When Emmerdale vicar Ashley Thomas fell for glamorous barmaid Bernice Blackstock, some people in the village weren’t impressed.

Devout churchgoer Edna Birch was very against their romance, not to mention Ashley’s stern-faced boss, Bishop Postlethwaite who even tried to split the couple up by moving Ashley to a different church.

Ashley and Bernice wedding Emmerdale
Ashley and Bernice thought they would live happily ever after (Credit: ITV)

Feeling under stress and miserable, Bernice decided to take a holiday and while she was away, Ashley wrote to her estranged dad, Rodney,  hoping to mend their relationship.

Rodney Emmerdale
You’d think Rodney would look a bit happier to be at his daughter’s wedding after not seeing her for 26 years! (Credit: ITV)

Oops. Bernice was not impressed at her boyfriend meddling in her family issues behind her back, so she dumped Ashley, leaving him heartbroken.

Edna at Bernice and Ashley's wedding Emmerdale
Luckily, Edna managed to hide her disapproval. Honestly, that’s her happy face. (Credit: ITV)

But when Sarah Sugden died in a barn fire a few weeks later, the villagers were devastated and Bernice realised life was too short not to be with the man she loved. She and Ashley made up, and with the blessing of the grumpy vicar, they tied the knot on Christmas Day.

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Of course, the drama was just beginning for this popular pair. The following year, Bernice started an affair with Carlos, the chef from the Woolpack and sister Nicola’s boyfriend. When she got pregnant she wasn’t sure whether the father was Ashley or Carlos.

Carlos Emmerdale
Carlos has the hots for the bride (Credit: ITV)

Bernice eventually found out baby Gabby was Ashley’s, but she found motherhood tricky and she left the village without her daughter, returning eight years later.

Ashley and Bernice’s marriage may not have lasted, but they’re definitely two iconic – and much-missed – Emmerdale characters.


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