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Ashes to Ashes

3.04 Series 3, Episode 4

Comparison:

  • International Version
  • UK Version
Release: Oct 04, 2015 - Author: Tony Montana - Translator: Tony Montana - external link: IMDB - more from this series
Compared are the cut International Version (German DVD by Polyband/WVG / FSK 16) and the uncut UK Version (UK DVD by Entertainment One / BBFC 15)


- 1 scene with alternate footage
- 12 removed scenes
- 1 recut
- Length difference: 424.4 seconds / approx. 7 minutes and 4 seconds



Background


Ashes to Ashes is a spin-off of the amazing BBC show Life on Mars (not to be confused with the US Version starring Harvey Keitel as Gee Hunt, which is basically alright, but compared to the original, it comes off second best). Similar to Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes is about a person that has an accident and then wakes up back in time. While DCI Sam Tyler from Life on Mars woke up in the 70s after a car crash, DI Alex Drake wakes up in the 80s after she got shot. Just like Sam, Alex desperately tries to find a way to get home, back to her little daughter Molly.

While Life on Mars took place in Manchester, Ashes to Ashes takes place in London. Other than the location, not many things have changed because DCI Hunt and his team have been transfered from Manchester to London. Besides Gene "The Gene Genie" Hunt himself, Ray Carling and Chris Skelton are in on it as well. Only Sam Tyler and Annie Cartwright are missing. Instead of Annie, young Shaz Granger is part of the team now. And instead of Sam, the spin-off is about Alex Drake. Like Sam, she sometimes gets upset about Gene's old-school methods and knows better. Among other things because there are things Gene simply cannot know yet because it has not happened yet.

Personally, I like Ashes to Ashes better than Life on Mars, which was an amazing show nonetheless. The different focus of each season is an added value that did not exist in Life on Mars. Furthermore, there is more Gene Hunt in it, who, similar to Ari Gold in Entourage, is the actual star of the show - despite the fact that the story is primarily about another person.



The Seasons


Season 1 is the season with the most similarities to Life on Mars. In both, the main character tries to figure out what to do how to get back home. This is also the only common theme in this first season. Other than that, the first season consists of "Case of the Week" episodes, as already known from Life on Mars (except for the final episodes of course).

Season 2 already tries a different approach. For the very first time, there is a common theme throughout the entire second season. In this case, it is a corruption scandal within the police that goes to the top. Indeed, there are a few "Case of the Week" episodes, but the characters never lose sight of the big picture, the corruption scandal, and it all ends in a two-part episode with a huge cliffhanger.

The final Season 3 has an entirely different concept. After cliffhanger finale in the second season, it takes some time until everything is back to normal. But even then, nothing is as it used to be. Starting with the first episode of this season, Alex has recurring visions of a young policeman wtih half of his face blown off. Moreover, a new character (Jim Keats) is being established. Apparently, Keats is after Hunt and he spares no effort to split up the team.
In general, the final season is more sinister on any level. Also, there are regular references to Sam Tyler and Life on Mars. The ending of Ashes to Ashes is also an ending of Life on Mars, if you will. Though there was an actual ending in Life on Mars, there was room for interpretation. In the finale of Ashes to Ashes, one gets a definite answer about where Sam and Alex are/were. Knowing Life on Mars is not a necessity, but it makes understanding the final season of Ashes to Ashes easier, that's for sure.
Certainly, the ending is not to everybody's taste. But it fits in perfectly, considering that the final season is rather sinister from the very beginning. In Life on Mars, the ending seemed a bit hasty resp. it all happened so sudden and next thing you know, the show was over. That does not mean the ending was bad. On the contrary, I liked it. But in Ashes to Ashes, it all seems thoroughly though through. And despite some reviews on the internet, the ending does make sense resp. one ending does not contradict the other one. The ending of Ashes to Ashes "only" adds another aspect to it. Explaining this in detail would be a massive spoiler hence I am not going to do that. But watch both shows and think about it for yourself. That way, it is more fun anyway. Also, I strongly advise to watch all 5 seasons of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes at least twice because the ending of Ashes to Ashes puts everything in a new perpective.



The Versions


Similar to Life on Mars, there are two versions of Ashes to Ashes as well: the so-called "International Version", which lacks footage and has been sold internationally, and the longer resp. uncut "UK Version".

The Uncut Versions of both shows are available in the UK: Life on Mars on both Blu-ray and DVD, Ashes to Ashes only on DVD for some reason.

Bottom line, the International Versions are alright because no elementary scene has been removed. I would still recommend the Uncut Versions though because some of the removed footage is quite nice.


Time index refers to the UK Version (in PAL)
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Removed Scene
00:00

No recap in the International Version. (no screenshots)

29 sec


Alternate Footage
03:16

Only the German DVD contains the additional titel "Zurück in die 80er" ("Back to the 80s). For obvious reasons, the UK DVD only contains the original show title. Furthermore, the German title of the episode follows after the opening. In the UK Version, the title does not appear.

Please note: I am well aware that this is irrelevant for international audiences, but I would not be surprised if this alteration had been made in other (non-English speaking) countries as well.

no difference
International VersionUK Version




Removed Scene
08:18

After Gene's "The man's a cripple, Bolly. Have a heart.", the International Version continues with Gene and Alex.
The UK Version goes on at the station instead.
Chris: "It's not fair Hanfield gets someone so tidy."
Ray: "Could do with a bird like that to brighten this place up."
Shaz: "Oi!"
Ray: "I mean a proper bird. You're like a bloke with tits."
Shaz: "I am not."
Ray: "I just mean I don't fancy you."
Shaz: "Oh, Christ."
Ray: "It's a good thing."
Shaz then leaves.
Ray: "Bloody hell."
Chris signalizes Ray to zip it. Shaz sits down next to Chris and smiles at him.
Then Shaz says: "I heard she had a gun. But you still ran after her?"
Chris:" Well, the guv lead the charge, but yeah. It was OK, she was one of us."
Shaz: "Yeah but what if she hadn't have been? It's a bit risky, that, in the line of fire."
Chris: "You almost sound like you care."
Shaz: "Course I do, Chris."
Dann greit Chris nach ihrer Hand.
Shaz: "I meant as a mate."
Chris lets go of Shaz' hand and with the following shot, the versions are back in sync.

53.36 sec




Removed Scene
10:26

After Gene and Alex talked to Shorty, the smack fiend, they leave. Then a shot at the station in the International Version. In the UK Version, the scene with Shorty is not over yet.
Shorty: "You belong here."
Gene keeps walking, Alex stops and turns around.
Shorty: "You look like you're visiting, but you're not, are you? You're staying."
Alex: "What did you say?"
Gene comes back: "Bolly!"
Alex intends to leave but she takes another look around first. She spots some writing on the wall: "For a good time call 6620". The next writing she looks at is "Molly waz here", followed by "Gene loves Sam (the word "loves" is illustrated by a heart). Alex then walks away and with the following shot at the station, the versions are back in sync.

43.12 sec




Removed Scene
13:44

The conversation with Louise Gardiner is longer in the UK Version.
After Gene's "Just that haven't phoned home for a while. Thought it might be nice to catch up, find out what's been going on in your life.", Louise makes an additional comment.
Louise Gardiner: "Westburn estate, 5 o'clock. I'll be there. Now, please…"
Then the versions are back in sync.

3.32 sec




Removed Scene
15:33

After the conversation with Terry Stafford, the International Version shows Alex and Gene at the station.
In the UK Version, Gene tells Alex about Terry.
Gene: "She won't make it with Terry sniffing around."
Alex: "He's quite a character, isn't he? He certainly knows how to wind you up."
Gene: "That murder charge he quirmed his way out of. He involved in an argument with a taxi driver over the fare. The driver didn't show Terry the necessary respect. Twelve hours later, the poor bastard's body was found in a lay-by."
Alex: "Didn't go to court?"
Gene: "No, it got thrown out. Inadmissible evidence. Our Terence walks away laughing."
Gene gets the radio out of his pocket: Ray, any sign at the mannequin store?
Ray: "Shut up shop for the day, guv. No sign of the bird."
Then Gene and Alex again.
Gene: "We could be here till the sun goes down and the shirt-lifters come out. I am telling ya, she ain't gonna show."
Gene walks away and with the following shot of Gene and Alex entering the station, the versions are back in sync.

47.2 sec

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