Jensen at the 60th Annual Emmy Awards, 21 September 2008
(1969-08-11) 11 August 1969
|Spouse(s)||Terence Beesley (m. 2007)|
Ashley Jensen (born 11 August 1969) is a Scottish actress and narrator. She was nominated for an Emmy for her role on the television series Extras, on which she appeared from 2005–2007. She was also a cast member of the ABC show Ugly Betty and the short-lived CBS sitcom Accidentally on Purpose.
Jensen was born in Annan, Scotland to Margaret and Ivar Jensen. She was raised by her mother, a special-needs teacher. She trained at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and was a member of the National Youth Theatre.
Jensen’s first big television role was as Clare Donnelly, daughter of Glasgow criminal Jo-Jo Donnelly (played by Billy Connolly) in the 1993 BBC drama Down Among the Big Boys. In 1994 she played eccentric secretary Rosie McConnichy in the final series of BBC comedy May to December, as a replacement for the character of secretary Hilary, and Heather in Roughnecks, a BBC television series based around the workers on a North Sea Oil platform. Jensen had a small role in a Dangerfield episode “Contact” as the mother of a young girl with meningitis. She then appeared as Fiona Morris in EastEnders. She also appeared in Two Thousand Acres of Sky on the BBC in 2003 along with Michelle Collins and Paul Kaye.
Jensen starred alongside Ricky Gervais in the BBC Two/HBO television programme Extras as the socially inept Maggie Jacobs. For her work on the first series, she received best television comedy actress and newcomer awards at the 2005 British Comedy Awards. In 2006, Jensen received two British Comedy Awards and a BAFTA nomination for her role in Extras. Her role in the 2007 Christmas Special earned her an Emmy Award nomination. In January 2006 she starred in the short-lived drama series Eleventh Hour on ITV, alongside Patrick Stewart. Later that year she played Steve Coogan‘s agent in A Cock and Bull Story. In 2007, she provided the narration for the film Taking Liberties, directed by Chris Atkins.
In September 2006, Jensen’s first major role on American television came when she took the role of regular character Christina McKinney on the ABC series Ugly Betty. Her character was originally an American, but when she met with the show’s producers they liked Jensen’s accent and changed the nationality of the character, keeping McKinney British. Production of Ugly Betty moved to New York from Los Angeles in mid-2008, causing a conflict for Jensen, who became a recurring member of the cast.
In January 2009, Jensen starred in No Holds Bard, a BBC Scotland one-off special comedy shown on Burns Night as part of a line-up of special programming to mark the 250th Birthday of Robert Burns. She is the narrator of Channel 4‘s Embarrassing Illnesses and Embarrassing Bodies. She also narrates Bank of Scotland‘s current advertisement campaign and Persil detergent adverts for both television and radio. From September 2009 to May 2010, she co-starred with Jenna Elfman in the sitcom Accidentally on Purpose as Olivia. Jensen starred in the BBC comedy Nativity as Jennifer Lore, a Hollywood producer’s secretary and the love interest of Paul Maddens played by Martin Freeman. Nativity was released in cinemas on 27 November 2009.
On 21 December 2010, she starred in the one-off/pilot BBC comedy drama Accidental Farmer, playing a London executive who buys a derelict farm with her philandering boyfriend’s credit card. In 2011, she voiced Nanette the frog in the animated production Gnomeo and Juliet. She starred in the ITV drama The Reckoning in April of that year. On 6 October 2012, she appeared as a guest on the BBC cookery programme Saturday Kitchen hosted by James Martin.
On 22 August 2014, Sky announced that it had commissioned a television film adaptation of the M. C. Beaton novel Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death for Sky1, starring Ashley Jensen as the titular character, Agatha Raisin.
After six years together, Jensen married actor Terence Beesley in a ceremony in the woods of Big Sur, California on 29 January 2007. They met in 1999 while working on a stage production of King Lear. The couple own property in Umbria, Italy. The couple have one son, Francis Jonathan Beesley (born 20 October 2009), and live in Bath, Somerset.
In December 2008, Jensen and Beesley were granted a restraining order against Jeff Lewis from Bravo TV‘s Flipping Out. Jensen and Beesley then were living next door to a Los Feliz house Lewis was renovating, and conflict arose after a deck that Lewis had constructed on the home crossed the property line onto the Jensen-Beesley property. Jensen and Beesley sued, seeking $100,000 for an easement. Lewis reacted negatively and Jensen/Beesley filed a restraining order. In mid-April 2009 the two parties settled for a $30,000 easement and an agreement that the deck would not have to be demolished.
|1991||Tickets for the Zoo|
|2005||A Cock and Bull Story||Lindsey|
|How to Train Your Dragon||Phlegma the Fierce||Voice|
|2011||Gnomeo & Juliet||Nanette|
|Arthur Christmas||Bryony||Nominated – Annie Award for Voice Acting in a Feature Production|
|2012||The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!||The Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate|
|2015||The Lobster||Biscuit Woman|
|The Legend of Barney Thompson||Detective Inspector June Robertson|
|2018||Sherlock Gnomes||Nanette||Voice; post-production|
|1990||City Lights||1 episode|
|1992, 1993||Rab C. Nesbitt||2nd Girl / Sheena||2 episodes|
|1993||Screen One||Claire Donnelly||1 episode|
|1994||May to December||Rosie / Rosie McConnachy||6 episodes|
|The Tales of Para Handy||Catriona MacLean||1 episode|
|Takin’ Over the Asylum||Kathleen|
|1994, 1997||The Bill||Diane Wyre / Kate Selby||2 episodes|
|1995||The Baldy Man||Hairdresser||1 episode|
|Capital Lives||Eileen||1 episode|
|1996||The Big Picnic||Nessie||TV film|
|Bad Boys||Morag||6 episodes|
|1996–2004||Casualty||Stella / Jess||3 episodes|
|1997||Dangerfield||Michelle Thomson||1 episode|
|1998–2000||City Central||PC Sue Chappell||31 episodes|
|1998||Mortimer’s Law||Naomi Childs||1 episode|
|2000||EastEnders||Fiona Morris||2 episodes|
|2001||Rebus||Mhairi Henderson||1 episode|
|2001–03||Clocking Off||Babs Leach / Babs Fisher||5 episodes|
|2002||Outside the Rules||Dawn Deacon||TV film|
|Breeze Block||5 episodes|
|2003||Coming Up||Rachel||1 episode|
|Silent Witness||DI Becky Metcalf||“Fatal Error” 2 Episodes|
|Sweet Medicine||Faye Brooks||5 episodes|
|The Office||Interviewer||2 episodes (voice)|
|2005||Meet the Magoons||Policewoman No.1||1 episode|
|2005–07||Extras||Maggie Jacobs||13 episodes
British Comedy Award for Best Newcomer
British Comedy Award for Best Television Comedy Actress (2005)
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Comedy Performance
Nominated – Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated – Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actress
Nominated – British Comedy Award for Best Television Comedy Actress (2008)
Nominated – Rose d’Or Award for Best Sitcom Performance (follower-up)
|2006||Eleventh Hour||Rachel Young||4 episodes|
|2006–2010||Ugly Betty||Christina McKinney||66 episodes (Series Regular; 1–3 / Guest Star; Season 4)
Nominated – BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Acting Performance in Television
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2007, 2008)
|2009||No Holds Bard||Isobel||TV film|
|2009–10||Accidentally on Purpose||Olivia||18 episodes|
|2010||Accidental Farmer||Erin Taylor||TV film|
|Love and Marriage||Sarah|
|The Escape Artist||Kate Burton|
|2014–present||Agatha Raisin||Agatha Raisin||TV film|
|2017||Love, Lies and Records||Kate Dickenson||6 Episodes BBC|