Page last updated at 00:56 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 01:56 UK

Leslie Ash joins Holby City cast

Leslie Ash
Ash required hours of physiotherapy to regain movement in her legs

Actress Leslie Ash is to return to TV screens in Holby City, five years after contracting a hospital infection.

The former Men Behaving Badly star still uses a walking stick after the infection left her partially paralysed.

"It has taken a long, long time and I'm not perfect, but I'm ready to be back at work," Ash said in a statement.

The 49-year-old will play scheming executive Vanessa Lyton. Her first scenes will be filmed in June ahead of the hospital drama's return in October.

"I can't wait to be back on set. It's the last piece of the jigsaw in my recovery," said Ash.

The star's character will also require assistance to walk - a fact that Ash is proud of.

"Disability is misrepresented on television and it's really fantastic that it did not worry the production team I was disabled.

"I could have sat myself down in a wheelchair and just gone through life, but there was this defining moment when you say to yourself: 'I am going to get up, I am going to work hard', and you put one foot in front of the other."


Ash was admitted to hospital in April 2004 with two cracked ribs, after falling off her bed on to a table during a love-making session with her husband, retired footballer Lee Chapman.

She had an epidural as part of her treatment and a few days later found that she had no feeling from her chest down.

The actress was told she had developed MSSA (Methicillin-Sensitive Staphylococcus Aureus) which, unlike MRSA, does respond to standard antibiotic treatment.

Last year, Ash was awarded a record £5m compensation from the Chelsea and Westminster hospital, where she acquired the infection.

The settlement included compensation for money she would have earned if she had carried on working.

Ash first appeared on TV in a 1964 commercial for Fairy washing up liquid, and later won a role in cult film Quadrophenia.

She is most widely-recognised as Debs, the object of Neil Morrisey's infatuation in sitcom Men Behaving Badly.

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Carnoustie Today Leslie Ash to join Holby City - 7 hrs ago
Hello! Superbug survivor Leslie returns to work after five years - 22 hrs ago
Evening Herald Leslie back in front of camera with Holby role - 22 hrs ago
Yahoo! UK and Ireland Leslie Ash Lands First TV Role In Five Years - 24 hrs ago

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