Emmerdale star Charlotte Bellamy has revealed that her character Laurel Thomas will be left bereft following the death of husband Ashley.
“She’s feeling numb about the whole thing because she just wasn’t prepared. She thought they had years left,” says the actress. “She wasn’t ready for Ashley to be taken so abruptly. But are you ever really ready to lose someone.”
An ailing Ashley – who contracted pneumonia after temporarily going missing from his care home – is to pass away in emotional upcoming scenes. Next week’s episodes of the ITV soap will then focus on the funeral – and Bellamy promises that the villagers will be out in full force to mark the death of their former vicar:
“There’s a big turn-out, which is no surprise really because he was such a central part of village life. And the service is beautiful – it’s a real celebration of Ashley’s life. He would definitely have approved.”
As for what’s next for Laurel, the actress believes that she’ll have to remain stoic for the sake of those around her who need her support. Says the star, “She’s this matriarchal figure, so her main focus will be to look after everyone, from Sandy down to little Dotty. She will cope, but she just needs to put a few things to bed first.”
The current plotline has, of course, been full of high emotion behind the scenes too – marking, as it does, the exit of actor John Middleton following two decades in the role of Ashley:
“We gave him a right good send-off,” says Bellamy. “I said in my speech that I’d never seen a leaving do with so many people in attendance. It was brimming. And that’s a testament to how much John is loved and respected.”
As for her own feelings at having to continue without her screen partner, she adds: “As in any soap, the machine carries on. Before you know it, you’re thinking about how the next story will develop. “But I do feel a little bit lost at times. That will – I’m sure – get easier. But John has been such a huge part of my life in Emmerdale and I miss him.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Emmerdale below.
And visit our dedicated Emmerdale page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.