It's the biggest day of Alex's life: the day her parents were killed. She believes that if she can prevent this from happening she can leave the prison of 1981 and get back to her daughter ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Gene Hunt
... Alex Drake
... Ray Carling
... Chris Skelton
... Shaz Granger
... Caroline Price
... Evan White
... Lord Scarman
... Arthur Layton
Andrew Clover ... The Clown / Tim Price
... Luigi
Geff Francis ... Viv James
Grace Vance ... Molly Drake
Lucy Cole ... Young Alex
... Tom Robinson


It's the biggest day of Alex's life: the day her parents were killed. She believes that if she can prevent this from happening she can leave the prison of 1981 and get back to her daughter Molly. With Gene waylaid by a station inspection, Alex needs to use every ounce of her strength and energy to stop the elements coming together, throw a cog into the wheel of fate, and finally return home. Written by Ashley Pharaoh

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Plot Keywords:

afterlife | singing in a car | See All (2) »





Release Date:

27 March 2008 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Alex arrests her parents, she says that it is for possession of narcotics. As a police officer Alex should know that cocaine is a stimulant, not a narcotic. See more »


DCI Gene Hunt: Is it just me or are you talking in another dimension?
See more »


Take The Long Way Home
Written by Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson
Performed by Supertramp
See more »

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User Reviews

Season 1: Solid but unremarkable that is very much secondary to Life on Mars
5 May 2008 | by See all my reviews

I enjoyed the first season of Life on Mars but worried whenever it came to the second season because I thought it a mistake. When it was better than the one before I was proved wrong and it was this reason that I carried on with Ashes to Ashes. You see the whole idea of this worried me because it seemed to exist just because Gene Hunt was popular and they wanted to continue the character, even if the character had not suggested being strong enough to actually carry a show. This show is not as spin-off though so much as it is a rerun because essentially the same characters and concept return in a different time period. The character back in time (or not!?) this time is DI Alex Drake, who has been shot in the modern age and found herself back in the early 1980's where she joins DCI Hunt and his team, who have moved to London with his team for more adventure and high profile cases. Totally sure she is trapped in her own mind because she was familiar with the Tyler case, Drake tries to work out what she needs to do to get back to her real life and daughter Molly.

What the first season produces is a solid but unremarkable piece of television that is better if you match the characters' approach of putting Sam Tyler totally out of their minds after the first early stages. This is because by comparison the show is very much secondary to Life on Mars and it was hard to forget this. Focusing on Ashes to Ashes on its own terms it is a bit better but still suffers narratively from the foundation of Life on Mars. You see, Alex knows her situation and it does rather take away from the drama and intrigue that came originally. OK so the clown character provides a creepy air but it does not compare. It doesn't help that I didn't care so much for Alex as I did for Sam; she was too aloof and knowing as a character and it sucked a lot out of her personal thread. Where she is better as a character is working off Hunt, who is very much the driving force of the show even if he has less time on screen (or maybe Drake just make her time fee longer).

In the first few episodes, with these bits not really working what was left was rather overblown and reliant on music and period jokes – even Hunt was rather inflated and silly, driving and speedboat and firing an uzi! As the first half of the season passed though it did get better as the cases were more interesting, the characters less overblown and silly and the "trapped in the past" aspect started to get a bit more interesting. The cast are solid enough in the main. Glenister is good of course and he works well with Hawes, even if the story forces the "sexual attraction" bit too much at times. As with Simm, Hawes is asked to carry a lot while Glenister has fun; unfortunately she is not as up to the task as Simm was and her individual scenes are a mix of good, annoying or bland – which is not great even if the majority fall into the first category. Andrews and Lancaster return with solid performances in side characters while Lombard and others are OK in supporting roles.

So, alongside Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes is undoubtedly secondary but on its own it is a solid enough drama but nothing to write home about. To put it another way, fans of Life on Mars will look down on this to a degree, while those never taken by the idea in the first place will continue to care less. Distracting but not a lot more than that.

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