Ashes To Ashes: The Ghosts Of My Life

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.
Ashes To Ashes Blogs
Ashes To Ashes TV Features
Life On Mars Blogs
Rubik’s Cube
The Railway Arms Ashes and Mars Fansite
Japan: Ghosts



Filed under Ashes To Ashes

7 responses to “Ashes To Ashes: The Ghosts Of My Life

  1. Jon Manning

    Ian Wylie is too close to the production of this series to write objectively about it. If he could step back he would be able to see it for what it is. And what it is is sadly very poor television indeed.
    The only way the latest episode topped what had gone before was in paucity of writing, direction and acting. There was nothing spine-tingling or scary here, it was incredibly predictable and ultimately boring. That the BBC has felt the need to devote so much publicity time and energy to something so poor only highlights its flaws and does nothing to plaster over the very obvious cracks. The only reason for the continued viewing figures is that people are holding on in the hope that it will get better, but after 6 of 8 episodes it quite obviously is incapable of so doing.
    It’s so sad to see characters who were 3D in Mars recycled as unbelievable cardboard cut-outs in Ashes, for good actors to be wasted in badly written parts, bad actors given the spotlight in a role they are not equipped to cope with. Keeley Hawes is not superb – she is bad in a bad role. Very rarely has so unsympathetic a female character been hoisted upon the viewing public, and to give the part to such a cold and brittle actor was just asking for trouble. The v/o at the start of each show only highlights her lack of ability in basic vocal work. Alex Drake is the viewer’s way in to the story. To make her such an irritating character with absolutely no redeeming features is a massive mistake.
    The entire series smacks of being rushed, of nobody thinking through what they are doing. It doesn’t know whether it wants to be a cop show, a supernatural thriller, a third-rate soap opera and so achieves none of these, only a mess worthy of weekend amateurs.
    Kudos should be ashamed of themselves, and the prospect of a second and even a third series is enough to make the critical viewer shudder in horror. As does the thought that continued involvement in the project will keep the actors who actually do possess talent – Philip Glenister foremost among them – from quality work elsewhere. Glenister’s star was riding high after Mars. It can only be very badly tarnished by association with this travesty.

  2. Ian Wylie

    Hi Jon – you are, of course, perfectly entitled to express your opinion, although I think personal attacks on the ability of cast members are uncalled for. You are also pefectly entitled not to like Ashes To Ashes.
    But I must take issue with your comment: “Ian Wylie is too close to the production of this series to write objectively about it.”
    I watch Ashes To Ashes as I watch any other TV production. If I like something, I say so. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I have interviewed members of the cast and production team. I do that every day of the week for countless other TV shows. Some programmes I like, some I don’t. But my judgement is based on what’s on screen and what I like as a “normal” viewer sat at home on my sofa. Nothing else.
    If I’d hated Ashes To Ashes I’d have certainly said so. As it happens, I’m a fan – because I really like the show.
    I’ve also been a fan of Keeley Hawes’ acting for many years. The fact that I have interviewed her several times for different productions, including this one, doesn’t come into it. Again, it’s all about what’s on the screen.
    I happen to think she’s been the subject of some pretty disgraceful and inaccurate comments with regard to Ashes To Ashes, sometimes from critics who are more interested in sparking a story than the actual truth.
    Ashes To Ashes is a different show to Life On Mars and is being enjoyed by a very large audience, all of whom might class themselves as “critical viewers”.
    Personally, I think your comments are harsh and will not be shared by the seven million plus viewers gaining real enjoyment from what is, after all, just a television programme. I’m sorry you feel the way you do. But if you don’t like Ashes To Ashes, there’s a very simple answer: Don’t watch it.

  3. Alexandra Slater

    Well, I think episode 6 is the best yet – and I have loved this series from day 1! The acting has been uniformly outstanding, and special mention must be made of the sizzling chemistry between Philip Glenister and the delightful Keeley Hawes. They make a memorable and very special double act – I can’t wait to see where this relationship goes! The stories so far have been, by turns, comical, touching and heart-stoppingly thrilling. With two episodes still to be aired, I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all concerned in the production of this stellar show. Series 2 can’t come soon enough for this spellbound viewer!

  4. Jen

    AMEN to that, brother! Very well put, Ian. I myself have been extremely put out by the amount of vitriol this program has incited, much of it below-the-belt and just plain rude. At a well-known stop on the Internet, the sniping has gone so far as for some members to insult one of the head writers of the show who had logged in yesterday to share his point of view. The lack of decorum and respect displayed for this person –who, I might add, had helped bring us the finest 16 hours of television that was Life on Mars–left me in shock and disgust.
    There has been a fair amount of ridicule reserved for those of us who have enjoyed Ashes to Ashes thus far. A lot of it has been perpetrated by some who have considered themselves “orthodox” Life on Mars fans and now see Ashes to Ashes as a blasphemous intrusion. To be fair, there are also a lot of “orthodox” Life on Mars fans who DON’T treat Ashes fans like chattel, but, of course, the bad apples you always remember.
    Please. It’s television, people. It’s not meant to save lives, to help you find God, or to give you what is missing from your own life. And what’s more, attacking those who made the show happen isn’t going to make you feel better or solve the problems you have with the show. As Ian said, the best solution is to turn the box OFF if it isn’t doing anything for you.
    Like you, I am all for healthy debate and for the sharing of opinions. But when it denigrates into personal attacks, that’s when I throw in the towel.
    Kansas, USA

  5. Alexandra Slater

    Hi Ian. Can I ask a question about the picture at the top of the ‘Ghosts of My Life’ article? It appears to be taken from an episode as yet unaired. Am I correct? If so, it begs some interesting questions! Is Gene asleep? Has he been stood up? Does the second glass of wine belong to Alex? I’m all agog!!

  6. Ian Wylie

    Hi Alexandra – very perceptive! Yes, it’s from a scene yet to be screened. Will be previewing episode seven in tomorrow’s blog, with more pics.

  7. S West

    I loved Life on Mars and had great hopes for this series. It has been variable. Some episodes have been brill and I think the characters are fab too. Gene is my favourite of course.
    I am a big fan of Keeleys too but I cannot warm to her character in this either. She is brittle and cold. She is at times almost irritating and trying so so hard to be sexy that you squirm with embarassment for her. Its not Keeleys fault but the way the writers have obviously written the part.
    I loved the nice lass who was the love interest in the previous series. A caring character who was quite believable.

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