“I couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter way to leave!”

Inside Soap - - THE INSIDE SOAP AWARD 2017 -

Ash­ley’s tragic death had peo­ple up and down the na­tion in tears. It was the end of one of the most her­alded sto­ry­lines in Em­merdale his­tory – and it has earned ac­tor John our Best Exit Award…

How does it feel to have won?

Oh, it’s fan­tas­tic! Of course, the other per­son who should be here to col­lect this Award with me is Char­lotte Bel­lamy [Lau­rel], be­cause she was there for Ash­ley’s exit, too. But I couldn’t ask for a bet­ter way to leave the show – it was ter­rific.

How much does it mean to you that this was voted for by the read­ers of Inside Soap?

It means so much. The re­ac­tion from the Em­merdale au­di­ence has been as­ton­ish­ing. It’s flat­ter­ing when you win a prize voted for by other in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als, but I never thought of my­self as a pop­u­lar ac­tor – so to get the reader vote is great.

Why do you think the whole sto­ry­line was so suc­cess­ful?

The rel­e­vance of it. De­men­tia is the big­gest health prob­lem we have in this coun­try, and there’s not a day goes by where some­one doesn’t stop me to say thank you very much for telling this story – and then they’ll tell me their own story, of­ten in very mov­ing de­tail. It has re­ally gripped peo­ple’s imag­i­na­tions.

Who else in the Em­merdale cast would you give an award to?

Well, aside from Char­lotte, one of my best pals in the cast is Mark Charnock [who plays Marlon]. I wish we’d got to work to­gether more, be­cause he’s a real laugh to be with on set. So I’d give Mark a tro­phy for that!

BEST EXIT John Mid­dle­ton Ash­ley Thomas Em­merdale

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