Ashes To Ashes

Ashes to Ashes team

Ashes to Ashes Series 2 continues on Monday, with police corruption continuing to play a major role in the storyline.

The episode centres around the aftermath of the death of a major vehicle thief, Romany gypsy Jed Wicklow, following a car chase.

DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) is accused of causing it through reckless driving, and with Wicklow’s background as hostilities run high on the settlement as the team try to uncover the true circumstances behind his death, with DI Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) adamant Jed wasn’t in control of himself nor the vehicle and determined to prove the crash wasn’t Hunt’s fault.

With the revelation that Jed was full of sleeping pills and the car he was driving had been tampered with, events take a dark turn…

…but things get even murkier when once again the team find their investigation hampered by someone on the inside.

With the investigation focussing on a supply of sleeping tablets found at the gypsy camp, Gene is invited by Superintendent “Supermac” Mackintosh (Roger Allam) into the inner sanctum of the ancient order of the Masons – and it doesn’t take Hunt long to realise that the corruption in the Force runs deep. Will Alex be left to fight on alone, with her only real friend seduced by corruption?

Alex’s messages from the future are continuing meanwhile, appearing to offer a way back home. Is the mysterious and seemingly dangerous stranger the key to getting back to the future?

Ashes to Ashes Series 2 Episode 2 airs at 9pm BBC One on Monday April 27th.

Gene Hunt

Although the series often miss-hit during its first run, Ashes to Ashes returned in style for Series 2.

With a good honest cop dead in seedy circumstances, a new boss of dubious motive and DC Chris Skelton falling for WPC Granger, Ashes to Ashes returned this week as strongly as it left us at the end of the first series, as Alex Drake discovered the truth behind her parents’ death.

Of course that mystery has been solved, and the producers of the hit series starring Philip Glenister as the legendary DCI Gene Hunt and Keeley Hawes as DI Alex Drake have given the returning viewers not one but two running themes for Series 2 – themes that could see the series move from the shadow of its John Simm-starring predecessor Life on Mars.

A constant companion throughout Series 1 was Alex’s high-flying lawyer mother. Now dead, there seems to be a gaping hole in Alex’s armoury as she finds herself in the middle of a rotten force of corruption.

It’s a matter that has been referenced barely in Ashes to Ashes, another new element informed by the previous series’ finale. As Drake and Hunt solved the case of the vice squad cop found choked to death in women’s lingerie and discovered that one of their own was involved, Ashes to Ashes suddenly became a new show entirely; and as the credits rolled, breath was regained and a trailer for the next episode was shown, it became apparent that the darkness promised by the stars is apparent already.

Lost in 1982, it seems that Alex has been trapped in a shady world of police corruption, barely able to trust those that she considers friends – and attracting the attention of what appears to be another time traveller…
Lest we forget, Alex Drake experienced a near-death experience in 2008 and woke up in 1981. How then can another individual be there, sharing her own personal psychological construct – unless everything is real?

With messages from 2008 filtering through, and Alex apparently rescued from the decrepit barge in which she was shot at the start of the first series, the return of Ashes to Ashes feels less like a follow up and more like Act 2.

Ashes to Ashes returns to BBC One at 9pm on Monday April 20th – and DS Alex Drake is still trapped in 1982…

Series one ended with Alex finally finding out ho her parents came to be in a car bomb – series 2 moves on a year, against the background of the Faklands War with Argentina. Corruption is rife in the Metropolitan Police force, but supercop Detective Superintendent “Supermac” Macintosh has been put charge of DCI Gene Hunt’s team, with a view to stopping the rot.
Episode 1 sees Hunt and Drake discovering that a dead man in a Soho strip club is in fact a dead police constable – working with the vice squad.

Foul play is suspected when the dead man’s wife insists that her husband would not have been seduced by the world of vice – leading Alex Drake and Gene Hunt to conclude that the killer was one of their own.

Meanwhile Alex has settled into life in the 1980s – but not enough to stop dreaming of returning home to 2008, and her daughter. Who will replace the David Bowie clown in Alex’s hallucinations? Why is she hearing news from the future? And who is the mysterious stranger, also seemingly trapped in 1982?

Ashes to Ashes is one of the crown jewels of the new season on BBC One which also comprises a raft of solid new drama and comedy. Philip Glenister and Keeley Hawes star as DCI Gene Hunt and DS Alex Drake, while DS Ray Carling is played by Dean Andrews and DC Chris Skelton by Marshall Lancaster.

Actor Philip Glenister has hinted at what’s in store for Gene Hunt and the team in the new series of Ashes to Ashes which returns to our screens later this month.

Most important in this is the presence of Gene Hunt in the 1980s, an anachronism of policing whose ways and methods are relics of a bygone era – the 1970s. There is an interesting theme of police corruption running through the second series of Ashes to Ashes, one that will put the old fashioned DCI Hunt in direct conflict with his superiors.

“In this series of Ashes To Ashes Gene is still out there being a maverick, but what I always say about him is that, while he bends the rules, he never breaks them. He merely manipulates and stretches them a bit!”

It is these skills that Hunt will need to employ, as well as those of his team. While the future for Alex Drake is shrouded in mystery at this stage – will she get back to 2008 or not? – the immediate future for the entire team looks to be one of survival in the face of instutional corruption.

This is of course heavy content for a series whose basic premise is a 21st century copper thrown back in time, but given the settings proximity to the early 1990s police corruption serial Between the Lines, what better way to investigate some of the same themes during a period of upheaval and uncertainty in the Metropolitan Police?

Gene Hunt has of course been criticised by those without any clue about real life, real values and real people – criticised as a stereotype and a dinosaur. This misses the point – Philip Glenister portrays Hunt in Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars as a modern day sheriff, an archetypal 1970s CID officer with principles and a desire to clean up the city, whatever the consequences.

“If anything he is a decent and honest copper and he’ll usually only collar unsavoury characters. I love the western connotation with Hunt; he is exactly like a Sheriff and sees himself very much in that guise. However, the problem is that he is out of his depth in the Eighties metropolis of London and the bottom line is he is a Seventies copper at heart.”

Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt

Ashes to Ashes is returning to BBC One soon – reuniting Philip Glenister as DCI Gene Hunt, the wonderful Keeley Hawes as DI Alex Drake as well as Dean Andrews as DS Ray Carling, Marshall Lancaster as DC Chris Skelton and Monserrat Lombard as WPC Shaz Granger.

The series moves on to 1982, with a change in backdrop – namely the Falklands Conflict in which Britain and Argentina fought over the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.

There’s lots more of the usual intriguing Alex Drake story arc as well as more to learn about the amazing Gene Hunt it seems, as these hints reveal:

  • Force legend Detective Superintendent “Supermac” Mackintosh (played by Roger Allam) takes charge of CID – could this break the fine equilibrium of DCI Hunt’s team?
  • Alex Drake settles into becoming much more a part of the team, but is a that the whiff of police corruption running throughout the series?
  • A strange man keeps leaving Alex roses which she initially thinks is another puzzle.
  • Could there be wedding bells for Chris and Shaz?
  • Sounds and messages from the future suggest to Alex that her circumstances have changed…

So despite Alex uncovering the riddle of her parents’ death at the end of Series 1, she remains trapped in the 1980s, still determined to return back to 2008 and survive the shooting in order to see her daughter again – but was it ever real? Keeley Hawes has revealed that things aren’t so cut and dried when it comes to Alex Drake and her “real life”…


“I’ve found Alex really interesting to play this series,” continues Keeley, “because the lines are blurring between what she thinks is real and what isn’t. She is now beginning to wonder whether the 2008 part of her life, including her daughter Molly, only ever existed in her head. It’s definitely been an interesting angle to explore rather than the story simply concentrating on her trying to get back to the present.”


Ashes to Ashes looks set to continue the excellent tale of Alex Drake, the wonderful relationship with Gene Hunt and the nostalgic evocation of the 1980s in fine style.


The end is in sight for fans of the BBC One hit Ashes to Ashes following actor Philip Glenister’s decision to quit the show after one more series.

The DCI Gene Hunt actor will have played the character for 4 years by the end of the new run due to start in early April, and feels that he’s almost reached the end of the road with the semi-mystical old school policeman who has somehow attracted not one but two time travellers in Sam Tyler (John Simm in Life on Mars) and Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes).

Sources report the programme makers are disappointed – but there’s plenty left to see in the next series and the final one that will follow…

“Philip has loved playing Gene and knows  a lot of fans would like him to carry on. But he feels he’s taken the role as far as he can.  The makers were obviously disappointed, but they don’t plan to end it quietly. They will use the next two series to tie up all the loose ends – and go out with a bang.”

Philip Glenister’s previous roles have seen him star in Demons (shhh!), Hornblower, Roger Roger, Cranford, Clocking Off and State of Play to name but a few, while the actor has harboured a ambition to star in Doctor Who.

Whatever is in store for the Gene Genie this series however, chances are Ashes to Ashes series 2 is going to be top notch, gripping stuff.

Join Gene Hunt, Alex Drake, Chris Skelton and Ray Carling for more “police time travel psychological drama” as the series moves on to a backdrop of the Falklands War in 1982 when Ashes to Ashes returns in April on BBC One!

Keeley Hawes (Spooks) has beaten hundreds of hopefuls to don her leg warmers and play ambitious, psychological profiler, DI Alex Drake who, when finding herself stuck in 1981, takes on the infamous DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) in Ashes To Ashes, the eagerly-anticipated sequel to Life On Mars, it was announced today.

Alex has rapidly risen through the ranks of the Met in the modern world of 2008.

However, she is ripped from her current world of sexual equality and respect and finds herself faced with the boorish Gene in a two-tone, New Romantic, Eighties London with a soundtrack of Adam Ant, Roxy Music and The Human League ringing in her ears.

Today, Keeley said: “I’m thrilled to be playing Alex. She’s a fantastic character and will be a force to be reckoned with as far as Gene Hunt is concerned; the two of them locking horns in the Eighties will certainly be a sight to behold, never mind the shoulder pads.”

Jane Featherstone, Executive Producer for Kudos, said: “Keeley will be fantastic as Alex ‘posh knickers’ Drake. She is sexy, ballsy and very intelligent, exactly like Alex – she’s bound to turn Gene’s egocentric life upside down!”

Due to transmit on BBC One in 2008, Ashes To Ashes is written and created by Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharaoh, two creators of the award-winning Life On Mars.

With additional writing credits for Mark Greig (Life On Mars), Mick Ford (William And Mary) and Julie Rutterford (Life On Mars), it is produced by Kudos, in association with Monastic Productions, the new production company of Graham and Pharaoh.

Graham also executive produces for Monastic Productions, alongside Jane Featherstone and Simon Crawford Collins for Kudos.

Ashes To Ashes is produced by Beth Willis and commissioned by BBC Wales Head of Drama, Julie Gardner.

After a gripping finale to the critically-acclaimed and multi award-winning Life On Mars on BBC One, Kudos, Monastic Productions and the BBC are delighted to announce the next chapter – Ashes To Ashes.

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.

Single mother to daughter Molly, Alex has rapidly risen through the ranks of the Met and, in the modern world of 2008, 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.

Alex finds some of Gene’s team has dispersed yet others, loyal as ever, are still in tow.

Now a technological whizz-kid in the squad’s surveillance team, DC Chris Skelton has clearly moved with the times, along with a tight-permed DS Ray Carling who’s keen to experience London’s nightlife.

Frustrated by each other’s stubbornness, the friction between Alex and Gene heats up. However, as the two titans collide, it becomes apparent there is more than just a professional tension emerging.

With the producers’ search to cast the strong-willed DCI Alex Drake currently underway, filming is due to begin in London this summer, for transmission on BBC One next year.

Jane Featherstone, Executive Producer for Kudos, says: “Ashes to Ashes is the next chapter in the life of Gene Hunt, as seen through the eyes of a modern, no-nonsense woman.

“It’s a touch of Moonlighting teamed with a measure of Miami Vice.

“The search for Gene’s sexy side-kick is definitely on; she’ll hopefully give him a serious run for his money.”

Julie Gardner, BBC Wales Head of Drama, says: “Sam Tyler took us on an amazing journey with Life On Mars but his story always had a definite life span.

“However, fans will be excited to learn that Gene Hunt lives on through Ashes To Ashes and we’re certain they will love his Eighties escapades.”

Ashes To Ashes is written and created by Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharaoh, two creators of Life On Mars, with additional writing credits for Mark Greig (Life On Mars), Mick Ford (William And Mary) and Julie Rutterford (Life On Mars).

It is produced by Kudos, in association with Monastic Productions, the new production company of Graham and Pharaoh.

Graham also executive produces for Monastic Productions, alongside Jane Featherstone and Simon Crawford Collins for Kudos and BBC Wales Head of Drama, Julie Gardner, who has also commissioned the series.

Ashes To Ashes, an eight-part series of 60-minute episodes, is produced by Beth Willis.

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1