Ashley Jensen to play town hall registrar in new BBC drama series

Former Extras actress Ashley Jensen is returning to the BBC to star as a town hall registrar struggling to juggle life as a working mother.

The Ugly Betty star, 47, has been cast in Love, Lies & Records, a six-part drama series which will also feature Rebecca Front.

Ashley will play Kate Dickenson, who struggles “to juggle her personal life with the daily dramas of births, marriages and deaths and the impact they have on her” in the drama, penned by Bafta-winning writer Kay Mellor.

Ashley Jensen (Ian West/PA)

Catastrophe actress Ashley said that she was “thrilled” to land the part in the series, which begins filming next month and will air on BBC1 later this year.

She added: “Kay’s writing is always honest and from the heart.

“(She) has always managed to tap into issues that are relevant to ordinary people’s everyday lives and with this new show she deals with the major dramatic milestones that affect pretty much all of us.”

Rebecca Front (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Kay, who made her name with Fat Friends and The Syndicate, said she was inspired to write about a registrar after attending the wedding of friends just days after registering the death of her mother at Leeds Town Hall, where she sat next to a couple who were waiting to register the birth of their baby girl.

“I realised that the register office was a microcosm of life itself – tears, laughter and celebrations,” she said.

“As I sat watching the registrars marry my friends, I started to wonder about their lives and how they dealt with the rollercoaster of emotions that they go through on a daily basis.

Ashley Jensen (Ian West/PA)

“Not long after, a series started to develop in my head.”

Viewers will see Ashley’s character “increasingly torn by her endless responsibilities”, as her daughter hides “suspicious messages on her mobile, her son hates her because she’s bought him the wrong trainers… her stepson’s turned up unannounced to stay” and “a disgruntled colleague threatens to expose a secret from her past”.

The drama will also star Teachers actor Adrian Bower, Kenny Doughty (Vera), Mark Stanley (Dark River) and Rebecca, best known for The Thick of It and War and Peace.

BBC executive producer Elizabeth Kilgarriff said: “Kay’s scripts are, of course, brilliant – entertaining, funny and moving all at the same time.

“Together with this exciting cast line-up the show promises to take BBC1 viewers on an emotional rollercoaster.”

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