Leslie Ash to return to screens in cast of BBC series Doctors as character Mary McRae after 11 year hiatus

MEN Behaving Badly star Leslie Ash is making her TV comeback after years in the wilderness.

The actress, 61, is joining the cast of BBC series Doctors as new character Mary McRae later this summer. 

She will play the mistress of a late womaniser Malcolm Brown, and ends up in hospital after fighting his wife Joan at his graveside.

It is her first major television role since 2010 when she enjoyed a short stint in another BBC series, Holby City. 

Leslie, who shot to fame alongside Neil Morrissey, Caroline Quentin and Martin Clunes in ITV comedy Men Behaving Badly, said she lost ten years of her life after contracting MSSA, a variant of superbug MRSA, during a hospital visit.

Leslie, who played Deborah in the hit show, has not had a mainstream telly role since playing Inspector Charlie Eden in BBC1 cop drama Merseybeat in 2004.

Instead she has focussed on personal projects which she produced and starred in but did not air on major channels. 

She admitted she “grieved” for the loss of her career – which nose-dived after the illness.

She ended up getting more than £5million in compensation from the NHS for loss of earnings.

Leslie – who was renowned for her trout pout after a botched lip filler op in the Noughties – said in 2019: “You go through a grieving process when you’ve lost your career. You know. And it can catch you at moments where you just feel like shit.”

A source said: “It’s a big deal for Leslie to be back on the mainstream channels.

“Merseybeat and Men Behaving Badly were a long time ago and she’s been focussing on smaller personal projects which are made through her company BooksOffice.

“It’s only a short stint on Doctors but hopefully it reminds the nation what a talent she is and gets her name back out there a bit more for other roles.”

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