THERE’S a real treat this week for Gene Hunt fans.
It involves The Guv, a gun and a plate glass window.
Someone, somewhere, just has to turn it into a poster.
It’s an iconic moment in another great episode of Ashes To Ashes.
Episode six, written by Mick Ford, might just top everything we’ve seen before.
After a scintillating start, it’s a spine-tingling, scary and emotional ride to the end titles.
Then, just as the hairs on the back of your neck are pleading for rest, there’s a real shock in the trailer for episode seven.
Fans of the sexual chemistry between Gene and Alex should order in catering packs of pink wafers.
Philip Glenister is at his imperious best as DCI Hunt roars off to solve a Post Office blag.
“This is like the good old days,” exclaims Ray, in a story with links back to Gene’s time in 1970s’ Manchester.
Ray (Dean Andrews) and Chris (Marshall Lancaster) produce a classic moment as they demonstrate the latest booming dance craze.
While Gene is as fired up as his beloved Quattro.
But before long he begins to lose faith in himself and ponders: “Maybe I am over the hill.”
Is an “old” Gene no longer the man he once was?
It’s a nightmarish and emotional episode for a shivering Alex, seen at her most vulnerable so far.
She has to solve a puzzle of Rubik’s Cube proportions, with that clown lurking and ready to pounce.
Some viewers of a nervous disposition may need to hide behind the sofa.
They might also care to have a tissue to hand for a particularly poignant moment.
Not me, of course. No, no. That would never do.
Keeley Hawes proves yet again that certain critics should never be let near a TV screen again.
Already an acclaimed actress in many roles before Ashes To Ashes, she has been superb in this series and excels this week.
We also get to see her driving The Quattro.
There are more clues about the car bomb which killed Alex’s parents in 1981 and why “little Alex” may have survived the blast.
And just who – or what – is under Alex’s duvet?
What’s not to love?
*With just two episodes to go after this week, fans have been wondering how series one will end.
A second series will almost certainly begin filming this summer for UK broadcast in 2009.
Ratings for this first run have been excellent, so far averaging over 7m when delayed viewing is taken into account.
It’s also a big hit on the BBC iPlayer, which doesn’t yet count in the overall ratings figure.
The planned story arc would also accommodate a third series, though my bet is that – like Life On Mars – Ashes will finish after two.
Talking to Phil and Keeley earlier this year, it became clear that – again like LoM – there is no huge cliffhanger at the end of Ashes series one.
“It’s quite a satisfying ending,” said Keeley.
Phil added: “It’s a very good ending. It is. And it’s self-contained in many respects.
“I think it definitely needs another series.”
Ashes To Ashes continues on BBC1 at 9pm on Thursday.
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