Ashes To Ashes

9.00pm Friday 21 May on BBC ONE

DI Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) and the team finally find out the truth about DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) and whether he murdered Sam Tyler, in the final episode of the time-slip police drama

It’s time to get your shoulder pads out of storage, start crimping your hair and get into the Eighites mood for the very last time…

The award-winning BBC One drama, Ashes To Ashes, is back as filming begins on the eagerly-awaited final series.

The highly-anticipated finale sees Philip Glenister and Keeley Hawes reprise their roles as that most un-PC of policeman, DCI Gene Hunt, and his sassy partner DI Alex Drake, along with Dean Andrews as DI Ray Carling, Marshall Lancaster as DC Chris Skelton and Montserrat Lombard as WPC Sharon ‘Shaz’ Granger.

As well as the much-loved regular faces, Daniel Mays (The Street, Plus One) will also appear in the series as Discipline and Complaints Officer, Jim Keats, adding an exciting twist to the team dynamic.

With the last series’ cliff-hanger leaving audiences with the frightening image of Alex lying shot on a hospital gurney, the questions on everyone’s lips are “will Alex survive?” and “how will her colleague and accidental assassin Gene Hunt dig himself out of that hole?”

The smash hit drama, made by Kudos Film and Television in association with Monastic Productions, finally unravels many of the mysteries from the previous two series of Ashes To Ashes, as well as those first experienced by the initial time-travelling copper, Sam Tyler, in the groundbreaking BBC One series Life On Mars some four years ago.

Will Alex finally discover why she’s been sent back to the Eighties? Does anything tie Alex and Sam Tyler together? And who exactly is Gene Hunt…?

Jane Featherstone, Executive Producer, Kudos Film and Television, says: “Everyone has their own theory about who Gene Hunt is, and why Alex Drake and Sam Tyler ended up in his world.

“Alex’s journey is nearing its end and Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah have planned a fabulous finale.

“We’re now at the point where we can finally reveal some of the answers and we can’t wait to hear what the fans think about it all.”

Ashley Pharoah, co-creator, writer and executive producer for Monastic Productions, adds: “Gene Hunt has delighted fans for almost five years.

“Matthew and I have loved writing the adventures of Gene, Alex and the rest of the team and will be really sad to finally have to say goodbye to characters that have become a great part of our lives.”

Piers Wenger, Head of Drama, BBC Wales, says: “Series three of Ashes To Ashes will have the same combination of thrilling crime drama, outrageous Eighties outfits and cutting one-liners.

“We’ll be sad to see Gene and the gang go but the journey that will take us to that finale will be one of the most exciting, compelling and edge-of-your seat rides on TV!”

Ashes To Ashes is written and created by Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah, two creators of the award-winning Life On Mars.

It is produced by Kudos Film and Television, in association with Monastic Productions and was commissioned by Jay Hunt, Controller, BBC One, and Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning.

Executive producer duties will be split between Jane Featherstone, Simon Crawford Collins and Alison Jackson for Kudos Film and Television, Ashley Pharoah for Monastic Productions and Piers Wenger for the BBC. The producer is Howard Burch.

Ashes To Ashes, 8 x 60-minute series for transmission on BBC One in 2010.

The fab British TV series is out on DVD July 13th, 2009

When the second series of Life on Mars spin-off Ashes to Ashes returned in April, few could have predicted how vital viewing the series would be.

Ashes to Ashes series 2 finale

With Philip Glenister returning as the legend that is DCI Gene Hunt and the gorgeous Keeley Hawes as DI Alex Drake, many expected the series to follow Alex piecing together exactly what she had to do to return to 2008.

Instead with little initial regard for Alex’s predicament, Ashes to Ashes sailed into the world of police corruption which gathered pace as the series progressed and still hung around in the background after the suicide of bent Superintendent Macintosh.

With the recent revelation that it was not Masonic member DS Ray Carling but his colleague Chris Skelton that was the mole or bad egg among Hunt’s CID team, events looked to be taking a turn for the worse as Alex tried to stop the plans of the threatening and evidently corrupt Martin Summers, a fellow refugee from the future.

Which built everything up for a gripping finale which saw Hunt dismayed by Drake’s revelation that she was from the future, just like Sam Tyler (and naturally not believing a word of it) and Drake desperate to stop Summers from masterminding a “blag on a blag” – dodgy coppers robbing armed robbers after successfully pulling a gold bullion robbery.

This was Operation: Rose – a covered-up instance of terrible police corruption that was Martin Summers’ reason for going to 1982 in order to redeem himself.

All season he had pulled strings, even killing his younger self at one point to prove to Alex that the world they inhabit has no rules. Those strings were not to tie up Drake or cause her to fail to get home – they were to put her in a position to stop Operation: Rose so that the bitter older Summers whose life had been eaten away by the constant corruption could die without remorse, knowing that he had been redeemed.

It wasn’t soon either that Alex Drake herself was returned from her coma – but to where, exactly?

And why is Gene Hunt on all of the hospital monitors?

Ashes to Ashes returns in 2010 for its final series.

Ashes to Ashes Series 2 Finale

Ashes to Ashes Series 2 reaches its thrilling conclusion on Monday evening – and with rumours that there will be no series 3, it could be the end of everything in the world of Gene Hunt, Ray Carling and Chris Skelton.

Will we learn the truth? Will it finally be revealed just where Alex Drake – and possibly Sam Tyler before her – found themselves after their accidents?

In the meantime, there’s a heist on the go in the season finale, with some corrupt cops planning to jump in and hijack the Gold Bullion for themselves.

Seeing this as his chance to cut the throat of the corruption that is sucking the life out of the Metropolitan Police, DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) identifies this as the moment to strike and make a difference.

Interestingly just as it looks as though CID have got their chance, Hunt finds his head turned by the attractive Jenette, who is surely involved in one of the bullion plots.

It’s Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) who is likely to be more in danger however. Following the matter-of-fact comings and goings of the older Martin Summers and his apparently insane and illogical act last week, Alex is desperate to return home. She’s hearing more and more from 2008 and truly believes her time in the 1980s is up.

Which expressed as odd behaviour leaves DCI Gene Hunt in a difficult position – can he trust DI Alex Drake?

Ashes to Ashes Series 2 Episode 8 is the conclusion to the 2009 series of the Life on Mars spinoff. and potentially the end of the show and Gene Hunt.

Don’t miss it!

Keeley Hawes and Philip Glenister as DI Alex Drake and DCI Gene Hunt

The body of a Polish worker buried in concrete at a Docklands development, a resistant site owner and the realisation that one of his own team could be involved in the corruption that has overshadowed the series so far threaten to derail DCI Gene Hunt’s team in the penultimate episode of Ashes to Ashes series 2.

With crucial evidence missing, Hunt (Philip Glenister) doesn’t know who to trust – not DI Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes), DS Ray Carling (Dean Andrews) nor DS Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster).

Regular viewers meanwhile will know where to look – the 1980s version of the sinister Martin Summers, apparently another time traveller from the future who has a younger counterpart wandering around the Metropolitan Police.

What all of this means for Alex and her chances of escaping from the bullet-induced coma however isn’t clear.

After apparently having the bullet removed from her brain last time, this week Alex is convinced she’s safely in hospital recovering, with an end to the madness of her trip to the 1980s in sight. Even not making it back in the previous episode hasn’t dissuaded her – yet she respects her colleagues enough to write them letters to be opened if she suddenly leaves.

The twists and turns of the case this week however leave Alex feeling even more alone than before – and that could be just the sign of weakness that the older Summers needs to get Drake on his side…

Whatever is really going on in Ashes to Ashes – from the coma to the corruption and “Operation: Rose” – expect this episode to set things up for the season finale…

Gene Hunt - Wants the Met back on track

The fallout from the suicide of Superintendent Supermac  has hit the Metropolitan Police hard, and DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) is determined to show the public the force is doing its job.

Investigating the occurrence of a violent burglary gives Gene and his team the impetus they need to show the public what the police are really for – but it all goes crazy for DI Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) when it transpires the robbery took place at the family home of her future husband and father of Alex’s daughter Molly, Peter Drake (Perry Millward) who at this point in the 1980s is just a 14 year old boy.

Having abandoned Alex and Molly in the future, the young Peter Drake is subjected to an astonishing barrage of anger from his future wife Alex Drake, no doubt setting the scene for a rocky relationship at some point in the late 1990s.

With the dabs of supposedly dead gangster George Staines found at the scene, the case takes an unexpected  twist as the team follow the neighbour of the missing gangster’s mother’s in the hope that she will lead them to Staines.

Be under no illusions however: the terrible undercurrent of corruption will be continuing throughout Ashes to Ashes.  As he died in Gene Hunts arms, Supermac revealed last week that “Operation Rose is coming”, an interesting reference to a motif that we’ve seen throughout series 2 of Ashes to Ashes, not least in the gifts that have been left for Alex by the mysterious man that kidnapped her in Episode 1 and may or may not also be from the future.

Whoever he is, he knows what is going on.

Ashes to Ashes cast photo, Dean Andrews, Keeley Hawes, Philip Glenister, Monserrat Lombard, Marshall Lancaster

Supermac (Roger Allam) makes his presence felt once again in the next episode of Ashes to Ashes, setting in motion a series of events that will cast a shadow over the remaining episodes of this superb series.

Gene Hunt is shocked to find Manchester journalist Jackie Queen (Ruth Millar, seen in Life on Mars Series 1 Episode 6) marching into CID in his old coat with a baby bump, claiming that Hunt (Philip Glenister) is the father. Queen is there for another reason however – her 16 year old niece Rachel (Kirsty-Leigh Porter) has run away from home, travelling down to London from Manchester and Jackie wants to find her, fearing that she could be drawn into prostitution, or become a statistic in a list of dead or missing girls.

With WPC Shaz Granger (Monserrat Lombard) going undercover, it seems that local businessman Ralph Jarvis (John Bowe) is responsible for some of the missing girls – but as the team close in it becomes clear that he has powerful friends, one of whom has already signed papers moving Hunt to Plymouth.

For such a living legend in the Metropolitan Police force, Supermac seems barely concerned with the law of the land and more servicing friends and more than likely lining his own pockets. Although Hunt and DI Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) – and to a lesser extent DS Ray Carling (Dean Andrews) – know the truth about their Superintendent, Gene Hunts teams loyalty is about to be put to the test as they come to terms with the actions of their supposedly heroic super.

How will the team deal with the corruption that is all around them? How will Alex cope with the possibility that Hunt has a new responsibility back in Manchester?

Ashes to Ashes Series 2 Episode 4 airs Monday May 11th at 9pm on BBC One.

Alex Drake and Gene Hunt

Alex Drake and Gene Hunt tackle animal rights extremists in the third installment of Ashes to Ashes Series 2, with a petrol bomb attack leaving a young girl in a critical condition in hospital and more clues from the future for Alex…

With DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) and DI Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) taking advantage of an early lead and visiting imprisoned animal rights campaigner Robin Elliot in prison, it seems that in his hunger strike induced delirium he seems to know something about Alex and her predicament.

Of course in the background, something murky is taking place. Despite Hunt’s outrage over the injury of an innocent child and his recent apparent conversion to the corrupt regime of Superintendent “Supermac” Macintosh, he is still threatened with a transfer to Plymouth – even to the shock of fellow corrupt officer DS Ray Carling.

With the events of the preceding weeks looking set to provide a major element of reality to the series, not to mention providing a major test to the character of Gene Hunt, how will Alex cope with the idea that the imprisoned Robin Elliot could hold the key to her getting home to 2008?

Also starring Dean Andrews as DS Ray Carling, Marshall Lancaster as DS Chris Skelton and Roger Allam as Superintendent “Supermac” Macintosh, Ashes to Ashes S2 E3 airs 9pm-10pm Monday 4th May – and as with earlier editions this series is accompanied on digital TVs via the red button by clips from 1980s Top of the Pops featuring songs from the episodes soundtrack and hosted by actor Philip Glenister in Gene Hunt guise.

The death of a gypsy in a police car chase brings some truly ugly scenes to Ashes to Ashes as a portrayal of local and international prejudice is played out against the backdrop of the Falklands War in this latest instalment of the BBC’s superb cop-show-with-time-travel.

It transpires that the dead man, Jed Bicklow, has been drugged by the unscrupulous Dr Battleford (The Sarah Jane Adventures’ Joseph Millson) who has taken pity on the travellers and provided them with medical care… and a bit more than that for Bicklow’s very young wife.

Typically Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) doesn’t take long to uncover that the doctor is hiding more than an interest in extramarital activity – yet when she attempts to charge him who should come to his rescue but Superintendent Macintosh?

Once again, the stench of police corruption rears its head in a series-long subplot that isn’t going to go away – and Ashes to Ashes feels all the more fresher for it, interweaving Alex’s hallucinations and recollections (or lack of them…), messages from the future and a second encounter with her fellow time traveller with some fascinating television that isn’t afraid to tackle the subject of a rotten police force in a way that hasn’t been attempted for years.

Within minutes of the episode opening, we learn that the corrupt cop from the previous week’s episode has gone missing, for instance, and with Gene Hunt’s (Philip Glenister) encounter in the interview room with an older gypsy woman with “the sight” we get a very cryptic hint at how deep the corruption in the force runs, and what Hunt must sacrifice to tackle it.

A revelation about DS Ray Carling and Hunt’s bizarre and audience-throwing sacrifice build tension throughout the episode, while there is light relief as DC Chris Skelton – growing in stature and morality as a good detective – proposes to girlfriend WPC Shaz Granger.

If you’re not watching Ashes to Ashes, you really need to catch up soon as this series seems to be on fire – and looks soon to stand on its own two feet, without any nods or references to Life on Mars.

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