Release: Sep 24, 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: 515.84 seconds / approx. 8 minutes and 36 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.
The scene at the ME is longer in the UK Version. After showing them the wounds, Alex and Gene bend over. Only in the UK Version, Ray nods.
Then he says: "Satanists."
Ray: "Yeah, they do that all the time. Marking people and stuff. It's like that film we saw. What's it called? 'Vault of Evil' or something."
Chris: "No, that was vampires, not satanists."
Ray: "Same thing, really."
Gene: "Does anybody have an oppinion doesn't emanate from the works of Vincent Price?"
With the following shot of Ray and Chris, the versions are back in sync.
The neighborhood watch meeting is longer in the UK Version. After Gene's "Well, you see, the thing… Eh?", the scene actually continues.
Alex: "Uh, could you just give us a second? We'll just… Thanks. (to Gene) We can't tell him now. Look at him. He's trying to do something good for the community."
Gene: "You're not seriously suggesting that we give a pep talk to the senile squad? You are, aren't you?"
Alex: "Well, you know, it's amazing how much this place has changed. It's nice to give them a bit of hope."
Stanley Mitchell: "I've got Garibaldis."
Gene: "Ruddy hell."
With the shot of the table with food and cups on it, the versions are back in sync.
After talking to Stanley Mitchell, the father of the deceased, the International Version continues with Chris and Ray in front of the wife's front door.
The UK Version also shows them getting out of the car.
Chris: "Bloody hell. It's pretty swanky, innit?"
Ray: "You got your eye on something like this, have you?"
Chris: "Why would I be doing that?"
Ray: "Come on. You get married, you can't be living in a pokey little flat. And sooner rather than later, she'll be all…"
Ray whistles and makes a gesture implaying Shaz will have a bun in the oven soon.
Ray: "Up the duff."
Chris: "Oh, we haven't talked about having kids yet."
Ray: "Oh, biological clock, mate. Once that goes off, it's worse than Hiroshima."
Chris: "How would you know? You've never had a proper girlfriend."
Ray: "I've had plenty. I'm just not dumb enough to get stuck with one. I'm like Liberace."
Chris: "A poofter?
Ray: "No, no. The other one. What's his name? Valentino. That's it. I'm like Valentino."
With the shot of the door being opened, the versions are back in sync.
After Chris' "We showed her the body.", Alex goes into Gene's office in the International Version. The wife of the deceased is already in it.
In the UK Version, Ray and Chris explain themselves why they had shown her her body's husband in the first place.
Ray: "Yeah, I mean she wouldn't believe us. We had to do something."
Gene: "Well, it needed a positive ID anyway. I take it you got one."
Alex: "Oh, very classy. God only knows what sot of trauma you two have put that poor woman through."
Ray: "She kept saying we were wrong."
Alex then enters Gene's office in the UK Version as well.
And the next cut. In the International Version, Alex goes into Gene's office and says "I'm so sorry.". Then a small reaction shot of the wife, followed by a shot of Alex answering the phone.
In the UK Version, the scene continues. Alex is talking to Donna, the wife of the deceased, in the kitchen.
Alex: "Donna, you might not believe me now, but sometimes it's almost better to know one way or another when someone's missing."
Donna: "I just… I didn't expect this."
Alex: "No. No, you always want to hold on to a bit of hope, don't you?"
Donna nods: "Yeah. Yeah."
Alex: "Did your husband mention any problems he was having with Trevor Riley at all?"
Donna: "No, that's not possible. Riley wouldn't do this. He wouldn't."
Alex: "It's a line of investigation that we have to follow. Did he mention anything? Anything you think might help us?"
Donna: "No. No, there's… there's nothing. I can't believe this is happening."
Shaz comes in.
Shaz: "Sorry, ma'am. It's just there's a call. They say it's quite urgent."
Alex: "Alright. Thanks, Shaz. (to Donna) Do you mind if I?"
Donna: "No, it's fine."
Alex goes to the phone and she has picked it up, the versions are back in sync.