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'Emmerdale' Ashley actor John Middleton: 'I want to stay on soap'

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Emmerdale star John Middleton has pledged his future to the soap, confirming that he wants to carry on playing Ashley Thomas for some time to come.

Ashley is currently at the centre of a hard-hitting elder abuse storyline which has seen him behaving angrily towards his frail father Sandy (Freddie Jones).

Ashley Thomas from Emmerdale

© ITV

Sandy Thomas from Emmerdale

© ITV



Middleton, discussing the plot's future, told TV Times: "This is going to involve huge changes for Ashley, very traumatic changes. It will be the biggest thing that's happened to him in the entire time that I've been on the show.

"It's very, very exciting for me as an actor, but I will be sad if his family falls apart, because I have a wonderful working relationship with Charlotte Bellamy, who plays Laurel.

"I'm contracted until December this year and I hope that I'm still there after that, because I love this job. I adore working with the team, and I don't just mean the actors."

Middleton admitted that he had some doubts when he first heard that the abuse story was on the way for Ashley.

Ashley grabs the phone out of Sandy's hand, leaving him terrified

© ITV

Ashley is shocked when Laurel suggests that their marriage might not be worth saving

© ITV



He explained: "When I first found out, my first thought was, 'This isn't Ashley'. But at the same time I thought, 'Okay, let's say that it is' and I saw it as a huge challenge, a departure that takes me into a whole new area for the character."

"A lot of people in my generation are having to look after elderly parents and they absolutely understand the pressure that Ashley is under," Middleton continued. "I'm glad we're exposing this issue and if we get the message out that people are not alone, there is help out there for them, then I would be delighted.

"It's a burning issue and it's something that people are too embarrassed to talk about, or to admit to feeling."

Emmerdale airs weeknights on ITV1.

> Emmerdale John Middleton: 'Ashley sees Sandy as a threat'
> Emmerdale Gemma Oaten: 'Ashley, Sandy abuse plot is heartbreaking'
> Read more Emmerdale spoilers and news Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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