Release: Oct 06, 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
- 8 removed scenes
- 3 extended scenes
- Length difference: 437.08 seconds / approx. 7 minutes and 17 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 Alex's "Guv says you should all get off home, get some rest.", the International Version continues with an exterior shot of the station.
The UK Version shows Chris and Shaz on their way to Alex instead. Chris knocks, even though the door is already open.
Chris: "Night, ma'am."
Shaz (with a smile on her face): "Night."
Chris and Shaz then take a look at the monitor that shows Viv. Shaz is not smiling anymore.
Chris: "Might just make a few more calls."
Shaz: "I'll just get an update from the prison services, then I'll be off."
Chris and Shaz leave. A shot of Alex follows, then Viv resp. the monitor one more time. Subsequently, a shot of Keats playing cards by himself. Then Gene walking around the station with a cigarette in his hand, followed by shot of Alex. Chris and Shaz have fallen asleep at their desks. So has Ray. Alex takes the burning cigarette in Chris' hand and puts it out.
With the following shot of the station, the versions are back in sync.
After the exterior shot of the station, the International Version lacks another scene.
Alex walks around the corner, previous dialogs are audible while she keeps walking.
Alex: "Guv, what are you doing?"
Then one car Keats whistling the Westham anthem. At the same time, one can hea Alex saying "Guv, stop!"
Alex then enters the room in which Gene beat up Paul Thordy, She takes a look around and finds a tooth. Apparently, it belongs to Paul Thordy and got knocked out when Gene beat him up. All of a sudden, the cop with half the face blown off reappears in front of her.
Alex: "What? What are you trying to tell me? I don't want to be here anymore. Please just show me. Show me what I'm supposed to do."
Alex looks at the tooth in her and when she looks back up, the cop has vanished. She takes another look at the tooth and with the following shot of Keats, the versions are back in sync.
Alex haa another one of her dreams about current events. Although she has that dream in both versions, the dream is slightly longer in the UK Version. To be more specific, this is a cut made for continuity reasons. Shortly before (please see the cut at 21:16), the dead cop with half his face blown off is missing in the International Version and when Alex remembers resp. dreams about asking him what he wanted, it was manditory that this small scene is not in the International Version. Other than that, the dream is the same.
Besides all kinds of real fictional images, Alex hears several comments of the people involved:
- Keats: "Find out what he did, Alex."
- Keats: "Before it's too late."
- Alex: "What are you trying to tell me?"
- Thordy: "My name is Sam Tyler."
- Shaz: "Ma'am. Ma'am."
With Shaz' third !Ma’am!", we see hear standing in front of Alex who gets woken by this.
Removed Scene / Extended Scene
The conversation with Thordy trying to persuade Alex that he is the actual Sam Tyler is longer in the UK Version. After Thordy's "I know everything.", the conversation continnues as follows:
Alex: "Right. Well, let's start with the motive, shall we? Think back…"
Thordy: "My thoughts don't go back, they go forward to 2005, the year I died."
Alex: "Really? Right. Well, can you tell me East 17's Christmas number one in 1994?"
Thordy: "I know the secret and you're playing parlour games. I hoped you'd be better than that."
Alex: "I'll make it easy for you. A: 'Gangster's Paradise', B: 'Stay Another Day' or C: 'Ooh Ahh… Just A Little Bit'? A, B or C? No? Well, there we are, that blows your little game out of the water."
Thordy: "Don't mock me. You forget, Alex. That's what happens to you here. You forget."
Now an exterior shot of the prison building. Subsequently, a shot of Gene entering the room Chris and Ray are in with some kind of box in his hand.
Gene: "Ray. Chris. Right, listen up. I propose we bury you in amongst the journalists. Have a listen, take pictures, judge the mood. You in?"
Gene gives Ray a camera.
Ray: "I'm in."
Chris: "I'm in."
Gene gives Chris a few things, too.
Gene: "Here you go. Right, let's you changed. Come on."
Gene and Ray leave the room, Chris stays behind for a moment.
During the mentioned scene, one can hear Alex speaking with Thordy off-screen.
Alex: "You shared a cell with Sacks for eight months."
Now Alex speaks on-screen: "How did he seem to you during that time?"
The bold-marked dialogs are missing in the International Version.
Please note: Alex's comment "You shared a cell with Sacks." is also off-screen in the International Version but it is audible during the last shot of Thordy before the huge (here described) cut. After the small second cut (please see the blod-marked part), the versions are back in sync.
Disguised as reporters, Chris and Ray enter the prison. They are walking down some stairs and Jason Sacks is already waiting for the reporters at the bottom, to be exact.
Sacks (to one of the reporters): "You, over there."
Then Alex running to prison.
Now, Chris and Ray approach Sacks.
Sacks: "You, and you."
Sacks takes a closer look at them, then he says: "Over there."
Then a shot of Alex. In the UK Version, Alex is running across prison hallway.
With the shot of Alex running into the office with Gene Keats, among others, the versions are back in sync.
The bold-marked dialogs are missing in the International Version.
When the cat is out of the bag resp. when Ray and Chris are aware that Viv smuggled the weapon into prion, their conversation is longer in the UK Version. After Ray's "I mean it. You're a disgrace to the uniform.", the International Version contains another shot of Viv, followed by a shot of Alex.
In the UK Version, their conversation continues.
Ray: "Go to hell."
Then the shot of Viv, followed by the shot of Alex.
After Gene's conversation with Alex, the International Version goes on with Thordy.
The UK Version shows Sacks in prison again.
Sacks: "I want the whole caged rigged. All the way around, alright?"
Viv, Chris and Ray are being positioned.
One of the inmates says to Chris and Ray: "Stay there."
With the inmate gone, Chris starts a conversation with Ray..
Ray looks at Chris. Then Chris says: "If I don't make it out of here, can you give Shaz a message? Can you tell her… Can you tell her I love her?"
Ray looks down with embarrassment and nods. He then says something nice to Chris as well.
Ray: "You've been a good pal to me. I don't know how to say this without sounding like a twat."
Chris: "Go on."
Ray: "If you don't get out of here… can I have your mug, cos mine's knackered?"
Chris laughs, then a small shot of Ray.
With the following shot of Thordy, the versions are back in sync.