Release: Sep 20, 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)
- 2 scenes with alternate footage
- 23 removed scenes
- 2 extended scenes
- Length difference: 540.66 seconds / approx. 9 minutes and 1 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 the scene at the bus depot, the International Version continues with the photo shoot.
In the UK Version, we see Ray leaving a pub. He approaches Alex and Chris.
Ray: "The landlord says he rents the room out above the pub to a bloke called Gordon Lanegan."
Alex: "Right. Are we ready? (tou Jackie) Don't you need to light up? You haven't had a cigarette for at least five seconds."
Jackie: "Good point."
Gene: "Right. Now, let's go and dance the light fantastic on Gordon's head."
Then they are headed to the pub. In the next scene, Gordon is taking pictures of the girl from the bus depot. Except for her socks and underwear, she is not wearing anything.
Gordon (while taking pictures): "Come on, give us a smile. Come on, darling, cheer up. You're on a beach."
With Gene kicking in the door, the versions are back in sync.
In the UK Version, the end of the scene with Alex, Jackie and Gene in his office is longer. After Gene's "I think we'd better have a word with this Mr. Jarvis.", Jackie also says "Told you. Nasty eyes.". With the beginning of Jarvis' interrogation, the versions are back in sync.
The scene with Gene and Alex having locked themselves in in Gene's office is longer in the UK Version.
In the International Version, he gets some bank statements from his filing cabinet and turns around. Then a shot of the listening device.
In the UK Version, the scene goes on.
Alex: "What is it?"
Gene: "Bank statements."
Alex: "Whose are they?"
Gene: "Metropolitan police officers'."
Alex: "Where did you get them?"
Gene: "Don't ask and I won't tell you. Willis, Crawford, Ferguson, Collins. CID, Plain Clothes, Traffic, Flying Squad. All of them with bank balances that are way out of their league and all of them connected back to Mac."
Alex: "You can't use this sort of evidence in court."
Gene: This is not netball, Bolly. This is serious! Look at the date the money went in."
Alex: "The week after the Balls Pond Road job. A week after the Heathrow. What about Mac?"
Gene: "He goes slightly in the red every months before his money goes in. Like I said, he's a smart man."
Alex: "And what about…"
Gene: "Chris and Ray?"
Alex: "Yeah. I don't like to think about it."
Gene: "No, they're both skint. Mac hasn't got to them."
Alex: "Well, can't we let them in on it now?"
Gene: "No! Not unless we really need to."
With the now following shot of the listening device, the versions are back in sync.
After Gene's "Bloody hell", Jackie is knocking at the door of Gene's office.
In the UK Version, we see Ray talking to a homeless guy.
Ray: "You confess to stealing the Harrods pickled walnuts in fine-port vinegar and I'll let you have a little nap in the cell. How's about that?"
The homeless guy leans over and wants Ray to come closer.
Then he asks: "Can I spend the night?"
Ray pushes him back in hi chair and says: "Deal."
The door opens and Jackie comes in.
Ray: "Ho-ho! Look who it is! The whale woman returns."
Jackie: "Where is the father of my child?"
Chris: "He's in there with DI Drake, but I wouldn't."
Of course, Jackie does not give the back of a rat. She walks straight up to Gene's office but when she tries to open the door, she can't get in because the door is locked.
Jackie: "Oi! Hunt!"
She then turns around to Chris and asks: "What are they doing in there?"
Chris: "I don't know."
With Jackie's knocking at the door, the versions are back in sync.
After Ray's "Women in the police force. It's just not right.", the scene continues in the UK Version.
Shaz: "You warm those fingers up."
Then Chris, he is trying to help Shaz with the wire - including his hand under her shirt.
Gene: "Oh, dear God. When you're ready…"
With the following shot of Shaz and the other girls, the versions are back in sync.
The break-in takes longer in the UK Version. After Gene yanked the chain, there is an exterior shot of the house in the International Version.
In the UK Version, he kicks the gate open.
Then Gene says: "Right. Four uniform around the back, two of you with me."
They are following the track, then the exterior shot of the house.
After Gene's "Right. Quick word about police brutality. Lots of it.", they storm into the house.
The UK Version also contains a shot of them approaching the house before they enter.