Emmerdale's Ashley Thomas' 'funny' death
'Emmerdale's Ashley Thomas' death later this year will be lighthearted and humorous
'Emmerdale's Ashley Thomas' devastating death will be "warm and funny".
The confused vicar - who is played by John Middleton - will tragically lose his life over the festive season later this year following a bleak battle with dementia but, although fans have been warned to get their tissues ready, the show's producer Iain MacLeod is adamant the heartbreaking scenes will be a "celebration" of the loveable character.
Speaking to Inside Soap magazine, Iain said: "I've just signed off on the final version of the episode, in which Ashley dies and it's unbelievably beautiful. It's oddly joyous, actually - a celebration of the character.
"We didn't want to do a story where Ashley just absconded from a care home and was discovered dead from hypothermia or something, as that would be too bleak. In a story that is already desperately sad, we wanted to make this the best possible death. It's warm and funny, almost festive and boisterous. I couldn't be more proud of the script."
And it doesn't look like Ashley - nor John's incredible work - will be forgotten any time soon as Iain has teased that his funeral scenes will remain with fans for a long time.
He explained to the publication: "Shortly after his death, it's obviously Ashley's funeral and what we have planned for that is something every bit quirky as the special Ashley episode from last year. It's as experimental as that was, but in a different way - and will probably be talked about for some time to come."
Meanwhile, John - who has portrayed the long-suffering vicar since 1996 - is devastated that he's bowing out of the soap because he loves the place and people.
He said recently: "I'm very sad to be leaving 'Emmerdale'. I love the place, I love everyone who works there and I've got some great friends there. Some of them will be great friends of mine for the rest of my life ... I'm very sad to leave."