Release: Oct 03, 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
- Length difference: 394.6 seconds / approx. 6 minutes and 35 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)
The UK Version is longer when Ray runs into the burning house. In the International Version, Alex yells "Ray! Ray!". Then the opening starts.
In the UK Version, Alex yells "Ray!" for the third time. Then she turns around and yells "Help me, someone. He's gone in.". Then Alex looking at the burning building. Subsequently, the opening starts in the UK Version as well.
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.
When Viv is gone, Gene suggests to continue at Luigi's in the International Version.
In the UK Version, the briefing begins earlier.
Gene: "Right. Listen up, you lot. DI Drake her eis gonna give us a psychiatric insight…"
Gene: "…into the mind of an arsenist."
Alex: "The motive in most cases of arson, no matter how sophisticated, is usually a cry for help."
Chris: "Why can't the bastard just cry for help then instead trying to kill people?"
Alex: "Because he's unable to articulate underlying anger into words."
Shaz: "How do we know it's a he?"
Alex: "Most of those convicted of arson are male. There may be evidence of occupational maladjustment, sexual, merital problems, alcoholism."
Gene: "That could apply to half the country. Come to think of it, apply to most of the people in here. If it was political, then why remain anonymous? I mean Election Day ist he perfect soap box for your cause."
With Gene's "Right. I suggest we decamp to Luigi's.", the versions are back in sync.
After Chris threw the cigarette on the counter because the lighter does not work, the phone rings in the Josephine Klick S2E0. Then a shot of Alex and Shaz turning around, followed by a shot of Gene taking a sip from his glass. Now, Luigi answers the phone.
In the UK Version, Chris throws the cigarette on the counter, then a scene with Gene, Alex and Shaz.
Gene: "What is it with women and firemen? It's pathetic. You'll want him to slide down his pole next."
Alex: "Such a cliché."
Shaz: "It's pathetic."
Gene: "Come on! All wome enjoy a crafty little kit-kat shuffle when they think about firemen."
Shaz: "Would you slide down his pole, ma'am?"
Alex: "Like a shot. Would you?"
Shaz: "I'm spoken for."
Chris: "Anyone we know?"
Shaz: "No, his name's Julian. He's an interior designer."
Ray (whispers to Chris): Forget about Shaz, mate. I've got just the girl for you. A mate of mine gave it to me. Big Wendy."
Chris: "Is that a…?"
Ray: "Oh yeah, an orange. But she says she can fit a melon up there as well."
Now, the phone rings in the UK Version as well. Then the already mentioned shots of Alex and Shaz, Gene and finally Luigi answering the phone.
When Gene grabs Barney and drags him around the station, the scene is longer in the UK Version.
Alex: "I promised his parents."
Gene: "I proised nothing."
Barney: "Help me!"
Alex: "He's 12."
Gene: "So? Little Jimmy Osmond was ten and look at the pain and mysery he inflicted."
Alex: "Guv, it's abuse. What next? Water boarding?"
Gene: "Oh, it's typical. I go for a confession and you wanna teach him to surf."
The versions are back in sync when Gene pushes Barney in the direction of a cop in uniform and says "Right. Get that little scrote down to cell three.".
When Andy Smith got arrested, the International Version continues with his interrogation.
In the UK Version, Ray enters the station with Andy. Then Ray talks to a cop in uniform.
Ray: "Take him to the interview room. Give him anything he wants."
Andy (from the background): "I don't need anything."
Ray: "Look, treat him right or I’ll hear about it."
Dann geht Ray und Jim Keats nähert sich Alex.
Alex: "It's possible you get your result, then Scotland Yard can stop fussing.
Keats: "Just as long as it's not 'a' result."
Yeah. "It has to be bona fide."
Keats: "Alex, you know Hunt. If he's feeling the pressure, he'll wrap it up and get me off his back. I'll leave it to you."
Keats leaves, then Alex. Subsequently, we see Alex on the rooftop. Ray is already there.
Alex: "You OK, Ray?"
Ray: "Yeah. I come up here to breath sometimes. Feel like I'm choking."
Alex: "That was a brave thing you did back there. Arresting him. It was tough."
Alex: "Took guts."
Ray lächelt kurz.
Alex: "You remember I said, as you ran into the fire, you had that look in your eye?
Ray: "Yeah, I was bricking it."
Alex: "No, something else. It was strangest look."
Ray: "Go on, then. I'm all agog."
Alex: "It was hope. Desperate hope."
Ray: "For what?"
Alex: "Going into that fire wasn't just about helping a woman who was trapped. It was gonna help you, too."
Ray: "How's it helping me?"
Alex: "I don't know, Ray. But whatever it is that you're holding onto, you have to let it go. 'Cos it's just gonna keep on eating you up, in there."
Ray: "Nothing eats away at these guts, Drake."
Alex leaves, then Ray for a brief moment.
With the following interrogation of Andy Smith, the versions are back in sync.
After Ray took Steve Smith to his brother Andy in the cell, the following conversation between Gene and Alex starts earlier in the UK Version.
Gene: "What did you manage to get out of her that I didn't?"
Alex: "From what Karen said, Andy's a lot worse than we thought. And you're right, guv. She's definately protecting him. She flew off the handle when I asked if he'd confessed to her."
Then Keats shows up in front of them.
Keats: "You've got a war hero locked up on election day. The Yard have told me to insist you release Andy Smith within the hour."
Alex: "Andy Smith is a man out of control. If he's released, he's definately gonna kill again."
Keats: "Your professional opinion?"
Alex: "Yeah, my professional opinion."
Keats then leaves without saying a single word.
Alex: "You been putting crap in his office again?"
With Gene's next comment, the versions are back in sync.