Life-changing impact of university outlined by Derby graduate at parliamentary event

28 March 2024

A practising criminal barrister and TV crime adviser who studied at the University of Derby has been telling guests at a parliamentary reception how studying for a degree transformed her life.

The event, organised by Universities UK, highlighted the impact of universities. Jeanette Ashmole, who was invited to make a speech at the House of Lords event, explained to the audience of university leaders, MPs and Peers how studying Law at the University of Derby led to a successful career in Law and TV.

Orphaned at the age of nine, Jeanette was fostered by her aunt and uncle before leaving home at 16 and worked in a variety of jobs before joining the police. Having discovered a passion for Law, she entered a competition run by the University of Derby and the Derby Telegraph to win a scholarship to study Law at the University. She was successful and started studying in 2008 at the age of 23, when her daughter was nine months old and she was expecting her second child.

After completing her degree full time while also raising her children, she obtained a further scholarship to pay to study to become a barrister. Jeanette told the House of Lords audience that, although the scholarship fell short of the amount she needed, she went onto a TV game show where she won the money to pay for the remainder of the fees.

Jeanette was called to the Bar in 2012 before completing pupillage in London five years later, working in the interim for the UK Home Office as a Criminal Investigator.

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Jeanette complements her criminal practice with running her own TV consultancy company, TV Crime Consulting, where she consults and contributes to many high-profile TV series for the BBC, ITV and Netflix, including Happy Valley and Jimmy McGovern’s successful prison drama, Time. She is also the resident legal script and story adviser at Coronation Street.

Jeanette said:

“Being invited to talk at the House of Lords, one of the oldest institutes in the world, where laws are made and where many past kings and queens have delivered their state opening of parliament address, was indeed an honour.

“It was a pleasure to share with so many influential people how attending university has transformed my life and my family’s. I will forever be in debt to the University of Derby and the Derby Telegraph for giving somebody like me, who didn’t have the best of starts in life, the opportunity to reach their true potential.”

University of Derby Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kathryn Mitchell CBE DL, said:

“It was inspiring to hear about the transformational impact of universities, and particularly to hear Jeanette’s powerful story as an alumna of Derby. The University of Derby is proud to open doors and create opportunities for everyone, whatever their background, and Jeanette is a shining example of how with the determination to succeed, and the right environment and support, there are no limits to what individuals can achieve.”

Find out more about studying at the University of Derby.

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