Ashes To Ashes: Don’t Say It’s True

GENE Hunt inspired by Manchester United boss Sir Alex Feguson.
Philip Glenister banned from driving the Ashes To Ashes Audi Quattro.
Both stories have appeared in a certain newspaper this week.
At least one of them is, how shall we say, a touch economical with the truth.
Let’s take the Fergie claim first.
It appeared the morning after the United v City Manchester derby under the headline: “Hunt Has Fergie In His Genes.”
The story provided an excuse for a mocked up pic of Gene – but with Ferguson’s face superimposed – beside Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes).
And the intro read: “Ashes To Ashes star Philip Glenister has revealed his inspiration for TV’s gruff detective Gene Hunt – Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson.”
I’ve since checked with Phil and, as I suspected, he maintains he said no such thing.
Since series one of Life On Mars, he has told the story of how he researched the role of Gene Hunt.

He often mentions that his performance was partly inspired by watching a Match of the Day 1970s’ video complilation.
Phil told me last year: “I just wanted to see what the crowds and things looked like from the 70s’ Match of the Days when they were shot at Anfield or Elland Road or Old Trafford.
“The side hair was fantastic.
“And there was this great clip of Brian Clough, which I’ve said before, where they interviewed him, roughly, in the mid-seventies.
“They said, ‘What happens when somebody disagrees with you Mr Clough?’ And he’s sitting in his office with his green sweatshirt on, and ‘BC’ on his chest.
“He says, ‘Well, we have a chat for half an hour, then they realise that I was right all along, and they move on.’
“And I thought – that’s great for Gene in a way, that sort of attitude.

“And then with the camel coat and the shoes – Emma our costume designer put a bunch of shoes and coats and things out, and I just immediately was drawn to the lairiest, really.
“A bit like Malcolm Allison at Man City.”
Never once in all that time has he mentioned Alex Ferguson as his main inspiration.
It must also be remembered that Gene is a Manchester City supporter.
Phil told the tale yet again on Jonathan Ross’s BBC1 chat show, screened last Friday.
Perhaps someone thought it was a new story.
Perhaps someone thought younger readers wouldn’t really know who Brian Clough was. He died in 2004.
Perhaps someone needed to add a more current name into the mix on the day after the high profile Manchester derby.
Or perhaps I’m just being too cynical.
Today’s second story – headlined “Ashes To Crashes” – is a less serious offender.
It, again, picks up late on a story that Phil has told countless times over the last few months.
And he repeated it yet again on BBC1’s Breakfast yesterday morning, which is where today’s story has come from.
“Ashes To Ashes star Philip Glenister has been BANNED from driving his character’s beloved Audi Quattro – in case he crashes,” it reads.
Well, yes and no.
As Phil has explained before, he’s not allowed to drive the Quattro as much as he was the Life On Mars’ Cortina.
But there’s no question of him being “banned”.
He was asked on Breakfast about the “car anoraks” who have pointed out that the Quattro wasn’t available in the UK until after 1981.
“You know,” replied Phil, “I so don’t care. I just enjoy driving it.
“The big car of the year was the Mini Metro.
“And I just thought, ‘There’s no way on Earth that Gene Hunt’s going to be driving around in a Mini Metro. It’s just not going to happen.’
“The thing is, it’s quite funny, when we first did Life On Mars we had the Cortina. I did quite a lot of the driving for the series.
“Come the second series, a bit less.
“Come the first series now of Ashes, because you’ve become a bit of a commodity, they let you do very little of it.
“Whereas before they didn’t care if I’d injured myself.
“But now we’re a bit precious.”
Phil is a guest on today’s Steve Wright Show on Radio Two sometime between 2pm and 5pm.
If you miss it, you can listen again for the next seven days via the BBC iPlayer.
Episode two of Ashes To Ashes is on BBC1 at 9pm tonight.
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Brian Clough: In His Own Words
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