Emmerdale is currently filming a special episode set to air this December, which aims to give the audience a unique insight into what it's like to live with dementia.
Regular viewers have watched the health of the former vicar Ashley Thomas slowly deteriorate over the past year following his diagnosis of early onset vascular dementia.
The special episode will be filmed entirely from his perspective, with camerawork and editing being significantly altered to help the audience feel his confusion and see things directly from his point of view.
Explaining the concept behind this one-off episode, Iain MacLeod, Emmerdale's series producer commented:
"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.
"By telling the episode solely from Ashley's point of view and seeing things the way he sees them, I hope we're showing a side of dementia that is seldom represented on television.
"At its core, though, this has always been a love story between Ashley and his wife Laurel, and this episode is a heartbreaking landmark in the evolution of their relationship."
In the episode a confused Ashley will be seen wandering the streets dazed and alone after leaving a hospital appointment.
The production team have worked closely with both the Alzheimer's Society and MHA (Methodist Homes) to ensure that the depiction of Ashley's state of mind is as accurate as possible.
Theresa Knight, Media Relationships Manager for MHA added: "We have been closely involved with Emmerdale since the team contacted us wanting John (the actor who plays Ashley) to visit one of our care homes for people living with dementia. Since then we have been involved in feeding back on scripts and storylines involving Ashley as his condition deteriorates.
"We have been delighted as to how seriously the whole team at Emmerdale is taking the storyline and the lengths they are going to in their research. We know from having had discussions about and given feedback on the episode from Ashley’s viewpoint that it will be an exceptionally moving piece of drama."
The hope is that the show will help spread understanding of the impact dementia has on a person's ability to function on a day to day basis and the idea has been welcomed by the Alzheimer's Society.
Kathryn Smith, Director of Operations at Alzheimer’s Society, commented: "We are incredibly moved that Emmerdale will be filming an episode dedicated to showing the audience the world from Ashley’s point of view."
"Storylines like this can help people raise awareness of dementia and help them to understand how dementia can impact a person’s ability to think, communicate, process new information and break down the stigma that is still associated with the disease."
Source: ITV press release 7/11/16