BAFTA TV Awards 2017: Emmerdale’s John Middleton breaks ceremony rules with political rant

Defying the BAFTA ban gagging stars from talking about the upcoming general election, Middleton chose the Winner’s press conference as his platform.

Speaking to, the actor, who portrayed dementia victim Ashley Thomas in the ITV soap, blasted politicians for their “woeful” coverage of dementia in their general election campaigns.

Having left the soap earlier this year after his character slowly deteriorated from the disease, John explained: “Not a day goes by when people don’t stop me in the street and tell me how glad they were we did this story, it’s been immensely helpful.

“Currently 850,000 people have been diagnosed with this disease in the UK alone and that’s expected to rise to two million.”

Picking up the award for Best Soap and Continuing Drama after a 16 year wait, Middleton added that his portrayal of dementia is a topic that is “the biggest health problem” right now.

He continued: “It’s the biggest health problem we have in the Western world, I don’t think we’re addressing that.

“I know we’re not supposed to say anything politically but David Cameron did commit £300 million to researching dementia at UCL, and that has never been mentioned in this current election campaign and I think that’s woeful.

“But I think it’s the duty of all of us to realise we’re living in a democracy as such, we’re all politicians and we’ve all got to raise awareness of this disease and ultimately combat it.”

Middleton’s portrayal of Thomas’ battle gripped viewers as they struggled to come to terms with the loss of the beloved vicar who had appeared in the soap for over 20 years.

Glad to have brought the topic to the forefront of ITV viewing, John added: “If we’ve raised awareness around it, I’m very very proud of what we’ve done.”

Emmerdale continues tonight on ITV at 7pm.

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