Belfast Telegraph

John Middleton leaving Emmerdale

Emmerdale actor John Middleton has confirmed his current dementia storyline will see him leave the programme.

Emmerdale actor John Middleton has quit the soap after two decades.

The actor stars has vicar Ashley Thomas, who was seen being told he may have early onset dementia on Thursday (22Oct15) night's episode. He is currently waiting for tests, but John has confirmed the storyline will see him leave the show he's been involved with since 1996.

"I've known about it for a year - since last October (14)," he told "I had a meeting with (producer) Kate (Oates) and she pitched the idea to me. She asked me if I was happy to do the storyline and suggested I might like time to think about it, but I recognised it as the best story I've been given in my life and fully embraced it.

"Inevitably it will take me out of the show. Every year I think, 'Should I go?' It's a bit like a footballer - you should only leave the team when you've had a good season. This, if I'm up to it, will provide me with the best season I've had in my life."

John is under contract until the end of 2016 so he won't be exiting any time soon. Although it was tough to decide whether it was the right time for him to leave, he's now excited about what could happen in the future. Calling it "another roll of the dice", the 62-year-old star is thrilled to have been trusted with a storyline which he feels with resonate with so many viewers.

Ashley has been through a lot during his time in the village, with his first wife Bernice (Samantha Giles) having an affair which eventually resulting in her leaving. He has been involved in several other romances, most notably with Laurel (Charlotte Bellamy). The pair married but their relationship was tested when they lost their son to cot death.

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