ASHLEY WAS EDUCATED AT QUEEN ELIZABETH’S HOSPITAL SCHOOL, BRISTOL, AND THE UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX IN BRIGHTON. HE THEN GRADUATED FROM THE NATIONAL FILM AND TELEVISION SCHOOL WITH WATER’S EDGE, A SHORT COMING-OF-AGE FILM SET IN SOMERSET.
WATER’S EDGE was nominated for a short-film BAFTA and went on to win awards at the Chicago, Berlin and Bilbao Film Festivals. Wrote screenplay for his first feature, WHITE ELEPHANT, shot in Ghana and starring Peter Firth.
After swanning around Southern Africa writing obscure movies that nobody wanted to make, Ashley spent three years on the BBC soap EASTENDERS, where he taught the young Matthew Graham how to hold a pen. After writing on the first series of SILENT WITNESS, he went on to create WHERE THE HEART IS, a show that ran for ten years on the ITV Network. Other series that Ashley created and wrote during this time include PARADISE HEIGHTS, DOWN TO EARTH and LIFE SUPPORT. ANCHOR ME was a two-parter for Granada that starred Iain Glenn and Annette Crosbie. Also at this time, Ashley adapted TOM BROWN’S SCHOOLDAYS (starring Stephen Fry, produced by Company Pictures) and Thomas Hardy’s UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE (Keeley Hawes, produced by Eccosse), both for ITV. Finally, Ashley created and wrote the smash-hit family drama WILD AT HEART (starring Stephen Tompkinson) for Company Pictures which is currently in its sixth series. Wild At Heart was remade as LIFE IS WILD for the CW Network in the USA.