Doug is Laurel Thomas's father. He and Laurel's mother, Hilary, come to the village to visit their daughter but after they leave, they are involved in a car crash.
Doug suffers minor injuries but Hilary is in a coma for several weeks. Laurel immediately goes to look after her father despite being heavily pregnant. Doug tells Hilary after she recovers that Laurel had moved in to take care of him and the house while she was ill.
Doug returns with Hilary to meet their grandson, Daniel. Daniel dies of cot death in February 2008 and Hilary asks a devastated Doug to contain his grief for Laurel's sake, and he confides his true feelings to Pearl Ladderbanks. Hilary and Doug leave the village after Laurel bans Hilary from attending a memorial service for Daniel. They return a couple of weeks later. Laurel and Hilary resolve things and Hilary and Doug move in with Ashley and Laurel.
Hilary discovers that Daniel was not Laurel and Ashley's son and when she confides her suspicions to Doug, he is reluctant to believe her but she is later proved to be right. Hilary falls out with Laurel over this and leaves but Doug stays to support Laurel, and gets a job at Eric Pollard's furniture factory.
In August 2008, Doug makes plans to reunite with Hilary, who had been on a long holiday to Cuba but she telephones him and asks for a divorce. Doug begins suffering a midlife crisis and buys himsef a new sports car and sleeps with Bonnie Drinkwater, a friend of Val Lambert's. Laurel and Ashley tricked Bonnie into leaving the village, but she had unwittingly caused more problems for Doug. In the village shop, Brenda Walker notices him scratching his crotch, and assuming he is a pervert, calls the police. Doug is arrested but released without charge when it is revealed he had an STI, passed on to him by Bonnie. The news spreads around the village and Doug feels humiliated. Laurel reassures him that they would both laugh about the event sometime in the future. Doug disagrees but laughs with her.
Doug begins building a relationship with Brenda but her daughter, Gennie , realises that Brenda has feelings for Bob Hope. Brenda initially denies it but eventually ends her relationship with Doug, and begins dating Terry Woods instead.
Brenda and Doug continue to be friends, and in early 2009 they form Emmerdale Explorers, a playgroup for the local children. They receive some funding from Natasha Wylde, but they disagree repeatedly over her son, Will attending the group. Eventually, Doug returns her money.
Doug begins to resent Terry's involvement in the Explorers project, and his jealousy is further increased when he learns that Brenda intends to buy half of Bob's business. Doug convinces Terry and Bob that Brenda only wants to buy into the business to try to win Bob's heart. When Bob reneges on the deal, a furious Brenda pours a pint over Doug's head. Doug later apologises for interfering.
Doug continues to work at the factory until Eric Pollard is forced to close it down. As a result of the credit crunch, Doug realises that people did not want new soft furnishings. Doug is disappointed to lose his job but finds a new one, running the Home Farm Fayre shop in the village with Leyla Harding. In March 2010, Doug becomes attracted to Diane Sugden and asks her out but she turns him down. Doug is unhappy when Charlie Haynes, a friend of Diane's ex-husband, Rodney Blackstock, arrives in the village and begins a relationship with Diane. Fearing Charlie is a con-artist, Doug informs Diane of his suspicions, but Diane does not believe him. In July 2010, Diane discovers that Charlie has fled the village with her money and she forgives Doug for not believing him, but tells him she does not want a romantic relationship. Diane and Doug remain good friends and Doug offers Diane a loan when she faces financial problems as a result of Charlie's actions. Diane is reluctant to accept at first but eventually does so and Doug is pleased to have helped her.
In January 2011, Doug tells Diane that he is seeing a woman, but does not reveal details. Doug eventually tells Diane that his new girlfriend is Hilary. He asks Diane to not tell Laurel and explains that he wants to give his marriage another go. On 11 February, Doug tells Laurel that he is going on a cruise with Hilary. He also tells Laurel that he intends to move back in with her at their old home. Laurel is reluctant at first but eventually accepts her father's decision. At the same time Diane realises that she does have feelings for Doug after all and invites him to a romantic meal at The Woolpack. He tells her of his plans and she is disappointed. On Valentine's Day, as Doug is about to leave, Laurel and Val arrange for Doug to meet Diane at the pub. Diane tells Doug that she regrets turning him down, and pleads with him to stay and give her another chance. But Doug is dismissive, telling Diane that had Charlie not been a conman then she would have gone to Spain with him and that he was not the sort of man she wanted and that he did not want to settle for second best. Doug then leaves and says farewell to Laurel, Ashley, Leyla and Ashley's father Sandy. As he is leaving the pub, Diane follows him outside and wishes him well. They embrace and bid each other farewell, parting on good terms. Doug then gets into his waiting taxi and is driven out of the village.
- Doug supports Luton Town FC.
Background information Edit
- Ashley Thomas' dementia-fuelled persona of Doug was portrayed by Andrew C Wadsworth in Episode 7699 (20th December 2016).
"I'll say!" (first line to Betty Eagleton)
See also Edit
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