Release: Sep 07, 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
- 11 removed scenes
- 3 extended scenes
- 1 recut
- Length difference: 260.32 seconds / approx. 4 minutes and 20 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.
The scene with Gene's informer is longer. Alex says "OK. Well, good luck". Now the shot of the station in the International Version. In the UK Version, Alex walks away first.
The of end of the conversation with Marcus is longer in the UK Version.
In the International Version, Alex says "If you want to talk, or if Neary says anything…". Then she passes him a note with her phone number on it. Marcus grabs it and says "Alright". Then Gene and Alex at Luigi'.
In the UK Version, Marcus also gets up and leaves. Then the scene at Luigi's.
Finding the body of Gene's snitch resp. the tracking shot at the beginning of the scene is longer in the UK Version…
…and so is the ending.
After Gene's "Take him down, now", the International Version continues with Gene on the way to his Quattro.
In the UK Version, the scene is longer and a shot of Alex follows. Furthermore, the beginning of the following scene (Gene on his way to the Quattro) is longer. Only in the UK Version, Alex tries to talk to Gene but he keeps ignoring her.
Alex: "Gene? I'm sorry, Gene. He was wearing your suit. Gene!"
The ending of the conincidental encounter with Neary is slightly longer in the UK Version. When Marcus has left, Alex leaves as well. With the shot at the station, the versions are back in sync.
The scene at the station is much longer in the UK Version. After Shaz' "I'd pay", the International Version goes on with the next scene.
In the UK Version, Gene gets up, takes a closer look at Alex and while standing behind her, he takes off her earrings. He walks around her, looks at her purse and says "No". Then he fixes her top, says "Better" and leaves. Alex thanks him and puts the earrings on her desk.
Please note: if you look carefully, you will notice that does not wear earrings all of a sudden. Only the UK Version gives the explanation why that is the case.
The "motivational speech" at the guy club is longer in the UK Version.
Ray: "No way."
Alex: "It's a great oportunity."
Ray: "Who bloody for?"
Gene: "This is a dangerous situation. Now, we need a man who knows how to handle himself in a tight spot."
Ray (while Chris is laughing): "Guv!"
Gene: "Neary is a hard bastard. He's a killer. Now, I need somebody there that I can trust, somebody who understands the risks of an undercover operation, somebody who's reliable but quick-thinking, a rock-hard centre back. I need Dave Watson. Nothing drastic, just pick up what you can."
The next comment by Gene with a double meaning. For that reason, Chris, who has a stupid smile on his face all the time, laughs again.
Ray: "But what do I say? What do I do? I mean, poofters, what do they do? I don't know."
Alex: "Well, the man has a penis and the other man has a penis."
Ray: "Look. No. How do they act and that? How are they?"
Chris (with assumed voices): - "Are you free, Mr. Humphreys?" - "I'm free!"
Alex rolls her eyes and says (to Ray): "Just be yourself."
The rest of the scene is identical.
The bold-marked dialogs are missing in the International Version.
Ray's attempt to hit on Neary resp. Gene's and Chris' reaction to it is longer in the UK Version. The dialog remains unchanged but the end of the shot is longer. After Chris' "Bloody hell", the International Version instantaneously cuts to Ray and Neary. In the UK Version, the shot of Gene and Chris is insignificantly longer.
Recut / Extended Scene
The order of events is different.
Neary: "Look, now's not the time to talk about business, eh?"
Ray nods, then Neary says something in Ray's ear and Ray laughs. Gene and Chris can't believe it. Then Ray again. He will soon be laughing out of the other side of his face. He pushes Neary away, knocks over the table in front of him, punches the security guys and runs off. Then Alex and Marcus, who has witnessed the entire things and leaves without comment.
In the International Version, Marcus has had it after Neary's "Look, now's not the time to talk about business, eh?" and leaves. Other than that, the sequence remains unchanged i.e. now the rest of Ray's conversation with Neary including his quick escape.
Furthermore, the UK Version is longer. An entire shot is not missing though and neither is any dialog. Instead, a shot and a shot there is insigificantly longer (screenshots only from the UK Version)
When Alex comes clear with Marcus, the end of the shot is briefly longer in the UK Version. To be more specific, it is the shot of Alex when Marcus has left.