THE tabloid spin has started already, along with the first TV teaser trails.
Ashes To Ashes: Dust To Dust was just one headline this morning.
Gene Hunt is being killed off, it claimed, by the man who plays him, Philip Glenister.
A classic case of a story written to fit the headline.
What Phil actually said at Tuesday’s press launch was that he thought the new BBC1 drama – set in 1981 – would be the last time shift for Gene.
As things stand, he probably couldn’t see The Guv in any follow up drama set in the 1990s, or before the 1973 of Life On Mars.
But no mention whatsoever of killing Gene off.
Plans are already in place for a second series of Ashes To Ashes, which would begin filming later this year.
But although the cast are “optioned” for a second series, it has yet to be given the green light.
That depends – as is normal practice these days – on ratings for the first series, which is now confirmed as starting in the week beginning Monday Feb 4.
Bearing in mind he could be playing Gene for a little while yet, I asked Phil if he was worried about being typecast by such an iconic character.
“Had I just come out of drama school and this was the first role that I’d ever done, then, yeah, it would be a big problem,” he replied.
“But I think I’ve done enough other work for people to know.
“It’s not like I get sent scripts which are ‘seventies’ throwback cop’.
“If that started happening, if you started getting scripts and you think, ‘Oh, this is just a pale imitation of Gene Hunt,’ then I’ll start worrying.
“But until that happens, it’s OK.”
Having recently proved, yet again, in Cranford just what a versatile actor he is, I then asked him about his next project.
Still reflecting on the last answer, Phil laughed: “I’m driving a horse-drawn Cortina.”
In fact, he’s already started work playing a vampire slayer in new ITV1 drama The Last Van Helsing.
Most advance press reviews of the first episode of A2A have been very positive, aside from Andrew Billen in The Times.
I’d provide a direct link, if it wasn’t for a rather angry man in crocodile-skin boots hovering over my keyboard.
One tabloid also featured a racy photo today of Keeley Hawes, which it said pictured her as DI Alex Drake in Ashes To Ashes.
Except it was a shot taken several years ago and nothing to do with the new series.
Looks like Gene may have to leave a few more calling cards.
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