John Middleton 'immensely proud' of Emmerdale role

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 3 April 2017
John Middleton

John Middleton

John Middleton says playing Ashley Thomas in 'Emmerdale' has made him "immensely proud" as people have praised him on his portrayal of someone suffering with dementia

John Middleton says portraying Ashley Thomas in 'Emmerdale' has made him "immensely proud".

The 63-year-old actor is set to bow out of the popular ITV soap for good this week as his character, the loveable vicar Ashley Thomas, meets his end after having suffered with dementia for two years.

Now, ahead of his character's heart-breaking demise, John has said the support he has received for his "accurate" portrayal of Ashley's disease, especially from those who have "direct contact" with dementia themselves, has been overwhelming.

He said: "People are stopping me in the streets saying thank you for doing this, and that is in many ways the best award. Particularly when you are talking to people who have got direct contact with this disease, who have lost loved ones to it, or who are caring for people with it, or people who have the disease. They say thank you for portraying it so accurately, so that makes me immensely proud."

In Monday's (03.04.17) episode, Ashley's wife Laurel - played by Charlotte Bellamy - will be told there's nothing more that can be done to save her husband, and she decides to take him home to live out his final moments.

John's final scenes as Ashley will be aired on Friday (07.04.17), and he has said the scenes are "emotional", and had the cast "in tears" during filming.

He said: "They were very nice for me to do as I was lying in bed and at one point I started snoring. They were beautifully written and they weren't mawkish. People were being upbeat. You could see Laurel was getting a lot of strength from the fact people weren't being too sentimental or betraying their emotions too much. They were lovely scenes to do.

"My very final scene was emotional. We had done some rehearsal and people were all in tears. You could have heard a pin drop on the studio floor, and there was an immense amount of sensitivity and care, they wanted to get this right. That I found in itself very moving let alone the thing being portrayed."

The reality of leaving the soap hasn't quite sunk in for the star yet, as he brands the role as the "most significant thing" that has happened in his career, and has made "so many great friends" on set.

He told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "Eventually it is going to hit me, it will be like running into a brick wall," he says. "It is half my career and there is not a second of it I haven't loved, and I've made so many great friends.

"It is the most significant thing that has happened in my professional life, And it is up there with getting married and having children. At the moment my wife is the breadwinner and I am on the Emmer-dole. I am rediscovering my domestic life, cooking and things."

'Emmerdale' is on at 7pm every week day on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.

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