Release: Sep 30, 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
- 10 removed scenes
- 2 extended scenes
- Length difference: 390.32 seconds / approx. 6 minutes and 31 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)
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 puts her name tag back on the desk.
In the International Version, Alex and Gene are watching the video with the abducted girl now.
In the UK Version, Alex is in the kitchen. The radio is on and she makes some tea.
All of a sudden, she hears something on the radio: "Molly… eight years ago… So time passed. Molly still hadn't heard from her mum…"
A shot of Shaz on her way to the kitchen follows. She stops at the door and hears Alex speak.
Alex: "I… I am alright. I'll be back, I just need to finish something here first and so that's why I can't leave. Tell Molly that I'm still gonna find a way home to her."
Dann unterbricht Shaz: "Who you talking to, ma'am?"
Alex laughs, then she says: "Whoever might be listening, Shaz."
Shaz: "What was it like? Being unconscious all that time?"
Alex: "It looked like home. But it wasn't. It didn't feel at all real."
Shaz: "This does though, doesn't it? I mean, you're awake now."
Alex: "Yeah… It's the strangest thing. Because now I'm not awake and it does feel real."
Shaz: "Oh, well… halfway-there."
Alex (to the stepmom of the abducted girl): "Excuse me?"
Shaz: "That's Marjorie, the kidnapped girl's stepmum."
Alex (to the woman): "Marjorie…"
Marjorie: "Will there be more questions? I can't breath in here."
Alex: "Is there anything I can do?"
Then David Blonde, the girl's father, shows up: "Marjorie?"
Alex: "She just needs a moment. (to Marjorie) I think maybe you should get that bruise looked up."
David: "Yeah, she got that trying to fight them off when they took Dotty."
Marjorie: "I should have fought harder."
Then Gene and Alex watching the video of the abducted girl.
After the conversation wit Jim Keats, the International Version continues at the station.
The UK Version shows Alex writing something down at her apartment.
Alex: "Dead copper on the news… Dead copper in front of me… Why?"
All of a sudden, there is static on TV. Alex gets up and goes to the TV.
Alex: "Is there anybody there? You know it's weird. I can see why Sam wanted… why he needed to come back here. There's something about this world, about my place in it, that's important."
Alex then sees a young cop with half of his face blown off on TV.
Alex: "Who are you? What do you want? Do you want my help? Is that it? I can't help you. I… I can't even help myself. Can you tell me what… what any of it means?"
Then the regular TV program.
TV Presenter: "I must confess to being an Audio Quattro fan when the car first came out in 1980. I was tremendously impressed by ist blood and thunder performance, by the way it puts ist considerable power down on the road and perhaps most of all by the way it catapulted out of corners."
During that report, Alex makes some notes. Then the report again: "Now this is another Audi Quattro."
Now the already mentioned scene at the station.
After the conversation with Marjorie, the preparations for the ransom payment start earlier in the UK Version.
Ray (on the radio): "MB units are in position with uniforms set up on the far side of the stadium, guv. All set and ready to go on your word, over."
Gene (on the radio): "Alright, Chris. Sit tight and don't pick your nose. Make your move as soon as Blonde has left the house, over."
Now, David Blonde leaves his house. Chris gets out and approaches Marjorie.
Marjorie: "He's gone to get the ransom money, we haven't got long."
Chris: "Let's get inside, Marjorie. I'm going to attach a microphone to your… brasserie. Might be best if you do it."
Marjorie grabs the mic and goes inside. Chris follows her.
Then the versions are back in sync.
After watching the latest video of Dotty, the beginning of the conversation with the parents resp. with the dad and stepmom (David & Marjorie) is longer in the UK Version.
Chris: "They put a telly in front of her. That was nice."
Marjorie: "She doesn't look hungry. Looks like they're feeding her well."
Gene: "They've been watching you, David."
David: "Yeah, well, they can watch me as I leave the station and I have nothing more to do with you."
With Gene's apology for the botched ransom payment, the versions are back in sync.
Another missing scene in the International Version.
The material the kidnappers wrapped the doll in after the failed ransom payment is lying in front of Alex. The door opens.
Shaz: "Ma’am. This fella's fixing the central heat on the second floor."
Alex: "Thank’s Shaz."
Shaz shuts the door.
Alex (to the guy): "It's OK, you’re not in any trouble. I'd just like to know what this is."
Then the versions are back in sync.