Men Behaving Badly actress Leslie Ash would love to star in a reboot of the classic 90s sitcom – but believes it could never be made in today’s woke society.
Leslie reckons the show about two boozy and sex-obsessed flatmates wouldn’t work, despite the male characters being the butt of the jokes.
She says: “It was one of the best times of my life and such fun to do so I would love to do more, but I don’t think you could get away with a lot of the jokes.
“It’s a bit of a shame but we live in this woke time now.“
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"People said it was sexist but by the end everyone loved it because it was the girls poking fun at the boys and the boys making idiots of themselves.”
Men Behaving Badly ran between 1992 and 1998 and also made stars of Neil Morrissey, now 60, Martin Clunes, 61, and Caroline Quentin, 62.
But Leslie doesn’t keep in touch with her former castmates.
“It’s a lifetime ago,” she says. “It’s like going to school with people. You leave school and your paths don’t cross.”
The star – who has been married to former Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday footballer Lee Chapman, 63, since 1988 – has famously had a series of health battles.
She had a botched lip-job then in 2004 contracted a variant of the superbug MRSA in hospital after suffering an accident during a boozy sex session with Lee.
Leslie received £5million compensation, but the bug attacked her spine and left her so injured doctors told her she would be in a wheelchair by the age of 60.
Now 63, she has defied their prediction. Leslie says: “I’m fine. I go to the gym three times a week. I do have a balance problem but I walk with my stick.
“I’m an active person and I’ve got a two-year-old grandson who keeps me on my toes.
“I’m lucky my husband was a professional footballer so he knew a lot about how your muscles work and what you need to do.”
Leslie – who starred in 1979 film Quadrophenia as well as Holby City and Where The Heart Is – received the hefty payout because it was believed she would no longer be able to work.
But she has managed to return to screens, appearing in Doctors and Casualty in 2021.
Leslie also recently filmed a pilot for Sky TV with comedian Rosie Jones, 32.“I knew I would never work as much as I did before but I’m still working, bits and bobs, which is lovely,” she says. “I can’t complain.”
And she believes older actresses have more of a chance these days.
“I would definitely say there are more opportunities for women of my age,” says Leslie.
“And women that don’t necessarily look like people’s idea of a 60-year-old. Glamorous 60-year-olds.
“This industry has changed so much – a lot more women, better parts for women of my age – so it’s just a matter of getting out there.”
Leslie has teamed up with fellow 90s icons Mr Motivator, 70, Anthea Turner, 62, and East 17’s Terry Coldwell, 48, to mark 30 years since the start of Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life.
It has a special place in Leslie’s heart as she ran the first race – and remembers being beaten by TV presenter Anna Walker, 60.
Leslie, whose mother suffered from breast cancer, says: “She lapped me twice because I was so slow.“It was great fun and obviously it did well because they’ve done it every year since.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you can run or if you want to walk.
“It’s a lovely feeling when you’ve taken part to raise money for something which is just so badly needed.”
Leslie is supporting Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, calling on people to sign up and walk, jog, or run in a local event to raise funds to support life-saving research. You can sign up at the website raceforelife.org
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