WALKING around the set for Ashes To Ashes is a real treat.
With just seven days to go before the start of the new series, this is what’s on the menu at Gene Hunt’s new drinking den.
Luigi’s wine bar and Italian restaurant sent me spinning back to 1981.
With maroon tablecloths and Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling, it looks and feels exactly like the sort of place I frequented 27 years ago.
There are even real Luigi’s menus, lovingly created by the art department.
The menu includes: Pizza: 90p / Spaghetti Bolognese: 95p / Beer: 55p / Coffee: 20p plus: “Please ask for Specials of the Day.”
Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) doesn’t have far to go once she’s “settled” in 1981.
Her flat is upstairs, directly above Luigi’s.
It contains an L-shaped lounge, with a sheepskin rug, glass coffee table and red brick wall.
The kitchen is open plan – also with that cutting on the wall: “Colleague tribute to DI Sam Tyler.”
Alex’s bedroom is full of the usual 1980s grooming essentials, including hair curlers.
By her bed is a bible and The Haunted Lagoon by Carolyn Keen – A Dana Girls Mystery.
Just as with the Life On Mars set in Manchester, the attention to detail is impressive.
And that also goes for the choice of music.
Tracks in episode one include Vienna by Ultravox, Careless Memories by Duran Duran, Are Friends Electric by Gary Numan, I’m In Love With A German Film Star by The Passions, No More Heroes by The Stranglers and I Fought The Law by The Clash.
Producer Beth Willis says there was a firm rule in the choice of what the TV industry likes to call “commercial music tracks”.
“We’re staying in 1981 and prior to ’81. No cheating.
The final moments in each Life On Mars episode were often ones to cherish.
Ashes To Ashes appears to be following that tradition.
Episode one has the best closing 95 seconds of anything I’ve seen on TV since, well, the very last episode of Life On Mars.
There’s just one short line of dialogue – from Luigi – as the perfect choice of music track plays in the background…not one of those listed here.
Alex and Gene don’t say a word and there’s very little action.
But it’s just captivating television, marking this series out as pure class.
Music Links – All YouTube Videos:
Duran Duran: Careless Memories
Gary Numan: Are Friends Electric
The Passions: I’m In Love With A German Film Star
The Stranglers: No More Heroes
The Clash: I Fought The Law (And The Law Won)
More Ashes To Ashes Blogs
More Life On Mars Blogs
Life On Mars Goes South
Ashes To Ashes: A Message From The Action Man
Ashes To Ashes First Episode Video Clip
The Haunted Lagoon by Carolyn Keen – A Dana Girls Mystery
The Railway Arms