Leslie Ash is attempting to relaunch her acting career by making her own TV shows after returning to showbiz to find “all doors were shut.”
The 59-year-old former Men Behaving Badly star contracted methicillin-sensitive staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) in 2004 after being admitted to hospital with cracked ribs from falling off the bed while having sex with husband, former footballer husband Lee Chapman. The actress has had to learn to walk again and wean herself off painkillers which she said made her feel like a “zombie”.
Ash told The Guardian: “[I thought] quite pretentiously, I suppose, that my career would carry on. They would just ‘shoot around it’. But in fact, I was quite amazed at how I got dropped. Completely. It was just ... it was quite suffocating. It’s like the rug being brought up from beneath your feet. No one wants to know you ... I thought, I have to start again.”
She added: “It is a very difficult business. If you’re not the whole package, they just choose someone else. It’s as brutal as that.”
And Ash - who rose to fame in 90s sitcom Men Behaving Badly co-starring Martin Clunes, Caroline Quentin and Neil Morrissey - revealed even her celebrity friends turned their backs on her.
Asked if any of them called to see how she was doing she said: “Erm. No. Not really. I can count on one hand how many people checked in. No. I was quite remote. I think a lot of people thought: ‘Give her space to sort herself out.’ And then years turned into a decade.”
Ash successfully sued the NHS in 2006 for loss of earnings due to her MSSA and was awarded £5million in compensation.
The former Holby City star has joined Instagram in a bid to build a social media presence and has started website BooksOffice.com with script writer Elaine Sturgess, a venture which allows users to vote on which unpublished or self-published books they would like to see made into TV shows.
She said of her career: “I am going to do it again. Even if I have to make the shows myself.”