Ashley was educated at Queen Elizabeth's Hospital School, Bristol, and the University Of Sussex, where he was awarded a BA (Hons) in English. He studied postgraduate screenwriting at The National Film And Television School, where his graduation film Water's Edge was nominated for a BAFTA.
After cutting his teeth on Eastenders, Ashley created Where The Heart Is for ITV, a series than ran for over ten years. During this time he also created and wrote Paradise Heights, Down To Earth, Life Support, Bonekickers and Anchor Me.
Classic adaptations include Tom Brown's Schooldays (starring Stephen Fry and Alex Pettyfer), Under the Greenwood Tree (starring Keeley Hawes), and Moonfleet (starring Ray Winstone). Contemporary adaptations include Kate Atkinson's Case Histories starring Jason Isaacs. He is currently working on Deborah Harkness' All Souls Trilogy for Sky.
Ashley co-created Life on Mars and its sequel, Ashes To Ashes, winning two International Emmys and a BAFTA. There was a series about misbehaving angels for ITV - Eternal Law - and the long-running saga of a family trying to make a go of it on a South African game farm, Wild At Heart.
Last year was spent writing and producing The Living And The Dead, set in rural Somerset in 1894, about a man of science who starts to see ghosts, starring Colin Morgan.
In 2011 Ashley was made an Honorary Fellow of The National Film And Television School.