Release: Sep 12, 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
- 13 removed scenes
- 3 extended scenes
- 1 extended & removed scene
- 1 extended scene & recut
- 1 removed scene & alternate footage
- Length difference: 415.76 seconds / approx. 6 minutes and 56 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 Alex's "That is what will happen", the opening starts in the International Version.
In the UK Version on the other hand, a door gets opened. We then see Alex entering a penitentiary. The inmates are excited to see a woman of course. On the way to see Arthur Layton, we hear Alex via voice-over: "The man who started this nightmare, Arthur Layton. The one person here who knows something about their deaths. But does he know yet?"
Then another door gets opened. Layton enters, Alex is already waiting for him behind the glass.
Layton: "Alex Drake. This is a pleasant surprise."
Alex: "You're my destiny. D'you know that? Some people get angels, and I get you."
Layton: "I never knew you cared."
Alex: "What do you know about Tim and Caroline Price?"
Layton: "Oh, erm… everything. Nothing."
Alex: "I think you're bluffing. I think anything you know you find out years from now."
Layton: "A gambler, I like that. Yeah, I like that a lot, but I'm a very dangerous man to gamble with."
Alex: "No, you're not. You're a petty, vicious little man and you are locked up tight in a very safe prison. I'll see you in 2008."
Alex gets up and really close to the glass, she says: "Loser."
Then she leaves. Now, the opening also begins in the UK Version.
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.
Extended Scene / Removed Scene
And right after the opening, there is the next difference.
In the International Version, Gene only throws one dart. Then Ray sleeping on his chair.
In the UK Version, Gene throws a second dart. Then a shot of two co-workers, followed by the shot of Ray sleeping (the shot from the International Version).
Now Alex from behind in the International Version. She looks around and dials a number.
In the UK Version, we see Alex enter the station. She takes off her jacket, puts it on her chair, looks at Ray sleeping on his chair (not the shot from the International Version!), walks around a bit in order to check out if she is being watched. When she dials a number (which turns out to be hers by the way), the versions are back in sync.
When Viv tells Gene that someone is about to visit the station, the conversation is longer in the UK Version.
Viv: "Someone wants to make a station visit."
Gene: "It's not that newt-loving bastard from the GLC again, is it?"
Viv: "Not Livingston. Worse."
Gene: "What, worse than Red Ken? Not possible?"
Viv: "Lord Scarman."
The bold-marked dialogs are missing in the International Version.
Extended Scene / Recut
The scene in the courtroom is longer in the UK Version.
Timothy Price: "I'd like to talk to you about the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The truth is not a switch that can be turned on and off. It is absolute. If you deviate from it for one split second, you invalidate it, you shatter it."
Furthermore, there is a small recut regarding the shot of Alex because this is exactly the moment when Price says the lines missing in the International Version (please see the 1st screenshot). Apparently, the fact Alex's presence distracts Evan was supposed to be in the International Version as well.
Alex's attempt to persuade her dad resp. Timothy Price of leaving London is longer in the UK Version. After Alex's "Please believe me", she keeps trying.
Alex: "Take a huge leap of faith."
Then Price blows out some smoke and opens a little box. A hand-drawn pictures pops up.
Price: "My daughter did it for me. My daughter's called Alex."
Alex: "I know."
Price: "Thank you for the warning, though I have to say you are a little eccentric."
Alex (laughs): "Oh, thank you. You’re not gonna take any notice of what I've said, are you?"
Price: I shouldn't have thought so, no.
With Price's "I know how to protect my family, Alex", the versions are back in sync.