It's official: Emmerdale has filmed Ashley's exit

Daniel Kilkelly
Photo credit: ITV

From Digital Spy

It's the end of an era at Emmerdale, as Digital Spy can confirm that long-serving star John Middleton has filmed his final scenes for the soap.

The popular actor, who plays Ashley Thomas, secretly shot his character's emotional exit earlier this month - so there's not long left now before we see him bow out.

We're sworn to secrecy on when Ashley's final episode will air at this early stage, but fans can expect to see him stick around on our screens for a few more weeks due to Emmerdale being filmed so far in advance.

Ashley has been living with dementia for well over a year now and he recently moved into a care home as his family were struggling to provide the round-the-clock attention he needed.

Photo credit: ITV

Ashley's wife Laurel has since been left devastated by him forgetting her and growing close to a female resident at the care home.

Emmerdale's producer Iain MacLeod recently spoke to Digital Spy and other media about Ashley's exit, promising a fitting departure for him.

Iain revealed: "It's oddly joyous and it's a celebration of the character. We didn't want to do a story where he just absconded from a care home and was discovered dead from hypothermia or something - it would be too bleak.

"In a story that is already desperately sad, what we wanted to do was make this the best possible death - so that coming out of the other side of it, his family members would think: 'Well, none of us wanted him to go so soon, but knowing that he had to go, these were the best circumstances for his death'.

"It's super warm and funny - and almost festive and boisterous. It's just beautiful and I couldn't be more proud of the script, which is in very capable hands with our cast and crew."

Photo credit: ITV

Confirming a special episode for Ashley's funeral, he added: "Shortly after the death, it's obviously Ashley's funeral and what we've got for the funeral is something that is every bit as quirky - though not in the same way - as that special Ashley episode that we did last year.

"It's as experimental as that, but in a different way. That will be really special and will probably be talked about for quite some time to come."

John has been playing the role of Ashley since 1996.

Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.

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