Ruth Langsford fought back tears as she remembered her late father during Tuesday’s episode of This Morning. The TV presenter became emotional as she spoke to Emmerdale actor John Middleton about his portrayal of dementia sufferer Ashley Thomas. John is set to star in a special episode of the soap, which will be shown entirely from Ashley's perspective – and it hit a nerve with Ruth, whose late father had the disease.
"I was lucky enough to see a preview of tonight's show – but for someone with a family member with Alzheimer's, things rang so true for me," Ruth told him. "I remember my dad struggling – and he was a bright man – but suddenly with [money], he would have his hand out and would say, 'take what you want' because he was looking at blank coins in his head, I suppose."
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Ruth Langsford became emotional as she spoke to Emmerdale's John Middleton about his dementia storyline
She also praised the show for illustrating how Ashley's illness impacted his wife Laurel, saying: "When she said 'I am looking at my husband but it's not really my husband'… It's really, really hard for families, because I felt that.
"My dad was there in body, the shell of my dad, but he wasn't there and the hardest thing is when your loved one doesn't remember you. That's so painful."
Sharing a lighter side of her family's experience, Ruth added: "Although some things were comical, and when he was eventually in a care home, my mum was visiting him with my aunt and uncle and they had This Morning on, and my aunt said, 'Oh look, there's Ruth', and he looked over and said, 'Oh I can't stand her!'… You have to laugh."
The actor will lead a special episode on Tuesday night focused on Ashley Thomas' dementia
The star also issued a heartfelt thanks to John and the rest of the Emmerdale team. "It's not often that dementia gets represented so well and I think as a programme – and you particularly John, as an actor, have done it so brilliantly. So thank you," she said.
Clearly touched, John replied: "That's the best award I could possibly imagine or ask for, thank you."