Emmerdale’s Ash Palmisciano opens up about being the soap’s first transgender actor

He's a hit with viewers already!

Ash Palmisciano

by Emma Dodds |
Updated on

Emmerdale announced last month that they would be adding their first ever transgender actor to the cast list. Ash Palmisciano joined the soap last month as Matty Barton, who had transitioned off-screen and was previously known as Hannah - Moira Barton's daughter, played by Grace Cassidy.

After breaking into Moira's garage to try and steal back his birth certificate, Moira initially took him for an intruder - but he's now become a permanent resident of the Dales, and has been a massive hit with viewers.

Today, Ash appeared on Lorraine to discuss being the soap's first ever transgender actor - and also revealed how he landed the part in the first place.

He said, "It is a big thing. I was kind of expecting it to create a bit of a stir, but I wasn’t expecting how much of an impact it was going to have. I’ve had so many lovely messages about the nature of the storyline and how it’s affected people."

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Ash revealed that he was initially welcomed into the Emmerdale family as an adviser on the storyline, "It is crazy. There’s an amazing charity called All About Trans. They work with just positive representations in the media of trans people.

"They said to me, 'We’re doing interaction with Emmerdale, they’re thinking about doing this storyline, they’re looking for some advice on positive reps'. They said, 'Do you want to come?' I said, 'Sure, cheeky day out!'"

But during the day, Ash was actually invited to audition for the part. "And here I am!" he joked. He did admit that his first day was like "stepping into my TV," adding, "I was acting with the legend that is Jeff Hordley, who plays Cain Dingle. On my first day he had to chuck me over a table. So that was an experience and a half!"

He explained that Matty's mum, Moira, was having a really hard time coming to terms with the news, adding that in tonight's episode (12th July) Matty would be beaten up, "I think the idea is that she sees her son has been beaten up and actually she thinks, 'Maybe I don’t understand this, but this my son and I need to help him.' So, it brings us together. It’s not an easy ride for the pair of them."

WATCH: Matty reveals to Moira that he used to be Hannah

The actor added that it was "brilliant" he has a similar background to the character as he can really empathise with his character, and said, "But also, as an actor, what a fantastic first job to work on a soap like Emmerdale!"

He's also hoping to be a role model for others, "I just hope it’s a great message to show that yeah, you might have a past, a bit of a journey to be who you are, but also, you can achieve your dreams and ambitions.

"If anyone can take anything away from this it is that we’re all different, we’ve all got pasts but hopefully you can achieve your ambitions."

Emmerdale continues on ITV tonight at 7pm.

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