A triumphant return for DCI Gene Hunt, Ashes To Ashes
takes some of the characters from the superb time-shifting police drama Life On Mars
, and moves the action to the early 1980s. So its out with the Cortina, in with the Audi Quattro, and straight down to some terrific television.
Joining DCI Hunt -- again played with terrific force and stature by Philip Glenister -- is Keeley Hawes, as DCI Alex Drake. Like John Simms character in Life On Mars, DCI Drake suddenly finds herself in 1981, with no clear reason why.
This provides the platform for another terrific show, the first series of which is fully present and correct here. Ashes To Ashes is tonally a little different from Life On Mars, but maintains the wonderful attention to period detail (and a healthy 80s soundtrack to match), and the willingness to mix in some fun alongside the serious business of police work.
Ashes To Ashes is some achievement. It grounds out an identify for itself, stepping out of the shadow of Mars. And the rapport between Hawes and Glenister is a real highlight. But theres so much to enjoy here, backed up by the promise of another series in the offing. For now, though, theres plenty to get your teeth into here, thanks to a quality, very British drama thats simply compelling television. --Jon Foster
Swapping the Ford Cortina for an Audi Quattro, DCI Gene Hunt rolls up his sleeves and embraces the Eighties in the sequel to Life On Mars. DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) is back but he's no longer the self-styled 'Sheriff of Manchester'. Flanked by his faithful sidekicks, Ray Carling (Dean Andrews) and Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster), and drawn to the action and intrigue of the London Met, Gene turns his attentions to taking on the 'southern nancy' criminal scum. However, Gene does not expect to be thrown together with sexy, intelligent, DCI Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes). Single mother to daughter Molly, Alex has rapidly risen through the ranks of the Met and skilfully uses psychological profiling to capture suspects. When Alex and her daughter are kidnapped she makes a daring attempt at escape, resulting in a horrific accident. Alex suddenly finds herself in 1981 interacting with familiar characters, not just from her own life-time, but also from the detailed reports logged by none other than Sam Tyler, which Alex has previously spent months pouring over. Alex is ripped from her current world of sexual equality and respect in 2008 and finds herself opposite an arrogant fellow DCI in a Two Tone, New Romantic Eighties London with a soundtrack of Adam Ant, Roxy Music and The Human League ringing in her ears.