Ashes To Ashes: The Blitz Club

IT’S not a good idea to get ahead of ourselves.
But I thought I’d just say that episode two of Ashes To Ashes does not disappoint.
It confirms the TV team really has pulled this project off, despite the views of some non-believers.
That includes John Harris and Tony Parsons, who savaged Ashes To Ashes on BBC2’s Newsnight Review last night.
Any late night discussion which includes the word “postmodern” in the introduction needs to be treated with caution.
Cheshire-raised writer John was upset about the move from Manchester to London.
He also missed John Simm’s Sam Tyler and believed Ashes To Ashes was lacking in several departments.
“It makes reasonably entertaining TV – it’s very thin,” he said.
Author and writer Tony was even more vocal in his criticism.
“I thought it was unforgiveably feeble,” he commented.

Tony also felt both Philip Glenister and Gene Hunt had been short-changed.
“That character and that actor deserve a better vehicle than this clapped out old banger.”

It was left to Julie Myerson, another writer, to defend Ashes – and she tried her best.
“It’s going to have to be different – I think Keeley Hawes is terrific, actually…you’ve got something different,” she said.
“They have, quite rightly, done a new dynamic.”
She also attempted to highlight the new emotional pull of DI Alex Drake’s (Keeley Hawes) quest to return to her daughter Molly in 2008.
Something that Sam Tyler, for all of his strong desire to go “home”, simply didn’t have waiting for him.
But John and Tony were too immersed in their own views to let Julie have her say.

Every time she tried to speak, they interrupted and talked over her.
Both are, of course, entitled to their opinions – as I am mine.
There’s also a negative review in today’s Times, the second unfavourable article to be run by that newspaper.
Yet again, a tall man in a dark coat hovers over me, meaning I am sadly unable to provide a direct link to that particular review.
It may reflect the views of a section of the audience who will find Ashes a turn off.
Thankfully, the opinions that really count are those of viewers sat at home.
And my bet is that the vast majority will love Ashes To Ashes, without ever having to reach for a dictionary definition of postmodernism.
As Julie tried to point out, it’s a different show.
No-one can ever take away the brilliance of Life On Mars.

While there are, of course, links between the two dramas, Ashes To Ashes is not Life On Mars series three. The clue is in the title.
For many fans it is, quite rightly, more than just a TV show.
But let’s not lose sight of the fact that this is meant to be enjoyed as a piece of television entertainment.
There will be Sam Tyler fans who simply won’t feel able to take the Ashes To Ashes journey.
For others, there will probably be a period of adjustment while watching the first episode.
As I wrote in my first review, it took me a little while to become convinced.
Having now re-watched that opening episode, it’s actually 37 minutes and 30 seconds in to the point where Alex walks into Luigi’s.
None of which will matter, of course, to viewers who never watched Life On Mars.
Don’t worry. The positive reviews of Ashes far outweigh the few critical ones.

Personally, I think it’s top quality telly and not to be missed.
But it’s not my opinion that counts – it’s yours.
In the words of Julie Myerson last night: “Give it a chance.”
To which I’d simply add: “Trust the Gene Genie.”
Episode two features the new opening titles, new theme music and the much anticipated scenes in the Blitz Club.
They include a very different off duty WPC Shaz Granger (Montserrat Lombard) and DC Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster).
“We had to get all the make up – and Steve Strange was playing Fade To Grey,” Marshall told me.
“That was quite weird.”
The spark between Chris and Shaz gradually builds and becomes more significant towards the end of the series.
By which time the words of the critics may also have faded to grey.
*Ashes To Ashes begins on BBC1 at 9pm next Thursday.
Newsnight Review
Blitz Club
Blitz Club @ flickr
Lunch In Luigi’s
A Message From The Action Man
Life On Mars Goes South
Ashes To Ashes First Episode Video Clip
More Ashes To Ashes Blogs
The Railway Arms