This week of Emmerdale has kicked off leaving viewers with tears streaming down their faces as they prepare to say goodbye to a show favourite.
As we all know, Ashley finally loses his battle with dementia this week and in last night’s episode, fans of the show were left heartbroken when doctors told his wife Laurel that there was nothing more they could do for him.
When Laurel (Charlotte Bellamy) was told by doctors that they would not be able to save Ashley, she broke down unable to take in the news.
But there was a worse to come – they told her that Ashley had just days to live.
Laurel was then offered a choice about her husband’s end-of-life care – did she want Ashley to end his days in hospital or to allow him home.
She decided he should pass away peacefully at home surrounded by his family and friends.
Moved by the stunning acting and beautiful writing, heartbroken viewers took to Twitter to pour their hearts out over the devastating storyline.
Speaking about the moving plotline, actor John Middelton, who’s now been tipped to win a British Soap Award later in the year, says he is proud to be leaving the show via such a harrowing storyline.
“People are stopping me in the streets saying thank you for doing this, and that is in many ways the best award,” he said
“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.”
.John went on to say that he thinks it’s “very important for soaps to portray these stories” not just to raise awareness but “to tell stories that engage people”.
“What you are essentially doing is reaching out a hand to people and saying you are not alone,” he explained.
The storyline has taken over a year to unfold after the show’s producer initially pitched the heartbreaking storyline to John.
“Kate told me this was going to be the biggest story they would run in the show over the next two years, so I felt honoured and flattered,” he told the Mirror.
“But she did warn me that this would mean in two years I would be leaving. I recognised it for what it is, the best story anyone had ever pitched to me in my career never mind in my time in Emmerdale. I was delighted to take it on.”