Belfast Telegraph

Emmerdale boss promises Ashley's death isn't 'sensationalised'

Emmerdale boss Ian Macleod was quick to "censor" writers if they became too "soapy" in their handling of Ashley's death.

Emmerdale boss Ian Macleod has promised fans they haven't tried to "sensationalise" Ashley Thomas' death.

The character, played by John Middleton, will be seen losing his life in scenes this week (ends09Apr17) after an 18-month battle with Alzheimer's Disease.

Death storylines are ratings gold for soaps, but as he attended a press event in London, Ian insisted the writers have dealt with Ashley's passing sensitively.

"Evidently, it’s a soap, so there needs to be some concession to drama, but equally, it’s an experience that so many people are going through that it would have cheapened it," he said. "We always applied a high benchmark to it in terms of not sensationalising it.

"Obviously, in my line of work, it's tempting to be quite soapy with things - and normally that is totally my bag - but with this story, if we ever veered too close to that, we were always quick to censor ourselves for thinking that way and tried to bring it back to being as truthful as we could."

Ashley has been seen struggling over the past few months as the disease took hold, with one of the most heartbreaking scenes coming when he forgot his wife Laurel's name.

However, it has been alleged that he whispers her name in his dying moments.

John previously opened up about how difficult it was to shoot his final scenes on the ITV programme, explaining: "It's uncomfortable to watch yourself dying.

“I have to say it was beautifully written, it’s a beautiful episode to watch.”

And Charlotte Bellamy, who plays Laurel, added: "It was very difficult because it marks the end of a very long road for us. It’s not easy viewing."

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