Release: Oct 01, 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
- 18 removed scenes
- 1 extended scene
- Length difference: 425.08 seconds / approx. 7 minutes and 5 seconds
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.
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.
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)
No recap in the International Version. (no screenshots)
The International Version lacks the "Uptown Girl" montage subsequent to the recap. Then Alex waking up on her couch, the TV is still on. She switches the channel and says "Where is everybody?".
With the scene at the station where "Uptown Girl" is being played on the radio, the versions are back in sync resp. the International Version begins with that scene.
Please note: in the International Version, another song is being played. The reason is probably the missing "Uptown Girl" montage which will be referred to several times. Although, even with that montage, I can't think of any reason whatsoever why the song on the radio needed to be replaced.
After Gene's "Now listen up! Keats is in today, he wants to interview you all about the efficiency of the ship I run.", the International Version continues with a shot of Alex.
In the UK Version, the scene goes on.
Gene: "What are you looking at?"
Then Gene in the "Uptown Girl" montage for a brief moment. Apparently, Alex recalls it at the very moment she is looking at Gene. Gene then turns around and returns to his office.
With the following shot of Alex, the versions are back in sync.
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.
When Alex is skimming through the Sam Tylor file, she is being interruped ty by Shaz in the International Version which is why she hastily closes the file.
In the UK Version, she is skimming through the file as well. Then a shot of Chris getting up from his desk. He approaches Alex at her desk.
Alex hastily closes the file, then she says: "Yes, Chris."
Chris: "It's Shaz. She's not been herself these last few days."
Alex: "What's the matter with her?"
Chris: "No idea."
Alex: "Well, have you asked her?"
Chris: "She won't give me the time of day."
Alex: "Alright, I'll have a word."
Chris: "Thanks, ma'am."
Chris turns around and intends to leave but Alex has a question for him regarding Sam Tyler.
Alex: "Chris! Ehm… You were friends with Sam Tyler, weren't you?"
Chris: "Well, not sure about 'friends'. He was more of a mentor really. Amazing bloke."
Alex: "Were you there when they found his car in the river?"
Chris: "No, ehm… The blaggers split up and so did we. It was the Guv and Ray who found his car."
Alex: "Right. Thanks."
Chris: "Why do you ask?"
Alex: "No reason."
Chris smiles at her, then he leaves.
Now, Shaz now approaches Alex in the International Version as well. In other words, the versions are back in sync.
The conversation between Alex and Gene is longer in the UK Version.
After shot of the picture in the file, the scene is not over yet.
Gene: "I went to her funeral."
Alex: "You went to victim's funeral?"
Gene: "Yeah, I felt I'd let her down, Bolly. Still do."
With Alex's "There must be some connection.", the versions are back in sync.
After Gene took down the newspaper article about Sam Tyler's death and cumpled it up, the International Version shows Ray.
In the UK Version, the scene with Gene continues. He looks at several pictures from the files.
With the following shot of Ray, the versions are back in sync.