living
One of the consultants Ed sees regularly is
It's a chance for Ed and Chris to discuss his
medication but it also chance for Ed to say how he's really finding life.
Should I be getting strange signals, or is everything normal?
I don't actually know what normal is any more.
Living with dementia isn't easy but it's important to realise it
doesn't have to be the end of life as you
People with dementia, especially when diagnosed early on,
can maintain the function for a very long time.
If we diagnose the dementia early, get the support early, people
can live well with dementia.
Dementia is not the end of the road, it is a journey.
In fact, Ed is managing his dementia so well, he is
remarkably still broadcasting on BBC WM.
It's only once a week and it's a pre-recorded show but even so,
it's pretty incredible.
I was capable for many years, just to sit down, if it's
a script, go for it.
If it isn't a script, go for it anyway.
Ed was even known as One Take Doolan.
She was filming the third series of...
It's a little different today though.
A lovely day it was when they filmed it...
Now I have to do it with some help and we don't do it in one take any
The producer has worked with Ed since the 90s.
I can read his mind most of the time, I know
exactly what he's going to next because we've been working
together for so many years.
Back in 2005...
I think it's great for him.
When he comes in, he's in the zone and it's something he can look
forward to, something he can think about each week.
And there's something else for Ed to start
thinking about, too.
Regular listeners to the radio station will
know that for more than 20 years, Ed has been hosting
the annual Ed Doolan
Christmas show at the Birmingham Symphony Hall.
A live show featuring top music and comedy acts.
It's August and it's time to start planning.
We're about to announce on the air that we've got another
Symphony Hall show, Christmas show.
Ed is excited and keen to be as involved as possible but he knows
he's going to need some help.
It's going to be in September.
No, it isn't.
It would help if I remembered the date!
To help oversee things, BBC producer Adma Bridge
has stepped in, something Ed is very grateful for.
Oh yes because I need someone.
Although the show has been going for over 20
years, there's a lot riding on it this time.
I've been saying for the last little while that this is the
I suppose it's possible this might be the last Christmas
I think doing this one will be a pretty good challenge.
If he feels he can't contribute in the way that
he would wish to, then he won't go.
Back in the day, it wasn't just Ed's name on the ticket.
He organised everything.
Nowadays, it's a joint effort with Adam.
Ed's thing is more about the comedy more than
That's his forte.
Whereas I tend to look after the music
because of it's too contemporary, Ed hasn't got a clue about that.
But there's one act Ed in particular is keen to sign.
Have you heard yet back from Jasper?
I haven't heard.
Jasper Carrot and Ed Doolan are great friends but
they can't even get hold
of him at the moment.
He doesn't accept anonymous calls.
I'll try his mobile.
They'll just have to treat keep on trying.
It's October and there are six weeks until the show.
Ed is back home and he's not finding life particularly
It's just difficult at the moment.
Yesterday I noticed you put your shoes on the wrong feet.
It just means that essentially, the order of things and his way
of doing things are all jumbled up sometimes,
So, life's not without its challenges but just when Ed
needs a distraction, he gets one.
His sister, Barbara, has come all the way
over from Australia and you
know what brothers and sisters can be like!
He treats me the same now as he did when I was his little sister,
sitting on the floor, playing monopoly with him
when he had to be the banker.
You've been talking to my sister?
She's charming, delightful.
I can't remember why!
How can you be horrible?
Look at your darling little sister.
It's only been five months since her last visit
but she has seen a big change.
I thought at first it was only physically,
that he was having more trouble
walking but it's not, it's also mental deterioration
in that time but it's sad,
very sad to see.
He'll watch the same TV programme over and over
again, forget he's watched it.
Day-to-day life is hard for Ed but also hard for Chris.
There are approximately 700,000 carers in
the UK looking after loved ones with dementia.
This is expected to rise to 1.7 million by 2050.
He is so dependent on her and she's so wonderful.
It's fantastic but as hard as it is for
Christine and as sad as it is for me to watch it,
it must be worse for him because he's aware.
Ed is back in the BBC for another meeting with Adam.
Things are taking shape for the show and most of the tickets have gone
It's still not even November.
We've got an orchestra which are a 56 piece,
a bunch of singers from Britain's Got Talent.
There's a few more in the pipeline.
Just trying to get sorted.
One or two biggies.
But there's still no work from Jasper,
but for Chris, that's not the most important thing.
Whenever we see the doctor, one of the first things he
always asks about is his work and he's always delighted that Ed is
still working because obviously it is very important and it is the man
that Ed has always been.
Dementia sufferers are generally advised to
keep as active as they possibly can.
You don't need to host a sell-out Christmas show,
but anything you can do to keep your mind ticking over
can really help.
Something Ed's living proof of.
To be able to do the work that he's doing is the greatest
The day of the show finally arrives.
After months of organising, there's no turning back.
You could push!
Come on, behave yourself, I'm absolutely fine.
Whilst the engineers and crew rig the stage,
Ed heads to his dressing
room where he finds old mate and fellow radio
star Les Ross waiting.
The Christmas show to me is keeping Ed company in the dressing room.
It's only a break in my Christmas shopping, you understand!
Although Ed no
longer compares the whole show, he'll still be
going on stage to welcome
the audience, a daunting prospect for a dementia sufferer,
particularly when you're having a bad day.
We were also talking about dementia and I wanted you to know that
it's in full kick today.
Really good stuff.
I think he's a bit apprehensive, quite anxious in the
weeks coming up to it but now we're here and he's confident that it's
There's an audience and it's all coming good.
The fans are arriving and they're here for one
Lovely to see you this morning!
No, it's not him!
It's the first time I've been to the Ed Doolan show.
I've been listening to Ed for over 30 years.
We listen to it on the radio usually and I enjoy his
old shows on a Sunday morning.
Caroline Martin who hosts the lunchtime show has the honour of
leading Ed on stage.
Fantastic colleague, somebody I've looked up to
I used to listen to him before I worked here so it's amazing
to be able to go out and introduce Ed and he's become
a good friend as well, so very proud.
It's time for the 2016...
And finally, after weeks of operation...
Please welcome to the stage, Caroline Marton
and the legend that is Ed Doolan!
Welcome to the Symphony Hall to the Ed Doolan Christmas show.
All these people, Ed.
Can I thank you very much for coming along?
That's the first thing.
Most experts would agree that dementia doesn't have enough
publicity and Ed is not going to waste an opportunity
to help out in that regard.
Who is involved with this wonderful dementia thing?
Who's got it?
With the moment Ed was most nervous about over, he and
Chris can enjoy the show and even the star act is about to arrive,
as if that was ever in doubt.
I can't do it, he's spoiled it!
There's 2,500 people out there and they didn't come for me.
They didn't know I was coming.
They're here for Ed.
His esteem in the business is enormous.
The esteem is hard-won.
It's over many years.
From Australia, all through his history.
It's a hard-won esteem and rRightfully so because it's
a very hard business but he's always
had a twinkle in his eye.
He's always had a sense of humour.
He endears himself even to the people
that he insults and berates.
That's a rare talent.
The show has been a huge success, as it always has
been, but will it be the last time?
I wish you well and we'll see you again next time.
Never say never!
The warmth from that audience, it was just
I was really moved by that.
His whole life since a tiny boy has been about being on the
radio and the fact that even for everything
that has happened, he's
still able to do that, it's just wonderful.
On a really bad day, I can fall!
You've got to live with it.
You can't run away with it.
It's what's happening to you now and you've got to embrace it
and truly make the best of it that you can because otherwise, where do
you go with it?
Both Ed and Chris know that life isn't going to get any
easier but they are living proof that you can still live well with
dementia and that's worth us all remembering.
That s Ed Doolan.
Ed, we all wish you the very, very best.
That s it for this week.
I dont know where we'll be next week you'll have to watch to find out.
I'll see you then.
Next week, the shocking abuse experienced by young girls
as they watch their favourite bands.
There s an epidemic of groping and sexual assault taking place
at concerts, including girls in their early teens.
So why isn t the security industry doing more to protect them?
That s here on Inside Out next Monday evening.
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When you make your living from your wits and your voice, dementia must the cruellest disease. In Inside Out West Midlands, veteran radio presenter Ed Doolan reveals his daily battle with dementia and why he's determined to stay on air as long as he can.