Ashes to Ashes: Complete BBC Series 1
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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. DVD extras include: Car explosion featurette; Set tour featurette; Life After Mars - behind the scenes of Ashes to Ashes, Audio Commentary on Episodes 1 &2.
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
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The series was packed full of comedy. Ray Carling's undercover mission as a predatory gay or Chris Skelton's mascara-laden turn as a New Romantic clubber to woo Shaz? As for their joint attempts to master the art of covert surveillance - sheer class. Enjoy the fancy dress party that saw Gene as Clint Eastwood, Chris as Superman and Ray portraying a tache-ridden James Bond.
Along with firing up his red Audi Quattro , Gene came out with plenty of his trademark one-liners. Gene Hunt, is a marvellous tv character given a superb performance by Philip Glenister.
Your eyes will be, inevitably, on the gorgeous Alex Drake dressed in the glamourous 80s styles and with a very strong character played brilliantly, effectively replacing Sam Tyler as the cop from the present trapped in the past, trying to get back to her daughter after she was shot and in a coma. Keeley Hawes's performance is superb. Her haunting childhood memories evoked a myriad of reactions and emotions on her face, while her encounters with her mother Caroline - particularly their final farewell - were often moving. This series will leave you laughing, crying and wanting to race on to the next episode, as I did, sometimes watching 3 episodes on the trot until bedtime beckoned! It is that good. Life will never be the same on my TV again. Buy both series of Life On Mars and all 3 of Ashes to Ashes, which are cheaper now than when first released. You will not regret it.
Quite simply the most quirky, fast paced, brilliantly written story, superbly acted and what the TV was invented for!
Paul Davies FRTCA
Well, having seen the very final, superb, episode of Ashes to Ashes (Series 3), I think we all know now.
What we can only now appreciate is the extraordinary vision of the writers of the whole 'Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes' production, and how cleverly the five series (in all) have been planned. Sure, there is the odd plot hole, but we can now see that it's not just Philip Glenister, John Simm and the rest of the fine acting team who carried us along, but the behind the scenes writing team firing up their very own Quattro in words and actions.
We now have the opportunity to purchase the A2A first two series at an incredible price (I assume you've already got Life on Mars), leaving hopefully enough dosh for the grand final series that is the piece of the jigsaw that makes the whole thing make sense.
Oh God, I'm getting pretentious now.
But for all those of us who've been with this from the beginning, it's great to be able to follow the journey once more.
Sam Tyler, Gene Hunt, it's good to meet you again...
The last episode of the third series is a fantastic finale.
Gene Hunt is arguably the best new character to appear on the BBC since the start of the new millenium - brash, funny, larger than life, an unlikely sex-symbol in an era of political correctness gone mad, he bestrides his world like a mouthy Northern Collossus! Phil Glenister grabs the role with both hands and runs with it brilliantly, so much so that you just can't imagine anybody else even coming close....
If you havn't seen it, buy and enjoy, and if you have, just buy and enjoy the genius of the Gene Genie all over again.... Fire up the Quattro!