Emmerdale viewers said they were “heartbroken” as doctors told the family of dementia-stricken Ashley Thomas that he only had days to live.
Ashley, played by John Middleton, suffers from stroke-related early onset vascular dementia and viewers of the ITV soap will soon see him return home to die among his loved ones.
In Monday night’s episode, his wife Laurel (Charlotte Bellamy) is devastated when she is told to prepare for the worst.
The upsetting scenes had many fans in tears, and several said they could relate to what Laurel was going through.
Crying my eyes out 😭 Ashley's story is so close to home 💛 #emmerdale
— Shaunna Litterick (@slitterick17) April 3, 2017
Oh god now #Emmerdale has me sobbing 😭😭 these soaps are killing me!
— Laura ⚽️ (@MissLJayx) April 3, 2017
Watching #Emmerdale and seeing the doctor tell Laurel about Ashley has me in tears. Last year I lost both my mum & dad and heard that.
— Closet Gay Guy 🌈 (@closetasiangay) April 3, 2017
Never been so heartbroken at a soap before. Reminds me of when I was told my dad had days left to live. Horrific feeling😔💔 #emmerdale
— stephツ (@steffxrs) April 3, 2017
The story of Ashley’s dementia has been a huge hit with viewers. The programme also broke new ground with the storyline in December, screening an entire episode through Ashley’s eyes to show his confused point of view.
Actor John, 63, has said he hopes the emotional climax to the story will effect real change.
He told Radio Times: “My hope is that Emmerdale has at least been able to embed the issue of dementia into the public’s consciousness.
“We’re all guilty of looking the other way, but we ignore this at our cost. It could well happen to each and every one of us.
“It’s possible that we could find a cure, but we need more money going into research to turn that possibility into a probability.
“The good news is that we’re all living longer, but because of that, we’re more likely to die of this disease. And there’s no point in living longer if we can’t live well.”