Emmerdale star John Middleton talks Ashley’s elder abuse of his dad Sandy Thomas

As fans of Emmerdale will know, Vicar Ashley Thomas is growing increasingly impatient with his elderly dad Sandy (Freddie Jones) and at times, Ashley’s behaviour towards Sandy has bordered on cruelty…

But so far, only Rachel Breckle (Gemma Oaten) has raised the alarm about how Ashley treats his dad, and unknowingly, she made Sandy’s situation far worse by telling Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock) about her concerns.

He of course then voiced them to Laurel (Charlotte Bellamy) who in turns told Ashley that Rachel had been spreading nasty rumours about how Sandy was being treated…

And it was Sandy who took the brunt of Ashley’s fury over it as he accused him of telling tall tales to Rachel. However, next week, when social services call in to check on Sandy, the situation reaches boiling point, even though the visitors report nothing amiss.

In an interview for the show’s website, John Middleton, who of course plays the cleric, explained, “Tensions have flared to the surface recently because of what’s happened between Laurel and Marlon.

“The thing that is deeply hurtful about that is he knows they fell in love, and Ashley’s been knocked for six by that.

“Ashley’s been trying to make the Thomas household perfect. You can’t do that, but nevertheless that’s what he’s trying to do, because he wants the relationship between himself and Laurel to get back on an even keel.

“He wants to provide, he wants to protect, but he mainly wants Laurel to stay.

“Any threat to that at all is a threat to his marriage, and that’s how he’s beginning to regard Sandy.

“He’s wrong, and it leads him to do things that are very unprovoked, dangerous and cruel. But he’s been driven to it by the pressures that he feels.

“[But] for it all to be shattered now would be devastating. Goodness knows what would happen to Ashley.

“It’s going to be really interesting to find out. We’re going to see some big changes.”

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.