Release: Sep 16, 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
- 20 removed scenes
- 3 extended scenes
- Length difference: 502.36 seconds / approx. 8 minutes and 22 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)
When Alex has left the station, se hears the sound of a chopper. Even though she looks up in both the International and the UK Version, the latter contains additional footage.
The chase is longer in the UK Version resp. there is an additional shot of the car they are chasing.
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 Ray showed his badge, Doctor Battleford comes running in the International Version.
He yells: "No one touch him. No one move him. Let me see."
The UK Version shows Gene and Alex first.
Alex: "I'm 90% certain that he was on something."
Gene: "Only 90%? How frightfully modest. Well, camp looks cheery this morning. Is there a musical called 'Paint Your Wagon Shot-Coloured'?"
Now, the Doc comes running in the UK Version as well.
After Ray made it clear to the Gypsies that they had to leave, the scene goes on in the UK Version.
Chris: "Well, something to see, but you can't bloody see it. Back. Back?"
Alex (to Doctor Battleford): "Hey, these people trust you?"
Alex: Good. "Well, then so do I. Can you ask them to step away, please?"
Battleford: "Terry, please just try to keep people away. Can somebody get a sheet to cover him up?"
The Gypsies then leave. Shots of Alex and an elderly woman follow and with the shot of Alex at the station, the versions are back in sync.
First Mackintosh's speech, then a shot of Gene. In the International Version, Mac leaves immediately afterwards.
In the UK Version, wee see Alex first.
Gene (from the off): "Any ID on the Princess?"
Chris: "We haven't made any checks, guv. We didn't think it was a priority."
Gene: "Everything is a priority all of the time. We do know how to be thorough when the mood takes us, sir."
Mac now leaves in the UK Version as well.
The conversation with Mac in Gene's office is longer in the UK Version.
After Alex's "I realise it's a coup sir, but it's still a hot potato", the UK Version contains the following dialog:
Alex: "I appreciate this sort oft hing happens. I mean, Wicklow could have crushed anyway, he was so out of it. I'm not laying blame."
Gene: "Oh, you're laying the blame the same way that a two-bit hooker lays stcokbrokers."
Mac: "Alright, Gene. I know where you coming from, Inspector."
With Mac's "I know where you coming from, Inspector…", the versions are back in sync.
After Gene's "A quick reminder, Drakey. I'm one of the good guys and you are on my side", his conversation with Alex continues in the UK Version.
Alex: "This will never be my side."
Gene: "What, you're saying you're not a good cop?"
Alex: "I'm saying I know where I belong."
With Gene's next comment ("As for Kevin Hales, drop it like it was hot shit."), the versions are back in sync.
And the next cut in the International Version right after Gene's conversation with Alex.
We see Gene standing at the window, smoking, watching Mac talking to the press.
Mac: "This operation has been conducted over a period of months, utilising the resources of three devisions. But thanks to the diligence of DCI Hunt and his team, not to mention some frankly heroic driving today, not only has the chief architect of the car ring been put out of action, but DI Hunt himself prevented the man from running over a child."
Gene has heard enough and leaves. With the following TV report, the versions are back in sync.
After Gene's comment about the liaison officer ("He got kicked out for pissing in the basin and getting one of the sniffer dogs pregnant"), the scene is not over in the UK Version.
Alex: "Shaz, I'm promoting you to liaison officer."
Alex (to Gene): Why don't you let me handle this?"
Gene: "You in a field with a bunch of gyppos on your own? Don't be rediculous. They'll tie you up as a sex slave and make a rabbit trap out of your knickers."
Alex: "You don't have to come."
Gene: "Don't trust me?"
After short eye contact, Gene leaves and Alex watches him do so. With the following scene at the Gypsy camp, the versions are back in sync.
The scene at the Gypsy camp is longer as well.
Gene and Alex have just arrived at the Gypsy camp. The UK Version contains several intercuts while Gene and Alex are setting food on "Gypsy soil". All in all, the scene is slightly longer in the UK Version.
Gene then says: "Right. We want the body of Jed Wicklow. You're interfering with a police investigation and that is a criminal offence."
Einer der Campbewohner antwortet: "Some people think us being born is a criminal offence, copper."
Gene: "Oh, please. Gimme a break. Tell you what, you want some respect, why don't you try something totally radical like getting a job and paying your taxes?"
Doctor Battleford leaves one of the trailors.
Gene: "Oi, Doctor. What the hell's going on? You're responsable for that body."
The bold-marked dialogs are missing in the International Version.