Daniela Denby-Ashe (born 9 August 1978, London) is an English actress.
Daniela Denby-Ashe was born in London
in 1978, and she has a brother two years her junior. Denby-Ashe is of exclusively Polish
descent. Her father, Mirosław Pszkit (pronounced "Pshkeet"), was born in Poland and came to the United Kingdom
aged 12. Denby-Ashe's mother was born in the UK and raised in France, but had Polish parents. Because of this, Denby-Ashe is fluent in French and Polish, as well as English. When her parents were getting married, they used the telephone directory
to search for a suitable English-sounding surname, as some people wouldn't learn how to pronounce Pszkit. One found "Denby", the other "Ashe" and as they couldn't decide which to use, they decided to double-barrel
the two surnames.
Denby-Ashe began studying ballet at the age of two and a half, and from the ages of 10 to 16, she attended Ravenscourt Theatre School. Her early career included television adverts and playing Saffy's daughter in an episode of Absolutely Fabulous in 1995. Other early appearances included The Bill and the Channel 4 sitcom Desmond's.
Daniela Denby-Ashe was first seen on television in an advert for KP Skips
("All that fizzin' and meltin'"), which then led her to her big break when, in 1995, she got the role of Sarah Hills
. She played this character until 1999. The following year, she got the role of Janey Harper
in a new BBC sitcom called My Family
. Denby-Ashe took a break from My Family
for the fourth series
in 2003, but returned to this role in 2004.
In 2004, she took the lead female role of Margaret Hale in the BBC drama adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South, and in 2006 played Mary in the Torchwood episode Greeks Bearing Gifts. Her other television roles include Is Harry on the Boat?, Office Gossip, Rescue Me and The Afternoon Play. In 2005, she appeared in a Radio 4 comedy called Ring Around the Bath. Denby-Ashe has also performed at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and Criterion Theatre, London in The Countess and in Motortown at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre.
In 2007, Denby-Ashe starred as Robert Maxwell's secretary in Maxwell, a BBC drama about his life.