Emmerdale‘s John Middleton reveals to Soaplife what it is that makes former vicar Ashley break one of God’s golden rules: thou shalt not lie!
Ashley’s tormenting himself over Sandy again, isn’t he?
“Yes. He wishes he could do more for his father. Sandy’s clearly not happy living with Laurel and Marlon and Ashley wishes he could afford to offer an alternative. In many ways he wishes his family was still together because then the problem would be solved. But he knows it can’t be and he knows it’s largely his own fault. So he feels terrible about it.”
Ashley’s worried Sandy could be getting forgetful, too. How does Sandy react when he mentions it?
“Sandy’s furious. The implication is, of course, that Ashley – and Laurel and Marlon, too – think he’s becoming senile. And he’s not at all. It makes Sandy think they view him as a burden.”
And he comes up with a surprising suggestion, doesn’t he?
“Sandy suggests that he goes to live in a care home. He reveals that he’s been going to Seth’s Hide just so that he has somewhere to call his own. When the hide burns down he says he’d prefer to take himself off somewhere else to live.”
Does Ashley try to talk him out of it?
“Yes. Both he and Laurel do. It reminds Ashley of that desperate time in his life when he thought the only way he could hold on to his marriage was to get rid of Sandy and shuffle him off to a home.”
Sandy is insistent, but Ashley doesn’t think Sandy will be given accommodation. Why not?
“As a former vicar, Ashley knows these kind of situations very well. He knows there’s a kind of points system. As Sandy’s already in accommodation where he has his own room in a nice house and with a good family, so Ashley knows he won’t score many points with the local housing office.”
So Ashley comes up with a drastic idea that could help: he lies!
“Ashley knows one of the things that will be flagged up in Sandy’s assessment is the fact that Ashley attacked Sandy and Ashley begins to think this could be the thing that swings it. In the meeting, Ashley hints that he has an uncontrollable side to him that could flare up and may involve him physically harming Sandy again.”
It must hurt Ashley to lie like this…
“Ashley can see how unhappy Sandy is and wants to give his father at least a modicum of happiness. Ashley would do anything to achieve this – even sacrifice his own reputation.”