Who is Ashley Jensen?
British actress Ashley Jensen was born under the zodiac sign Leo on 11 August 1969, in Annan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. She has 69 acting credits, but is perhaps known best for voicing Bryony in the 2011 animated adventure comedy movie “Arthur Christmas”, which starred James McAvoy and Jim Broadbent, and was written and directed by Sarah Smith. It follows the adventures of Santa’s clumsy son Arthur, and the movie won three of its 26 award nominations.
Education and early life
Ashley was raised in Annan alongside her half-siblings Gillian, Jamie and Vicky, by her parents about whom she’s yet to speak in public as she respects their privacy; it’s widely believed that Ashley’s father’s a college professor, and her mother a nurse, but this remains unconfirmed.
She became passionate about acting while still attending a local elementary school, as she enjoyed watching TV with her family on a daily basis. Ashley appeared in her first school play aged 15 and was into several other activities during her teenage years, including practicing creative writing and playing tennis.
Upon matriculating in 1987, she enrolled at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland, from which she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in drama in 1991.
Roles in TV series
Ashley’s debut TV series role was playing Moira in the 1990 episode “The Front” of the comedy “City Lights”, and the following year saw her play Betting Shop Cashier in the episode “Dreaming” of the drama “Screen Two”.
In 1994, she played Rosie McConnachy in six episodes of the comedy “May to December”, which starred Frances White and Anton Rodgers, and was created by Paul Mendelson. It follows solicitor Alec Callender who’s fallen in love with Zoe Angel, a woman half his age, the series aired from 1989 through 1994 and was nominated for a 1991 BAFTA Award for Best Comedy Series. Some of Ashley’s notable performances in the remainder of the 1990s were in the drama “Roughnecks”, the comedy “Bad Boys” and the crime drama “The Bill”.
From 2001 through 2003, she portrayed Babs Leach in six episodes of the drama “Clocking Off”, which starred Tony Mooney and Jack Dream, and was created by Paul Abbott. It follows a group of people working at a textile factory in Manchester, England and the series won eight of its 20 award nominations.
After Life, Extras and Ugly Betty star Ashley Jensen is to take over the lead role in the hit BBC crime drama series Shetland.
What also marked the 2000s for Ashley was playing Maggie Jacobs, one of the lead characters in all 13 episodes of the comedy “Extras”, which also starred Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the two men who created the series. It follows ambitious actor Andy Millman who has a useless agent and thus mostly works as an extra, and the series won 16 of its 62 award nominations. The remainder of the decade saw Ashley star in the romantic comedies “Ugly Betty” and “Accidentally on Purpose”.
In 2013, she portrayed Sarah Paradise in six episodes of the comedy “Love & Marriage”, which starred Stewart Wright and Alison Steadman, and follows Pauline Paradise who’s decided to leave her family and move in with her sister.
From 2014 through 2022, Ashley played the lead character Agatha in the crime comedy “Agatha Raisin”, which also starred Matt McCooey and Lucy Liemann, and was created by M. C. Beaton. It follows an amateur sleuth as she’s solving crimes.
Ashley’s two most recent roles in TV series have been voicing Meagaidh in three episodes of the 2022 short animated family drama “Dog Squad”, and playing Anna in two episodes of the 2022 drama “Mayflies”.
Roles in movies
Ashley’s debut film role was playing Eleanor in the 1991 drama “Tickets for the Zoo”, and some of her following roles were in the 1995 comedy “Temp”, another 1995 comedy “Waiting”, and the 1996 drama “The Big Picnic”. She had only one other film role in the ‘90s, playing Miss Tringham in the 1999 biographical comedy “Topsy-Turvy”, which starred Allan Corduner and Jim Broadbent, and was written and directed by Mike Leigh. It follows the lives of musical writers Sullivan and Gilbert who wrote the Mikado, and the movie won 13 of its 41 award nominations, including Oscar wins for Best Make-up and Best Costume Design.
Ashley had roles in only five movies in the 2000s, including the 2005 comedy “Tristram Shandy”, and in 2009 the comedy “No Holds Bard” and the family comedy “Nativity!”
The year 2011 saw her play Fannie in the popular biographical romantic comedy “Hysteria”, which starred Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal, and was directed by Tanya Wexler. It follows the invention of vibrator by Mortimer Granville and the film was nominated for two awards. Ashley was then cast to appear in the 2013 family comedy “All Stars”, the 2014 drama “Small Time” and the 2015 crime comedy “Barney Thomson”. Also in 2015, she played Biscuit Woman in the critically acclaimed romantic science fiction “The Lobster”, which starred Rachel Weisz and Colin Farrell, and was written and directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Set in a dystopian future, the movie’s about a society in which single people are sent to The Hotel where they have 45 days to find a partner or they’ll be transformed into beasts and released into the wilderness; it won 33 of the 105 awards for which it was nominated, including an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Some of Ashley’s most recent film roles have been in the 2019 animated action adventure “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” (voice role), the 2019 adventure family comedy “Lady and the Tramp”, and the 2022 family comedy “Christmas on Mistletoe Farm”.
Ashley produced and was the art director of the 2010 short comedy movie “Sunshine”.
Some of her recent talk-show appearances have been in “The One Show”, “Lorraine” and “Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh”.
Awards and nominations
Ashley’s won four of her 15 award nominations. She won two British Comedy Awards for Best Comedy Newcomer and Best TV Comedy Actress in 2005, a 2006 Monte-Carlo TV Festival Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actress – Comedy Series, and a 2006 Rose d’Or Light Entertainment Festival Award for Best Sitcom Actress, all for her performance in “Extras”.
Spouse and son
Ashley’s a private woman and prefers not to speak about her love life in public, and we thus know only about one man whom she’s been with.
Ashley met the late British actor Terence Beesley when they were cast to star alongside in a production of Shakespeare’s “King Lear” in 1999; Terrence had 50 acting credits and is perhaps remembered best for playing Joseph Buquet in the 1989 musical horror “The Phantom of the Opera”. Ashley gave birth to their son Francis Jonathan Beesley on 20 October 2009.
The marriage ended in November 2017 when Terence committed suicide; the fact that he had taken his own life was only revealed some time later.
There are no other men whom Ashley’s perhaps been with, that we know about; she’s seems to be unattached as of September 2023, was previously married to the late British actor Terence Beesley, and they have a son together.
— Mirror Celeb (@MirrorCeleb) December 17, 2017
Interesting facts and hobbies
Ashley and her late husband split their time between Holland Park, West London, England and Los Angeles, California.
When she and her husband married, only the minister and their pet dog Barney (who was their ring-bearer) were present.
Ashley owns a property in Umbria, Italy.
She took a break from acting after giving birth to her son Francis, and returned five months later.
More than 110,000 people are following Ashley on Instagram today, and she’s posted close to 1,500 pictures and videos onto the network, with most showing her during her everyday life.
She’s a philanthropist, and enjoys donating to underprivileged children.
One of Ashley’s favorite actresses is Jennifer Coolidge, and some of her favorite movies include “Legally Blonde”, “Best in Show” and “A Cinderella Story”.
Appearance and net worth
Ashley’s age is 54. She has blue eyes and blonde hair, weighs around 120lbs (55kgs) and is 5ft 3ins (1.6m) tall.
Ashley’s net worth’s been estimated at over $7 million, as of September 2023.