The off-screen life of Emmerdale’s first transgender cast member Ash Palmisciano including mother’s death
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Ash Palmisciano made history on Emmerdale in 2018 after being the first transgender cast member on the ITV longrunner. The 32 year old plays Matty Barton on the show and has been involved in several storylines in his time on the show.
Ash’s storylines have involved tension with mother Moira Barton, played by Natalie J. Robb, over Mattys transition and undergoing top surgery. The character has also entered a romance with Natalie Ann Jamieons Amy Wyatt.
Matty was a part of the show before Palmisciano took over, having been played pre-transition by now 29-year-old Grace Cassidy. The character has been acclaimed for being the first transgender person on the show’s 50 year history.
Ash has been around in the acting scene for quite some time, but didn’t get his big break until joining Emmerdale in 2018. He had previously been seen in an episode of Boy Meets Girl, and worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company before initially signing a three month contract with ITV.
Originally brought on as a consultant about a trans character, Ash ended up auditioning for the role he has now played for nearly five years. He described landing the role as a “dream come true” and that since joining the show he has received a lot of messages from young trans people saying his role has “opened up conversations”.
"I hope it’s helped in normalising what it means to be trans. Matty is a very ordinary guy, who happens to be trans, and in the storyline, there is a lot more to him.”
Unlike his onscreen family relations, Ash has said his parents were supportive of his decision to transition back in 2012.
In an interview with ITV, Ash said: "It wasn’t easy by any means but we stuck together as a family through love. We all ventured into the unknown together.
"When I decided to face the truth of who I was and talk about it, I found I was more comfortable as Ash. Mum was very supportive and backed me all the way.”
Palmisciano’s mum passed away earlier this year after reported complications from long-term rheumatoid arthritis aged 60. In an interview in November, Ash said: “Mum was the most important person in my life.”
Expressing his gratitude that his girlfriend of just over a year, Shea, got to meet his mum before she passed, Ash said: "I’m glad Mum got to meet her a few times before she died.
“We’ve been through a lot in a short space of time. I believe lockdown taught us all that you know straight away if something’s meant to be though."