Release: Sep 10, 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
- 22 removed scenes
- 4 extended scenes
- 1 extended & removed scene
- Length difference: 414.00 seconds / approx. 6 minutes and 54 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 TV report about Gene and his team is longer in the UK Version.
After the Ray actor got in the Quattro, we see Chris in front of the TV. He mimics Jimmy Savile: "Gently, gently."
Now the Chris actor helping the Ray actor out of the Quattro. Everybody laughs, Ray says: "I don't even wear any jewellery!"
Then the versions are back in sync.
And another scene that is longer in the UK Version.
Alex sits in front of the TV, she watches the report as well. Gil, the victim, says "I was unconscious". Then we hear one of the perps, a woman. She screams "Quick, let's go!". After that, the versions continue differently. The TV now shows the clown.
In the UK Version, we see further footage of Alex in front of the TV resp. of the report. We hear Shaw Taylor, the narrator, from the off: "The robbery took them just 30 seconds to commit. And then they made their getaway, leaving Gil Hollis for dead."
With the clown popping up on the screen, the versions are back in sync.
The program particularly "broadcasted" for Alex is longer in the UK Version.
After the bell, Alex looks to the ceiling while the clown laughs diabolically. Then the versions are back in sync.
Same here. After Alex yelled "Who? Who's gonna die?" at the TV, there is more footage in the UK Version.
We see Gil, the victim, again. He says: "I just wish I could have remembered more, you know, but I do remember those tracksuits."
Then Shaw Taylor, the arrator: "This is a brutal attack and the police need your help to catch this couple before they strike again."
With "… and the police need your help…", the versions are back in sync.
Extended of Alex after the clown laughed diabolically and before she starts hitting the TV.
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.
Alex hears the sound of raindrops and believes there is a leak in the ceiling. This is where the versions are out of sync again.
In the UK Version, we see Alex. A raindrop ends up on her face while Ray says from the off: "Did you see that bloke's gut?"
When Alex whipes away that raindrop, we hear Viv (at first from the off, then on-screen): "I only had an eye on it, mate, but I'm just saying I thought it was all of you."
Ray: "I don’t look like Eddie Yeats, alright?"
Then Alex (afrom the off): "Where is this leak coming from?"
Shaz (also from the off): "Not from the bath. I ain't plumbed it."
Shaz laughs, then she says: "Anyway, I can't see no leak."
After that, the versions are back in sync.
Alex hears things one more time and - what a surprise - the UK Version is longer.
In the International Version, Alex sees the dead bodies of Chris Viv, Shaz and Ray, one after another.
In the UK Version, she sees their bodies as well but after Chris' body, the camera pans to Chris ad Viv at the station. Not until then, she sees the bodies of Viv, Shaz and Ray...
...and when Alex is gone, we have the next missing scene in the International Version.
Gene is addressed by his superior in the hallway.
Vorgesetzter: "Oh, Hunt. Saw your chaps on P-5."
Gene: "Um… it wasn't actually us, sir. It certainly wasn't my idea."
Superior: "It's a splendid notion. Police and public sharing collective responsability. That's… very modern. Awful business. Amazing man. Seperated from his wife and child all these months. Imagine sitting in a bathtub in Carlisle."
Gene: "Mmm, he shames us all, sir."
Superior: "All the TV personalities are showing their support."
Gene: "I think that sort of thing is more inclined to hinder rather than help."
Superior: "Yes, well, I've been askes to pass on a rather large donation from a golfing partner of mine. It's, er… Sid Little. He's a close friend."
Now, Alex shows up.
Superior: "Ah, our very own 'Juliette Bravo'. Or is it Jill Gascoine? 'The Gentle Touch'?
Alex: "Trying, sir. Er… DCI Hunt and I are just off to practise a little psychology on Gil Hollis."
Superior: "Ah, I'm glad to see you're dragging this lummox into the 1980s. I shall look forward to giving Sid some good news. That's, er… Sid Little. He's a close friend."
Then their superior leaves.
Gene (to Alex): "D'you know, I wish you WERE Jill Gascoine."
Alex: "And I wish you were Sid Little."
Alex then leaves and with the following shot, the versions are back in sync.
When Gene and Alex are on the road with Gil, the UK Version is longer.
After Alex told Gil how to breathe, he instantaneously screams "St… Stop! Stop the car!" in the International Version.
In the UK Version, he says (with his eyes closed): "Sun's out. Um, it's a bit… it's a bit overcast. Um… I'm happy. Um… car's handling badly 'cause I've got the bath strapped to the roof rack. Uh…"
Alex: "OK, just relax."
From now on, the versions are back in sync. But the last part of Alex's comment, which is audible during the first removed frames in the UK Version, is audible during the beginning of the shot of screaming Gil. Apparently, this comment was supposed to be in the International Version as well.