Sunday 18 February 2018

Emmerdale vicar John Middleton hopes next role will be 'evil'

By Lucy Mapstone

He certainly does not want to be a vicar again.

Departing Emmerdale star John Middleton hopes his next acting role is an “evil” one.

The actor plays vicar Ashley Thomas in the soap, who will die in Friday night’s episode after a long storyline about his stroke-related early onset vascular dementia.

During an appearance on This Morning, John spoke of his career prospects and shared his ambition to take on a completely different role.

He told hosts Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes: “As I often say, I haven’t got plans. I’m an actor – I’ve got hopes.

“I’d love to play someone totally evil.”

Appearing on the ITV programme alongside his long-running co-star and on-screen wife Charlotte Bellamy, he said it has not fully sunk in that he has left the soap after 20 years.

He said: “I don’t actually feel as if I’ve left yet. I think I might feel that tonight.”

Charlotte, who plays Ashley’s wife Laurel, said she feels the same, adding: “He’s still on screen, we film six weeks in advance, so not really.”

The actor added that he will not be watching the episode when it airs because he does not want to watch himself “die again”.

John said he will miss working with Charlotte, and that filming his final scene was particularly hard because it means he loses his colleague as well as his character.

When asked about the two-fold impact of the scenes, he said: “There was that aspect of it, it can’t be denied. For me, for losing the show, and leaving the show after 20 years, but also this working relationship.

“Charlotte and I will stay friends, we live in the same town, there are lots of places to have coffee and we both have dogs to walk.

“But I really love working with Charlotte and I won’t be doing that any more.”

Viewers will see John’s final scenes as Ashley – who first appeared in Emmerdale in 1996 – as he bows out of the series.

The episode is also expected to include a look back at some happier moments from Ashley’s life as the villagers say their goodbyes to him.

:: Ashley’s final Emmerdale episode will air on April 7 at 7pm on ITV.

Press Association

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