Release: Oct 05, 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
- Length difference: 411.48 seconds / approx. 6 minutes and 51 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 versions continue differently after the opening.
The International Version shows Litton at the station.
In the UK Version, the people Gene busted are being taken inside the station. Gene and Alex are on their sixes.
Gene: "Book 'em, Skip."
One of the men in the background says: "This is a joke, you ain't got nothing."
Alex: "This Litton can't be that bad."
Gene: "You serve eight years in the same manor, you know someone. Trust me. Litton's lying little bastard weasel boy."
With the following shot of Litton, the versions are back in sync.
After Ray explained he wants to help Litton to accommodate, the International Version shows Litton and Ray in the kitchen.
The UK Version shows Gene and Alex instead. They are talking about Litton.
Alex: "And I thought you were a throwback. Compared to those two, you are practically homo erectus."
Gene: "Homo what? You're obsessed, woman."
Alex: "They come in here dragging their nuckles along the ground, trying to frame everybody in sight. Do you buy any of these police widows stuff?"
Gene: "No, it stinks like a month-old chinky."
Shaz: "Litton's up to something."
Gene: "Yeah, the question is what. Right. Bolly, Shaz, se what you can dig up on this Frank Hardwick bloke."
Alex: "You're not gonna let Litton frame him, are you?"
Gene: "No, stopping Litton's been one of my vocations in life. Right, we play along, find out what he's really up to."
Chris is just passing by and Gene has an assignment for him as well.
Gene: "Chris, I want you to help Shaz and Bolly."
Chris: "Now? It's just that DCI Keats asked me to percolate out these procedures."
Gene walks up to Chris, grabs the procedures and tosses them on the ground.
Then Gene says: "Percolated. Right. I want the real reason why Litton is after Hardwick, not that bloody fairy tale he's just spun us."
Shaz: "What about Ray?"
Gene: ""Well, he's busy."
Alex: "Look, don't make this easy for Keats, alright? He's not stupid."
Now, Litton's partner, DI Jeff Bevan, comes in. He approaches Gene and provocatively stops right in front of him.
Bevan: "Alright, Gene."
While Bevan keeps walking, Gene and he look at each other.
Alex: "You used to work with him?"
Gene then leaves. Alex and Shaz are still standing there. Alex gives Shaz some files and thanks her. Shaz then leaves as well.
With the following shot in the kitchen, the versions are back in sync.
When Gene has closed his trunk, the International Version continues with Litton, Bevas and Ray.
The UK Version contains a shot of Keats entering the station instead. Chris is crossing his path with a bag full of porn in his hand so Chris tries ti hide the tapes behind his back.
Keats: "Hope those are my new procedures, Chris."
Chris: "Yeah. No, eh… I've just got to do something fort he guv, first. Other guv. DCI Hunt guv."
Always keeping in mind that Keats cannot see the tapes, Chris walks away. The following shot shows Chris leaving the station. He puts the tapes in a bag. Gene is already waiting for him in the Quattro.
Gene: "Come on, Christopher! I asked you to bag up a lot of porn, not watch it!"
Chris: "Litton's not gonna be too happy with you stealing his thunder, guv."
Chris then gets in the car.
Gene: "Look, if Ravi blooder Shankar wants a race…"
Gene starts the Quattro.
Gene: "…we'll give him one."
Gene starts driving and with the following shot, the versions are back in sync.
The scene with Gloria as decoy starts earlier in the UK Version.
Gene and Chris are in the Quattro with Gloria. Then Frank Hardwick shows.
Gene: "Aye-aye, looks like I won the race. Look lively, Gloria. Comedy hero's returning from lunch. Christopher, porno."
Gene hands over the bag with the porn tapes.
Gene: "Right. Go work your magic. Offer him a freebie."
Gloria gets out of the Quattro and with the shot of her on the way to Hardwick, the versions are back in sync.
After Gene's "Now, where were we?", a shot of Ray follows in the International Version.
In the UK Version, we see Alex at her desk. Keats is standing in front of her, looking at one of her books.
Keats: "The pathology of interrogation."
Alex: "I'm just trying to get into Hardwick's head."
Keats then starts reading from the book: "The forensics of a suspect's past is the key to unlocking his crimes."
Alex: "Something like that."
Keats laughs, then he says: "Look, erm… I don't wanna stick my size nines in here, but couldI offer you some advice?"
Alex: "Feel free."
Keats: "If you and Hunt aren't working well together, then nor is Fenchurch East. Now, I've no idea what the problem is, but you and Gene have a partnership, and partners work off trust."
Alex: "What do you mean?"
Keats: "I won't stand by and have him drag this place down. Do you understand?"
Alex nods, Keats leaves. Then another shot of Alex and with the following shot of Ray, the versions are back in sync.
After the shot of Ray, the International Version shows Alex watching Gene kicking Hardwick's butt from the office.
The UK Version shows Alex and Bevan instead. Alex comes through the door and starts talking to him.
Alex: "Inspector Bevan?"
But Bevan is not in the mood to talk to her. While passing by, he says: "Bit busy right now, love."
Alex: "I spoke to Chris."
Bevan stops and turns around.
Alex: "You were all C Devision. Greater Manchester Police, under DCI Hunt."
Bevan: "My, my! Aren't you persistent? Working closely with CID. You knew him, didn't you?"
Bevan: "Where are we going here, DI Drake?"
Alex: "Sam Tyler."
Bevan: "I can't really remember. Sorry. But I'll tell you something. Thing about Gene Hunt is not what he did, it's what he got other people to do."
Alex: And what did he get you to do?"
Bevan laughs, then he leaves. When he is gone, Alex turns around and with the following shot of her, the versions are back in sync.
After Alex's conversation with Gene, Hardwick gets interrogated in the International Version.
The UK Version shows Litton getting a fax. He reads it and says "Bingo.".
With the following shot of Alex, the versions are back in sync.
In the International Version, the scene with Gene breaking Alex's desk drawer is much shorter. As soon as the drawer is open, a shot of Alex follows.
In the UK Version, the scene continues. Gene actually gets the envelope and looks inside. Then he leaves with the envelope.
With the following shot of Alex, the versions are back in sync.
After the shot of Keats, the beginning of the following scene is longer in the UK Version.
Chris and Ray get out of the car. Ray starts walking but Chris has a question first.
Chris: "Sure you up for this?"
Ray: "Course I am. Why wouldn't I be?"
Chris: "Just asking."
Ray: "You watch me back, I'll make sure he's inside."
Now Chris and Shaz who ist just getting out of the car.
Ray: "Then you two'll go to the hospital, alright?"
With the following shot of Ray, the versions are back in sync.
After Gene and his team started running, the International Version continues with a scene at Luigi's.
The UK Version shows the Quattro one more time.
With the shot of Hardwick and Litton, the versions are back in sync.
After Gene's conversation with Alex, the International Version shows "Olivia Newton-Skelton" stepping outside in order to have a smoke.
The UK Version shows Ray and Shaz singing again, then the shot of Chris.
Only the UK Version contains a preview of the next episode between the end credits and the logos. (no screenshots)