ITV’s Emmerdale has just cast its first ever transgender actor for an upcoming storyline in the Yorkshire Dales soap.
Ash Palmisciano will play the role of Matty – Moira Dingle’s (Natalie Robb) former daughter Hannah, who has now transitioned into a man.
Earlier this month, Neighbours announced that the Aussie soap would air a gay wedding – the first to appear on the country’s small screen after it was legalised in 2017.
When Moira and Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) think they’re being watched, it results in the latter landing a punch on Matty – only for Moira to recognise her own offspring before things turn any uglier.
The actor will make his debut later on this month, and is enthused to be joining the roster: ‘I’m very excited to be joining the very welcoming Emmerdale family,’ he said.
‘From nervous auditions to now working alongside the team daily has been truly amazing. Matty’s a ground-breaking character to play and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for him.’
The programme’s producer, Kate Brooks, said that the new addition was an interesting and impactful prospect: ‘The character of Matty certainly knows how to make an impact: cheeky, effervescent, quick-witted and headstrong, it’s not long before he’s charmed his way into the affections of all those who meet him.’
‘His tale of a man trying to shake off his past and find acceptance in the present is full of emotion, humour and ultimately hope as he settles back into rural village life, turning Moira’s world upside down in the process.’
It marks the soap’s first ever transgender actor and character, Brooks also felt ‘thrilled’ that he is involved and to invite audiences into his journey of acceptance: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to have Ash on board to play this role.
‘A skilful actor of great talent, he exudes charisma and there’s an unflinching honesty to his performance that adds real depth to this complex character.
‘Ash has already proven himself to be a brilliant addition to the cast and we look forward to charting his journey as he reconnects with old friends and forges new relationships along the way.’
And Ash shared the news on his Instagram captioning a photo of him as new character Matty: ‘I’ve been a peasant, an elf, flipping king lears tree and now I’m chuffed to finally announce to me mates I’m now matty barton.. the newest addition to the lovely Emmerdale family #emmerdale #mattybarton #actor’.
I’ve been a peasant, an elf, flipping king lears tree and now I’m chuffed to finally announce to me mates I’m now matty barton..the newest addition to the lovely Emmerdale family ❤️ #emmerdale #mattybarton #actor
A post shared by Ash Palmisciano (@ashpalmo) on Jun 6, 2018 at 10:46pm PDT
Catch Emmerdale weeknights, from 7pm, on ITV1.