As Liz (“Please can we just calm. The fuck. Down!”) in Shaun Of The Dead, Kate Ashfield was great. She was as believable as you can get in a zombie apocalypse comedy. Rooting back (assisted by embarrassed DVD commentary confessions) I watched Guest House Paradiso, the Bottom-movie-by-any-other-name in which she first featured with SOTD co-stars Simon Pegg and Bill Nighy; the film isn’t great, but she has spirit in it.
More recently I happened across a sitcom which piloted in the late 90s, called Love Is A Many Splintered Thing. It’s an Alan Davies vehicle in which he plays Russell, a frustrated musician earning a living writing advert jingles. His marriage has gone stale, and he ends up having an affair with a horticulturalist from Oldham. That’s Elly, played by Ashfield.
For some reason – a reason perhaps tied more to the fact that pert breasts are preferable to the stodgy script than for any plot development purposes – Elly sometimes flashes Russell in public places. She does it both as she leaves his house the morning after their first night together in the pilot, and whilst coming down a slide in a children’s playground during episode one. There’s even a gratuitous fully naked scene in episode five, when her landlady/friend/lover Camilla (Josie Lawrence) gives her a massage while at a Turkish bath.
Thankfully since then Ashfield seems to have been given roles involving a little more thought than just “Things are moving a bit slowly – let’s have our female lead disrobe!” Whilst I have no problems with nudity, in life, culture or art, when it’s being used to prop up Alan Davies’ television career, I think it’s time to say ya basta.