Release: Sep 19, 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
- 15 removed scenes
- 1 extended scene
- Length difference: 362 seconds / approx. 6 minutes and 2 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)
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.
After Chris' "A panda?", the International Version continues with Alex and Gene in the hallway.
In the UK Version, Gene gives further orders.
Gene: "Ray, get rid off Bugs Bunny and roll your sleeve down. You look like you're about to milk a cow."
Gene walks off, Chris gets up.
Chris: "Should I phone the RSPCA?"
Ray: "It's a bit late for that, you twonk."
Dann Alex (to Gene): "Guv. Can I have a word?"
After Gene's "Luigi's", the UK Version shows Alex and Gene in the hallway as well.
After the newspaper report about Robin Elliot, the International Version shows him in his cell.
In the UK Version, we see Gene and Alex in front of the jail, getting out of the Quattro.
Gene: "Twice in one day. Let's hope this one's still breathing."
Alex: "Robin Elliot's the only animal-rights extremist ever to be convicted of murder. At his trial, he made a speech comparing vivisectionists to Nazis. He certainly knows how to work the publicity machine."
Gene: "Do you think he can scale prison walls as well?"
Then the versions are back in sync.
The conversation with Robin Elliot in his jail cell is longer.
Elliot: "That's what happened seven years ago, and you'll see, the same thing will happen again. That's my legacy. That's what I'm leaving behind."
Gene: "The only thing you'll be leaving behind will be a nasty smell. New laws are coming in that are gonna shot all over your statue."
Then the versions are back in sync.
Please note: Due to the cut, alternate footage was required. The International Version shows Gene when Elliot says "That bill will never become law". The UK Version shows Elliot instead.
And again, the conversation with Elliot is longer in the UK Version.
After Elliot's question about the last time Alex saw her daughter, she says: "You know, I think you're trying to create intimacy between us by referring to something personal. So tell me. Do you miss your mother?"
Elliot: "Not as much as calves and lambs miss theirs when they're taken away soon as they're born…"
Alex: "Don't hide behind doctrine, Robin. I'm asking you a question."
Elliot: "…to be fattened and slaughtered."
Alex: "Do you miss…"
Elliot: "Then packaged and sold…"
Alex: "Do you miss…"
Elliot: "…like they were never living things."
Alex: "Do you miss your mother? (Small pause)
Alex: "You know, even as you dehumanise yourself, you want to humanise me. I think there's still a spark in you. A spark that wants to reach out to other people, perhaps to be saved."
Elliot shakes his head, then he says: "Look around you, Alex. There's so much suffering."
Alex: "And what about your suffering? All life is precious. Every single second of it. And you felt that once. I saw when you remembered playing the piano, you remembered what that felt like. I can tell you now, Robin, that your death, more deaths, will achieve absolutely nothing."
Elliot: "Marches, sit-ins and petitions. What have they achieved?"
Alex: "Things will change. There'll be happy cows and free-range and a total ban on vivisection for cosmetics. That's the future, Robin."
Elliot: "No, Alex. In the future, they'll clone animals."
Alex: "How do you know that? How could you possibly know that? Is it you? Did you send me the roses?"
Then Gene and Jeremy again. They are listening in via headphones.
The bold-marked dialogs are missing in the International Version.
After Alex knocked on the door in order to get out of there asap, the International Version continues with a shot of the Quattro.
In the UK Version, she comes running out of the jail cell.
Alex: "Let's go! Now!"
Gene: "How do you know he's telling the truth?"
Alex: "We don't. But if it's happening, it is happening now. And we've got 10 minutes to get there."
With the following shot of the Quattro, the versions are back in sync.
Additional shot of the Quattro in the UK Version.
More footage of the Quattro in action.
After Gene stopped, Gene and Alex also get out of the Quattro in the UK Version. They are about to enter the animal lab.
Alex: "I'm sorry. I really thought he knew where the targets were."
Gene: "The only thing he knows is how to waste police time. He's no use to anyone. He's better off dead."
They then enter the building. Subsequently, they are in the hallway and with the shot of the monkey in a cage, the versions are back in sync.
Please note: due to the last three cuts (starting with 26:53), the song "Eye of the Tiger", which is being played when Gene and Alex are on their way to the animal lab in the Quattro, is longer in the International Version. It does not stop until the team is discussing vandalism at the animal lab. In the UK Version, the song stops right before they enter the animal lab.
Gene says "Right. Let's get looking.", then a shot of Alex.
The International Version shows Alex following the music resp. she goes to the Department of Music.
In the UK Version, we see Chris with the dogs. He seems to like dogs and says: "Me and Shaz might get a…"
But before he can finish his sentence, one of the dogs barks at him.
As a result, he ends his comment different than originally planned: …plant."
With the now following of the entrance to the Department of Music, the versions are back in sync.