Ruth Langsford had to fight back tears as she spoke to actor John Middleton about his character Ashley Thomas on Emmerdale, who viewers will say goodbye to on Friday night. John's much-loved character Ashley, who has starred in the soap for 20 years, suffers from dementia – the same condition that Ruth's father Dennis had.
As she and her husband Eamonn Holmes presented This Morning on Friday with guest stars John Middleton and Charlotte Bellamy, Ruth spoke about how the soap storyline resonated with her. "I've said it to you both [previously] how I've followed this story for a long time, and obviously my father had dementia, and I think you and the Emmerdale producers have absolutely done it proud," said Ruth. Her husband Eamonn added: "Ruth is about to cry, anyone that can identify with this condition in their family life will be crying tonight."
Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes spoke to John Middleton and Charlotte Bellamy on This Morning
John said that his final scenes were "an extraordinary thing to film," adding: "The atmosphere on set was amazing… You could have heard a pin drop. The team really wanted to finish the story well." Emmerdale has been hugely praised for the portrayal of dementia and the effects it has on the sufferer and their entire family. John revealed: "We are literally stopped in the street most days and someone will come up to us and 'thank you very much, I don't feel so alone' and that's a wonderful endorsement. The Alzheimer's Society are also using it [some scenes] as a training video so they can show the world from a perspective of someone with dementia which is immensely flattering."
Ruth Langsford revealed that her father had dementia
Ruth, who continued to fight back tears, added: "From all the families who have got loved ones with dementia, or who have lost people, you really have done a fantastic job with promoting awareness I think. So thank you from all of us."
John ended by saying that he and his co-star Charlotte, who plays his wife Laurel, will continue to see each other off set. "For me leaving the show after 20 years and this working relationship – although Charlotte and I will stay friends – we live in the same town and there's lots of places to have coffee and we both have dogs we walk, but I really love working with Charlotte and [I'm sad] I won't be doing that anymore."