David Ashton was born in Greenock in 1961. After several years working for a bank, he studied at the Central Drama School in London in the mid 1960s and became an actor, appearing in theatre, film and television, including Doctor Who (three appearances), Monarch of the Glen and The Last King of Scotland. In the 1980s he started writing, firstly for radio and then later for television. Ashton won a Radio Times Drama award in 1985 for his play The Old Ladies at the Zoo.
His BBC radio series featuring Victorian Inspector McLevy has since been adapted by Ashton as novels, and are based on the real life James McLevy, an Irish Police Detective working in Leith in the 1830s who wrote his memoirs in the 1860s.
David Ashton now lives in London, where he continues to write and act.