Emmerdale‘s John Middleton tells Soaplife how homeless Ashley ends up living with Marlon – but how the roof over his head doesn’t cover up Marlon’s betrayal with Laurel…

Life on the streets is tough for Ashley, but not as tough as the thought of losing Laurel for ever. “That’s the tragedy. He’s still so in love with Laurel,” says John. So it’s ironic when it’s his love rival Marlon who saves him from life on the streets…

Homeless and faced with divorce, how’s Ashley coping?
“Well, he’s in denial about the divorce. He’s still desperately in love with Laurel and missing his family more than anything else. But he’s been totally rejected by her, his father and his daughter. He thinks there’s nothing in the village for him any more so he’s walking away from the world.”

Ashley’s religious. Would he ever consider suicide?
“He’s not at the brink of suicide, but what he is doing is abandoning life as he’s known it.”

Then he goes missing from the village…
“He has no intention of going missing. It’s just that bizarrely he has this plan to get away. He doesn’t want to worry anyone and would be in contact if his phone hadn’t been stolen.”

Marlon finds Ashley and offers him a place to stay. How does that make him feel?
“Very ambivalent. While Ashley’s forgiven Laurel for the affair, he hasn’t forgiven Marlon. In Ashley’s mind, everything is Marlon’s fault, but he also regards himself as being justifiably punished because he’s brought this all on himself.”

How would Ashley feel if Laurel and Marlon were to restart their relationship?
“That would be a terrible thing for Marlon to do – provide a haven for Ashley while having an affair with his wife. As it happens, though, Marlon’s talking about going to New Zealand, which would be a win-win situation for Ashley.”

Is there any end to this mess in sight for Ashley?
“It’s a very long journey and although I’ve had hints as to where he’ll end up, I don’t know. I don’t think it’s been decided yet. But we’re talking all the way to Christmas, with some new characters coming in.”