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20 August 2015

Epilepsy storyline continues on Emmerdale

Did you catch tonight's episode of Emmerdale on ITV, featuring the continuing storyline of vicar Ashley Thomas who has epilepsy? Ashley is played by actor John Middleton and Epilepsy Society spent on time on set with John and the cast of Emmerdale during filming to make sure that the popular soap was giving an accurate representation of epilepsy.


Emmerdale's Ashley Thomas and Harriet Finch.Now John is keen to share his increasing knowledge of epilepsy and most importantly to make sure everyone knows what to do if someone has a tonic clonic seizure.

Ashley's epilepsy was diagnosed after a car crash in June and John admits he could not have foreseen how exhausting it would be to play the role of someone who is experiencing tonic clonic seizures. He told us rehearsing tonic clonic seizures before filming on set was exhausting but gave him an incredible insight into what it can be like to live with seizures.

First aid for seizures

John (right) told Epilepsy Society: 'There are around 40 different types of seizures, not just the tonic clonic sort that I'm attempting to portray in Emmerdale.

'Playing the role of Ashley has made me realise how important it is to know what to do if someone has a tonic clonic seizure.

'First of all it is vital to make sure they can't hurt themselves, so clear the area around them.

'Do not put anything in their mouth. Time the seizure - if it lasts no longer than five minutes and is not followed by subsequent seizures there is no need to call an ambulance. 

'As the seizure subsides, put the person in the recovery position and reassure them.  They are likely to have no memory of the seizure and could take a good while to recover.  They may well be exhausted.'  

Epilepsy wrist watch

During tonight's episode, Ashley was given  a wrist-worn epilepsy sensor, a device which sends a message to a friend, relative or carer if the person has had a seizure. This will help the vicar to continue to lead an independent life and return safely to work.

Liam Johnson, researcher at Emmerdale commented: 'Epilepsy Society was invaluable throughout the storyline, scripting, and filming of tonight's storyline. They were hugely informative and helpful.

'I know in particular the epilepsy wrist sensor struck a chord with our viewers who did not know about such devices. I look forward to continuing our relationship with the Society.'


If you missed tonight's episode of Emmerdale you can catch up with all the action at itvPlayer.

You can find out more about first aid for seizures here