Emmerdale: Laurel’s future – life after Ashely revealed

What’s next for the grieving Mrs Thomas?

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Emmerdale producer Iain MacLeod has promised a new chapter for Laurel Thomas following the tear-jerking death of husband Ashley – and new challenges for actress Charlotte Bellamy without on-screen partner John Middleton.

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“We were quite aware that after Ashley’s death we didn’t end up with Charlotte just drumming her fingers wondering where her next big story is coming from, so I’m pleased to report she’ll be busy.

“Basically we didn’t want the whole family to just sit around and miss Ashley, and we needed to make sure Laurel had a houseful so we added a new ingredient into the house that would be fun. The character of Lydia will be moving in which brings some comedy, but there is also another different kind of story playing for Laurel over the summer which is tied into the resurfacing of the Ashley/Emma Barton home video. That’s as much as I can say on that score…”

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Speaking of the acclaimed dementia plot that saw Ashley’s departure last month in a devastating death bed scene, MacLeod admitted the absence of Ashley – and Middleton – had left a gap in the show.

“I’m sad that story finished. It was so heartbreaking but we ended it at the right time. We covered all the different chapters of Ashley’s deterioration and did Ashley and Laurel’s love story justice. We took our time.

“I’m well aware people live for decades with dementia be unfortunately that’s not easy to portray on a soap.

“The end was sad but people also found it uplifting in a way. But of course I’m sad John’s gone.”

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Emmerdale below.

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