Release: Sep 09, 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
- 12 removed scenes
- 5 extended scenes
- 1 recut
- Length difference: 266.08 seconds / approx. 4 minutes and 26 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)
After Gene yelled at Chris ("Some people get 'Pick Of The Pops'. Not me, I get 'Pick Of The Twats'. In the car, now! Move!"), the International Version continues with leaving the station.
In the UK Version, the end of the shot of Gene yelling at Chris is longer. Then Alex, she grabs her jacket and leaves with Gene and Ray. Chris follows them but he gets delayed by Shaz. She stops in front of him, they smile at each other, but before they can kiss, Ray comes back and yells "He said now!". Then Chris leaves as well. Now the shot of all of them leaving the station in the UK Version.
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 the store owner, Mr. Chatterjee, who was robbed, is longer in the UK Version.
Alex: "And how much money did they take?"
Chatterjee: "In excess of £ 4,000. Oh, and in case it helps, may I tell you that I personally give a little rip to each note that passes through here."
Alex: "A little rip."
Chatterjee: "Yes, by its metal strip. A little tear. There have been so many forgeries lately."
Chatterjee: "But also, when they're grabbing the money, they take my Krishna, my Krishna statue, which my father gave me and his father gave him and his father gave him."
Gene: "Mr. Chatterjee, they were wearing masks, yeah?"
Chatterjee: "Yes, indeed."
Gene: "So how would you know if one was old and one was young?"
Chatterjee: "How do I know that you're old and he's young? (at the same time, he points at Chris) By the way you move. By the timbre of your voice."
Alex: "You're very perceptive, Mr. Chatterjee."
Chatterjee: "Thank you."
Alex: "And so the one that said 'Give me the money', did he have an accent?"
Chatterjee: "Ah, my ear is not attuned yet but definately not Welsh. Well, all Welsh people sound like they come from Calcutta."
Gene: You got enough for a profile yet?"
Chatterjee: "The young one in the red helmet though, he's American."
Gene: "American. How'd you know he was American?"
Chatterjee: "Well, because my wife, unfortunately, is a fan of 'Hill Street Blues', and as I'm putting the money in their bag, this young one, you know the one who took the Krishna, he keeps asking me am I talking to him, which I most sincerly am not because his tone is not encouraging. But he keeps asking, pointing his gun."
Chris (does his De Niro / Travix Bickle impression from Taxi Driver while pointing his wallet like a gun at Mr. Chatterjee): "You talkin' to me? Are you talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?"
Chatterjee: "It was him?"
Then they leave the store.
The bold-marked dialogs are missing in the International Version.
The conversation in the Quattro continues.
Gene: "Looks as if they're about to stop for a smoke."
Ray: "Oh, good idea."
Chris: "Just what I wanted."
Alex moans and opens the window because she is not keen on inhaling all the smoke.
Ray: "Leave it out."
Chris: "It's cold."
Alex: "Passive smoking kills, alright."
Ray: "Well, we'll jiggle about a little bit, OK? Just wind the window up."
Gene blows out the smoke in Alex's direction. She turns around to Ray and Chris again and with the beginning of the following shot, the versions are back in sync.
The now following scene is also longer in the UK Version. Moreover, the International Version contains alternate footage.
The International Version contains an exterior shot of the Quattro. Of the right front wheel, to be more specific. Gene says: "Chas Cale is something of a legend. With shotguns as his trademark. Hence the Mexican."
The UK Version contains that exterior shot as well but before the dialog starts, the UK Version switches to the interior of the Quattro. Only in the UK Version, Alex also asks "So what exactly do we know about this man?".
The rest of the conversation is the same. Gene also answers "Chas Cale is something of a legend. With shotguns as his trademark. Hence the Mexican." but contrary to the International Version, where Gene makes his first comment ("Chas Cale is something of a legend.") from the off because we see the shot of the right front wheel, we see Gene permanently. The versions are back in sync with Gene's following comment ("With shotguns as his trademark. Hence the Mexican.").
The interrogation of Chas Cale is longer in the UK Version.
Alex enters the interrogation room.
Cale's Wife: "This is ridiculous."
Cale's Wife: "We have told you."
Cale: "Babe, save it. Wait for the solicitor to get here."
Gene: "Said the robber to his moll."
Cale (while his finger at Gene): "I'm losin' it with you."
Gene: "Come on, then, Chasser, lose it with me. Give us your best shot because this time, I'm gonna put you down so fast you'll think you're a bloody horse in 'All Creatures Great And Small'."
Cale's Wife: "Stop this! Stop it! Show 'em your dog tag. Go on, get your wallet out."
Cale: "No. No."
Cale's Wife: "Show them. Look at you!"
Cale's Wife: "Show them before there's no need."
The rest of the interrogation is identical.
The bold-marked dialogs are missing in the International Version.
After Gene pushed Cale's stuff in his direction, the International Version lacks a small scene.
Gene gets up and leaves the room and so does Alex.
After that, the versions are back in sync.
After Gene's fight with Alex, he rushes out. In the UK Version, the scene is not over yet.
When Gene has left, the camera pans to Alex. She leaves the room in the opposite direction, then Chri and Shaz.
Chris: "This restaurant, Chas Cale's place, it was really swanky, beautiful. You know the first thing I thought when I went in there was 'I'd love to take Shazzer somewhere like this'."
Shaz: Oh, that's nice."
Chris: "No, let's do it. Let's go somewhere upmarket, you know. Somewhere special. This Saturday maybe?"
Now, Ray intervenes.
Ray: "What about me and you?"
Chris: "Oh no, I think it's a place for couples, mate."
Ray: "You've become such a poof."
Shaz: "A poof?"
Ray: "Yeah. Only likes girls now."
Shaz: "Well, I'm sure you know how to play with yourself, Ray."
A little pause, then Shaz to Chris: "Though I come to think of it, I might be busy on Saturday. I'm at me mum's, so… Another time. Sorry."
Ray: "Pity you did'’t remember that earlier, isn't it?"
With the noe following shot of Alex, the versions are back in sync.