Release: Sep 25, 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
- 23 removed scenes
- Length difference: 485.76 seconds / approx. 8 minutes and 6 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 conversation with Summers is longer in the UK Version.
Summers: "Well, you haven't done a good job of it so far."
Now the part exclusively in the UK Version.
Summers shows the he shot his younger self with to Alex and says: "See?"
Then he laughs and says: "I'm one step ahead of you, Alex, all the time. See, I understand you. Why you makes these tapes. The private agonies of someone who's trying to figure out the meaning of life. Or death."
Alex: "I am going home."
Summers: "Do really want to go home that badly? I'm in the next room to you. We share nurses. I hear them talking. You've only said one word since you came to the hospital. Just the one. 'Gene'."
Alex: "No great surprise, is it? I mean… This world is… It's a maze. He's the one constant."
Summers laughs again, then he says: "But you lie to him, too. I mean… What if you told him the truth? What you've done, how you burried that body. Eh? Would he be a constant then?"
Now Summers yells: "Alex!"
With the shot of Alex (please see the following comment) and Summers' "I am in control.", the versions are back in sync.
Please note: Summers' last comment ("You haven't done a good of it so far.") ends during a comment of Alex in the International Version because he bends over to get the weapong during. That way, it has been avoided that the cut looks abvious. The very same shot of Alex is in the UK Version, except there is no audible dialog.
The scene with Alex on her way to the station starts earlier in the UK Version. In the International Version, she already in the parking lot while the UK Version contains a few shots of her walking to the station.
The UK Version contains more footage of the team entering the Fish Bar.
In the International Version, they open the door. Then a shot of them talking to Carley.
The UK Version contain the mentioned exterior shot of them opening the door as well, followed by a shot of them entering the bar. They take a look around.
Alex: "Chip oil. A vat must've spilled."
Ray sights, then he says: "Missey my brekky. I'm starved."
Alex: "Oh, yeah, you look like you’re wasting away."
All of a sudden, Carley comes running out of the back and attacks Gene.
She screams: "You stinking bastard pig filth! You killed him!"
Gene: "You calm down. Don't you read the news? We only kill people in custody."
Carley: "You lousy rotten bastard scum!"
Alex intervenes: "That's enough, now. That's enough."
Alex then grabs Carley and takes her in the back. Gene follows.
Gene (to Ray): "You, keep an eye out here."
With Alex's "Carley, whatever you tell us, it won't implicate you.", the versions are back in sync.
After DCI Carnegie's "You alright? You look sick.", Alex responds with "Yeah, I'm fine.". Now, the versions continue differently.
Gene: "Well, she's just seen a man's tackle turned into a fish supper.
Alex: "It's an infection."
Gene: "Small dose of the clap or the full round of applause?"
Alex: "Yeah, it's third stage VD, guv. I'm an aggressively promiscuous nymphomaniac. You know that."
DCI Carnegie: "Good for you."
Then versions then are back in sync.
Gene's conversation with Alex is longer in the UK Version.
After Gene's "I want the bastards who are planning this.", the International Version lacks one of Gene's lines before Alex leaves his office.
Gene: "You got the DTs? Yeah, well, poor yourself a large Scotch. That should sort you out."
And while she is leaving his office, he comes up with another one in the UK Version.
Gene: "You could do with something stiff inside you."
Alex then turns around one more time before leaving.
After Ray's conversation with Alex, the International Version goes on with Ray who has had it with the jokes. As a result, he starts yelling.
In the UK Version, Gene comes in. Jenette is already waiting for him of which Viv also informs him.
Viv: "Ah, guv. This woman wants you."
Gene (to Jenette): "Can I help you, love?"
Jenette: "Eh… I don't know."
Gene: "Well, don't be put off by my aftershave. Underneath, I'm a very nice man."
Jenette: "No, I'll leave it."
Subsequently, Jenette leaves the station.
Nun fragt Viv: "What was that all about?"
With Ray getting really PO'd about all the jokes, the versions are back in sync.
After Alex's "I told you it's on our shoes.", Alex and Gene look at each other. Then the first shot at the warehouse in the International Version.
In the UK Version, the conversation is longer.
Alex: "Guv, I've got an idea and if it pays off, I get to go after Summers' killer. Yeah?"
In the following scene, Gene, Alex and Ray are in front of the warehouse. They get out of the Quattro and when they are entering the warehouse, the versions are back in sync.
When Alex has left, the International Version lacks Gene's comment.
Gene: "That's why you came to see me."
Please note: Jenette's answer is also in the International Version which makes that cut pretty pointless because her response "I don't know…." implies that Gene has to have asked her something.
After Gene's "He is pulling a job.", the International Version lacks some more footage.
Jenette: "You don't remember me, do you?"
Gene: "Well, I meet a lot of gangsters' families, sweetheart."
Then the versions are back in sync.
And another missing scene in the International Version.
Gene puts the mugshots on his table, Jenette is looking around his office.
Then she asks: "You basically live here, don't you? Shaver in your office."
Gene: "These men. Seen 'em with your brother recently?"
Gene: "Well, take a good look."
Jenette: "You know, we met about a year ago. Gatepost pub. My cousin's birthday party. You turned up to arrest him."
Gene: "No recollection. Photos."
Jenette: "You were about eight times over the limit. You kissed me. Said it was the only way to shut me up."
Gene: "Did it work?"
Jenette: "No. Maybe you didn't kiss me for long enough."
She then comes closer and takes a look at the mugshots. With the following sht of Shaz, the versions are back in sync.
Jenette keeps sleazing up to Gene. She compliments his eyes and after saying "Well, I noticed them.", there is another small cut in the International Version.
Jenette: "Moment I saw you at the Gatepost."
Then the versions are back in sync.
When Jenette is leaving Gene's office, he opens the door for her and watches her leave. Then Alex with Tiny Tim in the interrogation room.
Only the UK Version shows Gene closing the door to his office and turning around. Furthermore, the beginning of the Tiny Tim interrogation is longer. Alex draws something on a piece of paper. Then she says "Right." and holds it up.
Alex asks: "Which side looks empty and which side looks full?"
Tiny Tim: "What?"
Alex: "What, are you scared of tests? There’s no wrong answer, don't be afraid. Which side hast he void?"
Tiny Tim: "That one, empty."
With Alex's "First thing that comes into your head.", the versions are back in sync.
After Tiny Tim's "Piss off!", Alex enters the office in the International Version.
In the UK Version, the interrogation is longer.
Alex: "Why kill a grass so close to an armed robbery? Why bring that much heat on yourself? Because you were ordered to by some very serious people, that's why."
Then Alex leaves the interrogatio room and with the following shot of her entering the office, the versions are back in sync.
Gene finds a tape on his desk. In the International Version, the shot of Alex and Tiny Tim in the interrogation room follows.
In the UK Version, Gene puts the tape in the player and starts listening to it.
Alex (on the tape): "My name's Alex Drake. November 10th. Gene Hunt. Always that man. What is he? Ally or enemy?"
Gene stops the tape. The now following interrogation of Tiny Tim begins insignificantly earlier in the UK Version.
Alex: "King Dong."
With the shot of Tiny Tim, the versions are back in sync.
The briefing at the station starts earlier in the UK Version.
Chris gets up.
Alex: "DC Skelton has made a very important discovery."
Gene: "Don't tell me. Turns out we're not descended from monkeys after all, except for him."
The others laughs.
With Chris' "Tommorrow's blag, it's a bullion job.", the versions are back in sync.
When Gene has slammed the door to his office, he is walking up and down at the station in the International Version.
The UK Version shows Alex instead. She is sleeping in her bed. All of a sudden, Summers approaches her and sits down next to her.
Summers: "The fever's bad, Alex. Very bad. I've heard them talking. No improvement, eh? Look at us, a coupe of desperate cases. Now you've lost your lifeline…"
Alex (in her sleep): "No."
Summers: "…your constant, your Gene Hunt."
Alex (still in her sleep): "No. No, he'll come around. He knows he can trust me. He cares about me."
Summers laughs, then he asks: "You sure? You're alone, Alex. It's over."
Alex (still in her sleep): "No."
Then Summers gets up and leaves.
Now the already mentioned scene with Gene.
After Alex stepped on the empty bag of chips the shows "44 ml", the UK Version contains more footage.
We see Ray in his car. He He is driving pretty fast. At some point, another car shows up in front of him. Compared to Ray, that car is driving rather slow. When Ray passes, the driver of the other car yells "Bastard!" in his direction.
With the shot of Alex, who hears Viv talkig about a possible fire on the radio, the versions are back in sync.
After Chris got out of his car, the International Version shows Alex.
The UK Version on the other hand shows Ray being stopped by a cop in uniform.
Cop: "Diversion. You'll have to back up."
Ray: "You are joking, aren't you?"
Ray backs off and with the next shot of Alex, the versions are back in sync.
After Summers shot someone, the International Version continues with Chris.
In the UK Version, we see Gene speeding around a corner. He almost hits another car and yells "Bastard!".
With the shot of Chris leaving his post, the versions are back in sync.
After Gene knocked DCI Carnegie down with the Quattro and commented it with "Carnegie, you've just been Quattro'd.", Gene gets out of the Quattro and approaches Carnegie.
The International Version then shows Ray.
In the UK Version, Gene keeps approaching Carnegie and steps on his hand he was holding his gun with.
Gene then grabs Carnegie and says: "This doesn't bode well for future career prospects with the Met, eh, Chief Inspector?"
The the following shot of Ray, the versions are back in sync.
After Gene gave one of the corrupt cops a little beat down, only the UK Version shows Chris again. He is chasing another crooked cop. Then Ray who is still fighting several cops.
With the now following shot of several cops in uniform dragging someone away, the versions are back in sync.