Emmerdale has announced it is making a special episode featuring Ashley Thomas to give viewers an insight into living with dementia
Emmerdale has revealed it is currently filming a special episode of the show in which viewers will see the world from the perspective of dementia sufferer Ashley Thomas (John Middleton).
Last year, viewers watched the emotional storyline unfold which saw former vicar Ashley diagnosed with stroke-related early onset vascular dementia.
Over recent months they have seen his condition steadily worsen.
Due to air in December, the one-off episode will, says Emmerdale, have a distinctively different feel to show Ashley’s confusion as he leaves the hospital and makes his way out onto the streets alone.
Explaining the concept behind this episode, Emmerdale boss Iain MacLeod says: “People living with dementia face challenges most of us can barely imagine. So, I took it as a challenge to help people picture this experience – to put them inside the mind of someone living with this condition.
“With this chapter of Ashley’s story, we set out to give people an insight into how ordinary, day-to-day experiences can become disorientating and distressing when altered through the lens of dementia. Catching a bus, the apparently simple act of buying something in a shop, holding a conversation – all of these become tasks of Herculean scale.
“By telling the episode solely from Ashley’s point of view and seeing things the way he sees them, I hope we’re showing a side of dementia that is seldom represented on television.
“At its core, though, this has always been a love story between Ashley and his wife Laurel [Charlotte Bellamy], and this episode is a heart-breaking landmark in the evolution of their relationship.”
The episode has been conceived and produced with support from both the Alzheimer’s Society and MHA (Methodist Homes), who have been working closely with the Emmerdale production team from the start of this storyline to give the most realistic depiction of Ashley’s dementia as it progresses.