I'd Do Anything Nancy finalist Ashley is originally from Edinburgh. Ashley, who is 24 years old, trained at Mountview Theatre School under the Dame Judi Dench Scholarship.
Ashley works part-time as a freelance drama teacher in London - she also worked part time in a debt collector's office but got fired the day before her first audition! Ashley loves doing accents, is addicted to shopping in charity shops, and is obsessed with Michael Buble.
Will the public select Ashley to be Nancy in the new West End production of Oliver at The Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London?
Saturday 29 March 2008: At the first of the BBC I'd Do Anything 'knock-out' shows Ashley Russell sung the Allanah Myles song 'Black Velvet'. Afterwards Denise Van Outen told Ashley: "Fanatastic personality, and they all loved you here, but you have to sit back on it a bit because you have a tendancy to go a little bit 'jazz hands' - but a great performance."
Sunday 30 March 2008: The first 'Results Show' when the results of the public telephone votes where announced - and Graham Norton revealed that Ashley Russell had gained enough votes to go straight through to next week's I'd Do Anything programme.
Saturday 5 April 2008: For the second BBC I'd Do Anything 'knock-out' shows Ashley Russell sung the Duffy song, 'Mercy'. Graham Norton asked Denise: "You had worries last week with Ashley's 'jazz hands' - did she pick up on those notes?" Denise Van Outen replied: "Absolutely, Ashley, I was really worried about you last week, because I thought you did go over the top, but today you did a fantastic performance, I felt very comfortable watching you. It was brilliant, a strong vocal and I loved all the movement with the guys as well. A great performance tonight, well done!" John Barrowman said: "I totally agree, Ashley you commanded the stage - you put a little 'Glasgow' in it, baby, and you made it a little tough. A great Performance." Barry Humphries said: "I liked you very much Ashley - there might have been a little bit more warmth I think in the performance, but that may be due to the song. And, of course, wonderful red hair - you are like an attractive Fergie." Andrew Lloyd Webber concluded by saying: "A really really good attempt, but not much better than that, and I hope you stay in the competition because I think there is a lot to explore in you and, I don't quite know where it is going to go, but I think there is a lot."
Sunday 6 April 2008: The second 'Results Show' - once again Graham Norton revealed that Ashley had secured enough public telephone votes to go straight through to next week's programme.
Saturday 12 April 2008: For the third BBC I'd Do Anything 'knock-out' shows Ashley Russell sang the song 'The Winner Takes It All' from the musical Mamma Mia!. Afterwards John Barrowman said: "I thought that was spectacular. Gone are the jazz hands, the simplicity of that song, the way you did it, was lovely, and mamma mia! forget them, because you are a Nancy contender now!" Barry Humphries commented: "Ashley, I never really thought that you were a definite contender for the role, and now I do. You're allowing your own personality to come through, you've dropped those stagey mannerisms, it was a great performance." Denise Van Outen commented: "For the first time tonight I saw the heart of Nancy in this competition, you delivered it tonight, it was absolutely beautiful, real and honest. Everything we're looking for." Andrew Lloyd Webber concluded by saying: "Well Ashley I think you really are extremely talented. I worry a little bit that we might get a little bit bored with your voice after a while, and that is a dredful thing to say, I know - but I do look for star quality in a voice and I'm on a see-saw about this, I'm not sure."
Sunday 13 April 2008: The second 'Results Show' - once again Graham Norton revealed that Ashley had secured enough public telephone votes to go straight through to next week's programme without having to perform in the dreaded 'sing-off'.
Saturday 19 April 2008: This week on the BBC I'd Do Anything programme the fourth Nancy Finalist was due to leave the competition, to leave just eight Nancy hopefuls. For this programme Ashley Russell sang the Whitney Houston song 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody'. Afterwards Denise Van Outen said: "Ashley, that was very bubbly and vivacious, it was a fantasic performance. I felt that you had a couple of pitch problems in the middle, but you pulled it back. And Andrew said last week he had concerns about being tired of your voice if he heard it too often - it's growing on me, week-after-week. You're a strong contender for this role!" Barry Humphries said: "Ashley, I warmed to you very much last week, and I continue to do so - it was a brave and strong performance." John Barrowman commented: "Ashley, I totaly agree with my fellow panelists - I am so not bored with your voice, I love it every week. Also, I think that we do need to work on a little bit of your movement, to work on that leading lady look a little more." Watching the show on television via a live video link in Las Vegas was Andrew Lloyd Webber who concluded by saying: "Now I don't know what to do - Ashley, I think you are a smashing person and all of that. It's a song which I'm afraid only goes from A to A, so that's one thing, but I'm afraid I thought that the performance only went from A to A with a couple of wonky notes as well in the middle of it. I'm afraid it's one of those things. I don't really rate your voice, sorry."
Sunday 20 April 2008: The 'Results Show' - When Graham Norton announced the results of the public telephone votes it was revealed that Ashley had come bottom. Therefore she had to perform the dreaded sing off with Francesca Jackson who had come second from bottom. The sing-off song choosen this week was the title song from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Whistle Down The Wind. Afterwards Andrew Lloyd Webber had the task to save one Nancy: "Both of them sang wonderfully and it was extraordinary sing-off. I have to decide really between a fabulous professional actress and then with Ashley and what the panel obviously feel about her and I'm doing it from 5,000 miles away - this is the toughest call I've ever, ever had, and I really mean this. However, thinking about everything, just weighing absolutely everything that the panel have said up - I'm going to save Ashley." Thus Ashley gets saved by Andrew and gets to return next week.
Saturday 26 April 2008 This week on the BBC I'd Do Anything programme Ashley Russell sang the Barbra Streisand song 'Evergreen'.
Sunday 27 April 2008: The fourth 'Results Show' - Graham Norton revealed that Ashley had secured enough public telephone votes to go straight through to next week's programme without having to perform in the dreaded 'sing-off' for a second time.
Saturday 3 May 2008 What will Ashley Russell sing this evening? Will she get enough public votes to go through to next week's programme - or will she have to perform in the 'sing-off' for a second time and hope she gets saved again by Andrew Lloyd Webber.