Time travel meets the crime drama series in Ashes to Ashes and sequel to Life on Mars. It’s 2008 and Detective Inspector Alex Drake has her head full of Sam Tyler after reading his case notes about being stuck in a very real 1973 whilst languishing in a coma. When she is shot during a seige crisis she too finds herself back in a past of her own making, this time it is 1981 and she is a DI in London working closely with Gene Hunt and his crew, who have transferred from Manchester down to the Met.
Unlike Sam, Alex is fully aware of her predicament and at times revels in it although this also means that the series can often be too knowing about its own history. Not as good as Life on Mars (but lets face it not much could be) but still a very strong and entertaining series in it’s own right.
Guest stars appearing in the first series included Steve Strange, Roger De Courcey and Nookie Bear, Zippy and George from Rainbow, Geoffrey Palmer, Christopher Fairbank, Rupert Graves, Matthew Macfadyen and Phil Davis.
The third season moves us on to 1983 and creators Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah worked hard to bring together the strands of both this show and Life on Mars, it appears that there is a reason involving the death of Sam Tyler that has left Alex back in the past.
The final episode ties things up completely for both series with the revelation (look away now if you don’t want to know) that the world of Gene Hunt and Co is a kind of spiritual limbo for coppers who have uneasy deaths and that Gene himself is kind of a gatekeeper for those souls; the series ends with Gene Hunt walking back into the office only to be faced with another cop from our time.
UK / BBC1-Kudos-Monastic / 24×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 7 February 2008 – 21 May 2010
Creators: Matthew Graham, Ashley Pharoah / Producer: Beth Willis / Executive Producers: Jane Featherstone (for Kudos), Simon Crawford Collins (for Kudos) and Matthew Graham (for Monastic Productions)
PHILIP GLENISTER as Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt
KEELEY HAWES as Detective Inspector Alex Drake
DEAN ANDREWS as Detective Sergeant Ray Carling
MARSHALL LANCASTER as Detective Constable Chris Skelton
MONTSERRAT LOMBARD as WPC Sharon “Shaz” Granger
DANIEL MAYS as Jim Keats (Season Three)
AMELIA BULLMORE as Caroline Price
STEPHEN CAMPBELL MOORE as Evan White
GEFF FRANCIS as PC Viv James
GRACE VANCE as Molly Drake
SEAN HARRIS as Arthur Layton
JOSEPH LONG as Luigi
ANDREW CLOVER as The Clown