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'Emmerdale' star John Middleton: 'Ashley should have asked for help'

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Emmerdale star John Middleton has said that he wants the show's elder abuse storyline to have a positive impact.

The actor, who plays troubled vicar Ashley Thomas, is urging people to ask for help if they find themselves in the same situation as his soap character.

Ashley Thomas from Emmerdale

© ITV

Sandy Thomas from Emmerdale

© ITV



Emmerdale fans have recently seen Ashley mistreating his frail father Sandy (Freddie Jones) as he struggles to cope with the pressure of looking after him.

Ashley has become particularly bad-tempered around Sandy since his marriage to Laurel (Charlotte Bellamy) ran into trouble, as he fears that she will leave him if their home life isn't perfect.

Middleton told Lorraine today (April 18): "The reaction has been quite varied. A lot of people my age tell me anecdotally of people they know who are saying their mum and dad are driving them up the wall. So it is being discussed, but it's being discussed in a very, very hidden way.

"No-one's coming out and saying, 'Look, I feel this about my mum, I feel this about my dad'. If there's one thing I want to get across with this story, it's that if you find yourself driven to the awful position that Ashley finds himself driven to, talk to someone well before you get there."

He continued: "I think there's this view in the country that if you dare to go to social services, you'll somehow be in trouble or they'll prosecute you for something. It's not the case - they're principally there to help, not to prosecute. Every professional I've spoken to about this says exactly the same thing."

Ashley finally snaps and hits Sandy

© ITV

Ashley arrives back at home and becomes increasingly aggressive and threatening towards Sandy

© ITV



Middleton admitted that he isn't expecting Emmerdale fans to forgive Ashley anytime soon.

He said: "I don't think they're going to like him from now on, and quite justifiably so. Yes, Ashley has been under all sorts of pressures, and as an actor you look into that mentally. But it doesn't condone in any way what he's done.

"If Ashley had been more sensible, he'd have spoken to somebody. He'd have spoken to Laurel, but he's terrified of doing that because he wants to make everything perfect for her. He would have spoken to his friend Jude, or he would have spoken to the woman who came round from social services."

Emmerdale viewers see the storyline reach a dramatic climax tomorrow (April 19) as Laurel witnesses Ashley's abusive behaviour for herself.

> Emmerdale Gemma Oaten: 'Ashley, Sandy abuse plot is heartbreaking'
> Emmerdale John Middleton: 'Ashley sees Sandy as a threat'
> Emmerdale Ashley actor John Middleton: 'I want to stay on soap'
> Emmerdale Ashley, Sandy abuse to be revealed
> Emmerdale Charlotte Bellamy: 'Laurel wants a divorce'
> Emmerdale spoiler pictures - Ashley is arrested
> Read more Emmerdale spoilers and news Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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