Emmerdale screens whole episode through eyes of dementia sufferer Ashley Thomas

Updated: 

Emmerdale fans will get an insight into dementia in a special episode shown from the perspective of long-running character Ashley Thomas.

Former vicar Ashley, played by John Middleton, suffers from stroke-related early onset vascular dementia and fans have watched as his condition gradually worsens.

Tonight, ITV is screening an entire, groundbreaking episode through his eyes.

The one-off production will see changes to camerawork and editing to show his confused point of view as he leaves the hospital and makes his way out on to the streets alone.

A special trailer for the episode shows Ashley wandering through the hospital's corridors and trying to work out why he is there.

He says to himself: "Where was I going? Was I visiting someone? Yes, that was it. No. I was leaving."

As he walks through a door and heads outside, he says: "This is the way. Yes. This must be the way. This is the way home."

We then see him walking down the street in his pyjamas as he says: "Keep going. It's all right. I can find it. I can get home."

Emmerdale producers have worked closely with both the Alzheimer's Society and MHA (Methodist Homes) throughout the storyline, and the forthcoming episode has also had their backing.

Ian MacLeod, Emmerdale's series producer, said: "People living with dementia face challenges most of us can barely imagine.

"So, I took it as a challenge to help people picture this experience - to put them inside the mind of someone living with this condition.

"With this chapter of Ashley's story, we set out to give people an insight into how ordinary, day-to-day experiences can become disorientating and distressing when refracted through the lens of dementia. Catching a bus, the apparently simple act of buying something in a shop, holding a conversation - all of these become tasks of Herculean scale."

MacLeod added that by telling the episode solely from Ashley's point of view, he hopes they are "showing a side of dementia that is seldom represented on television".

:: The special episode of Emmerdale airs on Tuesday December 20.