It’s been the slowest of slow-burn storylines as we’ve witnessed Ashley’s gradual failings and frustrations following his dementia diagnosis last November. But now, Emmerdale fans should brace themselves for heartache, with Ashley’s health set to take a turn for the worse in the months ahead.
Speaking about the the progression of the poignant storyline, show boss Iain MacLeod said: “We wanted to be relatively gentle with the progression of Ashley’s deterioration and show the low level elements of what Ashley is experiencing before we get to the really big stuff.
“I can’t talk about when it might become a clinical matter that Laurel can’t deal with. But Ashley is going to have a fairly significant downturn around September or October time. We want to do the story justice and reflect all of the phases that anyone living with dementia will recognise and do it in a non-soapy, straightforward way.”
Upcoming episodes will see Laurel fight the urge to turn to drink as a means of coping, while Ashley once again starts to confuse his wife with ex-partner Harriet.
Speaking recently about his responsibility to portray Ashley’s decline as accurately as possibly, actor John Middleton said: “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 a tragedy if we didn’t get it right.”
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.