Emmerdale stars John Middleton and Charlotte Bellamy are passionate about how important it is to get Ashley’s heartbreaking dementia storyline right.

The stars, who play married couple  Laurel and Ashley Thomas in the ITV soap, spoke to What’s on TV at the British Soap Awards.

John said: “[The drama] could plateau for a while, but it’s a fascinating story to tell and one that we’re really keen to get right. There are 850,000 people in this country with some form of dementia and that’s going to grow, so it’s an issue we’re really pleased to bring to the fore.”

He continued: “We’ve met so many families and so many people with dementia, and their carers, and for their sake we have to get it right. It would be ridiculous, a tragedy if we didn’t get it right!”

But Charlotte agreed Ashley’s condition had to have light and shade. “Absolutely, it’s really important to show the ironic, funny side of it… In family life, day to day life it is important to show that, otherwise it becames too heavy.”

Watch John Middleton and Charlotte Bellamy discuss drunk acting, Arthur and Gabby, the new Emmerdale boss and more, above.

The British Soap Awards screen at 8pm on ITV on Sunday, May 29