Emmerdale star John Middleton rocks the Down and Out Vagrant look!
As fans of Emmerdale will know, shamed – and former – Vicar Ashley Thomas is very much down on his luck. In fact, if it wasn’t for bad luck, he wouldn’t have any luck at all…
He’s been chucked out of his family home for being violent towards his dad Sandy (Freddie Jones), he lost his job at a burger bar for nicking buns to give to the homeless, and now, his credit cards are maxed out and he’s therefore broke.
And while Eric Pollard (Chris Chittell) is happy to let Ashley stay at the B&B for a few days, just while he sorts out somewhere else to live, his estranged wife Val (Charlie Hardwick) isn’t feeling as charitable and she wants Ashley out, immediately if not sooner.
So, with nowhere else to go, and no other friends to call upon, Ashley is set to become homeless, and while appearing on Daybreak yesterday, John Middleton – who of course plays Ashley – sported a new Down and Out look which comprised a scraggly beard and some pretty rockin’ hair!
During his appearance on the show, John said, “This is a huge change. I’ve been playing this character for, off and on, fifteen years now. So any change like this you embrace as an actor.
“But I did with some trepidation because I didn’t know where it was going to go. It really is reinventing the character completely, and they’ve even reinvented the way the character looks, as you can see.
“He’s got a considerable downfall to go yet, but at the same time, I was very excited. It’s a huge story.”
He went on to say that because he’s changed his physical appearance so much for his portrayal of Ashley at rock bottom, he isn’t recognised in public quite as frequently.
He said, “It’s great at the moment because I’m not being recognised.”
But he added, “I’m blowing that now, aren’t I?”
With regard to the reaction from viewers that he’s received over Ashley storylines, and particularly the elder abuse plot, John said, “I’ve had quite a surprising amount of feedback from people who understand the pressure on Ashley.
“[Although] Sandy isn’t as needy as some, I have [spoken to some] people who’ve had to look after parents with Alzheimer’s and things like that.
”The pressure on carers these days, who get very little support, is enormous.
“If there’s one message I wanted to get out, it’s before you get anywhere near the situation that Ashley finds himself in, where he became violently abusive and there’s no excuse for that, you’ve got to talk to someone.
“There are agencies out there who are there to help.”
Apropos of which, click here to find out about support for carers.
What do you think of John’s new look?