His dementia diagnosis and subsequent death was one of the most heartbreaking soap storylines in recent years, but it seems Emmerdale might not be done with Ashley Thomas just yet.
Actor John Middleton, who won praise from both fans and critics for his portrayal of Ashley’s final months, has revealed there’s always a possibility he could make a return to the soap where he worked for nearly 21 years.
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We’ve already had scenes with Ashley as a ‘ghost’ when he talked to wife Laurel through the television. It turned out she was just dreaming, but is she set for another seance with her dearly departed?
Well, not according to John, who revealed to The Sun at the TV Choice awards that he could make a comeback in another form.
Avid fans of the soap will know Ashley has a twin brother called Luke, who lives abroad and has never been seen on screen.
John explained: “There’s no hint of Ashley coming back as a ghost but Ashley does have a twin brother called Luke, so that could happen.”
Now that would be weird. Imagine if Luke strolled into the Dales one day and Laurel saw him – it would be quite a shock for her.
But John has said it won’t be happening any time soon, as he’s busy with theatre work.
“I’m looking forward to the next thing I’m doing – I’m going to be touring a play called Strangers on a Train.”
And after that, there’s one more role John has his eye on: a spot on Strictly Come Dancing!
“I haven’t been asked,” he told the publication. “But if they did I would be on it like a shot, I love Strictly.
“Most celebrity things I don’t really want to do, I don’t want to meet bugs in the jungle, but Strictly is different I think – Strictly is showbiz.”
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His former co-star Gemma Atkinson is in the line up for this year, and John is giving her his full support: “Gemma is a total athlete apart from anything else.
“She’s an amazon and she’s a really strong woman, so I think she will be fantastic on it.”
John left Emmerdale in April after Ashley’s Alzheimer’s took hold of him. The scenes were heartbreaking and so moving they won him a British Soap Award for best actor.
His on-screen wife Charlotte Bellamy won the best actress award at both the BSAs in May and at Monday’s TV Choice awards.