Release: Sep 02, 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
- 4 extended scenes
- Length difference: 441.48 seconds / approx. 7 minutes and 21 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)
After the bust, Gene and Alex have a short conversation. When Alex leaves, the scene is insignificantly longer in the UK Version.
The International Version instantaneously shows the guy, who gets busted, getting put in the squad car. The camera then pans to Ray and Chris who are busy with the garden goblins resp. the drugs in them.
In the UK Version, the shot of Alex is longer. She walks away from Gene, then Gene turns around and leaves as well. Alex checks out the area, then she walks up some stairs. Now the guy under arrest getting put in the squad car plus the pan shot to Ray and Chris.
When Alex spots a young girl at the water, the International Version continues with a close-up of her.
The UK Version contains another shot of Alex, then the close-up of the girl.
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 Alex's conversation with Gene, the UK Version is briefly longer.
After Alex's "Trust me", the International shows Chris. In the UK Version, "The Gene Genie" becomes "The Gene Gentleman" and opens the door for Alex. Then he closes the door from outside and leaves. Then Chris.
After the mother of the deceased asked Gene and Alex whether they would like to come in, the International Version continues with the choir.
The UK Version also shows Alex and Gene entering the church. There is a cross hanging next to the entrance and on his way in, Gene sees it and says "Where were you when she needed you?". Then the choir.
Please note: the choir sing singt "Oh, happy day". In the International Version, the beginning of the song is audible during the last shot of Alex before the scene continues inside the church. Since the shot has noe ended yet in the UK Version, the song does not start to play until we see Gene entering the church (after he made the "Where were you when she needed you?" comment).
While the choir is singing, another one of Alex's flashbacks starts. The scene itself is in both versions, but it is longer in the UK Version. The versions are back in sync when her flashback ends abruptly. She then hears the choir sing again and reaches for a bible in front of her.
Alex first encounter with Evan White is longer in the UK Version.
Alex: "God, you were gorgeous."
Alex: "Er… are. You won't believe how glad I am to see you."
Evan: "Gosh, if only I had this effect on all the attractive women I met."
Alex (laughs): "Oh, you will."
Evan: "Thank you for the vote of confidence. Erm… Do you think I could have my hand back?"
Alex: "Yeah, sorry."
Evan: "Erm… message? For Caroline?"
Alex: "Erm, no. No, no message, I, er… I was just looking for some… some reassurance from someone I trust. It doesn't matter it's not important."
Evan: "So what are you gonna do? Without that reassurance?"
Alex: "What do you think I should do?"
Evan: "Do you think I'm the right to ask considering I've only actually known you for a matter of seconds?"
Alex (laughs): "Er, no."
Alex now asks: "But if you did know me?"
Evan: "I'd say go with your instinct. Good luck."
Then, Evan turns around and leaves.
The bold-marked dialogs are missing in the International Version.
The following scene is different as well resp. the UK Version is longer again.
In the UK Version, Gene is driving his Quattro.
Gene: "Where the bloody hell is she?"
He keeps driving, then Chris says: "Try left here, guv."
Now Gene again, until we see three prostitutes in front of a building. Then Gene, who has gotten out of his car by now. A prostitute says from the off: "Trixie? Yeah, she's alright."
Now we see Alex questioning one of the prostitutes and the comment from the off continues on-screen: "As long as you don't get on the wrong side of her. Had a soft spot for the lame ducks. Like a mum to the other girls."
The last comment is made from the off resp. we see Gene again. He is looking around. Then Alex's conversation continues on-screen.
Alex: "Alright. Well, remember, if you do see any dodgy ponters…"
Prostitute: "They're nealy all dodgy, love."
Alex: "…or if any girls go missing… call me."
Alex gives a piece of paper with her number on it, then she walks in Gene's direction.
In the International Version, Evan leaves. Then the three prostitutes in front of the building including the first comment from the off ("Trixie? Yeah, she’s alright"). The rest of the scene is identical.
After Alex's one night stand, the International Version goes on the station.
The UK Version contains a shot of Alex's TV. BBC 1 is on. But a few seconds, everything becomes surreal again. We see Alex sleeping and the TV in rotation while voices are calling Alex's name. Then the TV fades to black and so does the actual Ashes to Ashes show. The next morning. A phone starts ringing which wakes Alex up. A bit hungover, she answers.
Then Shaz at the other end of the phone but her comments indistinctly.
Alex: "Hi. Hi, Shaz. Yes, no, I'm… I'm fine, erm… Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'll… I'll… I'll be in. Yeah, I'll be in. See you later."
Alex lies down again, she is obviously not in the mood to get up. From the off, one can hear a girl: "Please, I can't. I can't."
Now the girl and a female cop at the station. From this point on, the versions are back in sync.
After Alex's comment "Word of advice. Don't bother with poker.", Alex leaves. Then a shot of Viv's reaction to Alex's "condition". With the shot of Chris who has just finished a phone call, the versions are back in sync.