Ashes To Ashes: Leap Of Faith

Just who is Gene Hunt?

“WHATEVER you think it is you’re looking for, forget it. It doesn’t exist.

“Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith.”

The pipes are calling in Ashes To Ashes final series episode five.

Perhaps my favourite hour so far as Mars meets Ashes and we turn a corner into the final straight.

Written by Tom Butterworth and Chris Hurford, it features the glorious return of Det Chief Insp Derek Litton (Lee Ross).

Or as Gene Hunt calls him: “Detective Chief Inspector ******* Litton.”

Who must surely win a BAFTA for Best Arrival By A Guest Artiste In A Series We Have Shamefully Neglected.

Hunt (Philip Glenister) and Litton have a history which stretches all the way back to Life On Mars series one.

Now the regional crime squad boss is down from Manchester along with Det Insp Geoff Bevan (Nicholas Gleaves).

The “tache twins” are on the hunt for northern comedian Frank Hardwick (Roy Hudd) and all too ready to inform “Geno” that he has gone soft.

All three main guest performances are a joy to watch – with Lee and Phil, in particular, sparking off each other like the opening of a Watneys Party Seven in an electricity sub-station.

Some have already spoiled the pre-titles sequence, which is a shame. I won’t be doing so here.

We learn that Gene served a total of eight years with Litton “in the same manor”.

Plus more about the Sam Tyler (John Simm) mystery.

Tache twins Litton and Bevan

The ability of this series to switch from knowing comedy to chilling drama is demonstrated yet again in episode five.

Including, for me, the most moving Ashes moment yet and another extraordinary scene that made me physically shiver.

It feels like the key unlocking in a big door, the light shining through and yet you still can’t really be sure exactly what is on the other side.

The pace definitely quickens in this visit to Fenchurch East, which is relatively Jim Keats-lite to make room for everything else that is happening.

Chris (Marshall Lancaster) and Ray (Dean Andrews) are preparing for their performance on stage at the Opportunity Cops Police Gala.

With Alex (Keeley Hawes) and Shaz (Montserrat Lombard) trying to cope with the invasion of the two “cavemen” from the north.

Former Doctor Who star Camille Coduri makes a brief but memorable appearance as Gloria, alongside “toy boy” Chris.

Gloria and Chris

And let’s hear it for Joseph Long as long suffering Luigi. He gets just a few brief seconds on screen but still manages to make an impression.

There’s one element of the story of the week that I can’t make sense of, even after watching it three times. Is it a clue in itself to the bigger picture?

I wrote more notes about episode five than any other so far this series – and I usually write a lot!

But can only use a small fraction of them here to avoid spoiling the ep.

What I can say is that, for those who like that sort of thing, Gene looks particularly…I think the expression is “hot”…this week.

And keep your eyes on Alex / Keeley’s face as Gene talks to her in CID and then walks away from her desk. Just magic.

It’s around 34 minutes in and during the second background playing of The Sun Goes Down by Level 42.

Mars fans will also enjoy all the Manchester references, including a mention for The Railway Arms.

As someone called “chipbutty” – no doubt not a bio-yoghurt fan (copyright Matthew Graham) – wrote on the online fan forum of the same name this week:

“This series is like a book I can’t put down but I can only read a chapter a week. I really can’t wait for the next episode.”

Things to look out for in episode five include:

1. More stars.
2. 9863.
3. A choirboy.
4. Jenny Eclair.
5. Innuendo.
6. Supposedly.
7. Sapphire and Steel.
8. Flames.
9. A big bloke beating up a black guy.
10. Another kiss.

*Ashes To Ashes final series episode five is on BBC1 at 9pm on Friday.

*My interview with Keeley Hawes will be published later this week. I’ll post an update both here and via Twitter when it goes online.

Music tracks this week include:

Ashes To Ashes: Daniel Mays

Farewell Gene

Ashes To Ashes: Philip Glenister Extras

Ashes To Ashes Blogs

Philip Glenister Official Site

The Railway Arms Ashes and Mars Fansite

Luigi’s Ashes Fansite

BBC TV Blog: Matthew Graham

Follow Ian Wylie on Twitter

Opportunity Cops

Hip Hop Cop

Det Chief Insp ******* Litton



Filed under Ashes To Ashes

14 responses to “Ashes To Ashes: Leap Of Faith

  1. Tegwen Haf

    Thanks once again Ian for a fantastic blog, this is THE episode I have been waiting for… it all sounds too good! Another kiss, interesting?? I got most of the things on the list from last week, aparts from about 3, I don’t think I’ll EVER get them all, unless you tell me lol

    Sooooo excited for Friday night and you make the suspense even better, thanks Tegwen

  2. Kirsty

    Oh my giddy aunt. This episode sounds amazing! Hurry up, Friday!

  3. Thanks Ian for another fabulous blog. And of course for the TRA shout out!

    I know how much you love this ep and I cannot wait to see it.

    As you know, Phil was in Chichester last week to talk to students at the University He specifically mentioned Lee Ross during his talk, saying that Gene’s scenes with Litton were among his favourite of this entire series. Bring it on!


  4. DorsetGirl

    Ian, I always love your episode previews, and I really value the way I know I can trust you not to include spoilers.

    I’m looking forward to this Friday, but I’m surprisingly disappointed to find that ep5 is “Keats-lite”; I’m still not sure which side he’s on, but I’m seriously impressed with the acting, and he is disturbingly cute at times!

    (Added my twopennorth to the list of Doctor Who complaints btw. I’ve never complained to the Beeb before, but that was incredible – totally ruined the moment for me.)

    …and yes Ian, the expression definitely is “hot”!


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  6. qthewetsprocket

    Hey Ian,

    Does the red/grey colour scheme from 3×04 continue into episode 5? Last week I noticed that red seems to signify 1973 and grey = 1983 (Mars is the red planet; grey is the colour of ash), and when the two are seen together, it appears that some of Sam Tyler’s 1973 world is “bleeding” into 1983…(Nelson’s coma phone is red and Luigi’s is grey; Gene’s car is red and Keats’s is grey; and of course the graffiti on the tunnel wall is written on red or grey brick, depending on which “world” it pertains to).

    I also really hope we see “Shorty” again…I think there’s more to him (and his jacket) than meets the eye.

    Finally…are your parentheticals significant? 🙂 *hopes so harder than anything I’ve ever hoped for before*


  7. RachRadical

    OMG! I now know the first name of my Regional Crime Squad amour, DCI Litton, and it ROCKS! I have waited an age to see my favourite fictional tv cop back in action again! I only hope I don’t die of happiness before the episode is aired on Friday! YOU RULE, MR LITTON! 😉

  8. Thanks, as ever, for all your comments. I can’t wait for Friday either – and I’ve already seen it! Also to add that there is what appears to be a classic piece of misdirection in this episode…

  9. Looks like a really good episode (again)! I am one of the few who will certainly pout a little over this episode being Keats-lite. I haven’t been this interested in a character since well, Gene Hunt!
    Really looking forward to your addition of Keeley’s interview. She’s been more than gracious to so many fans during her time on Ashes. And we really appreciate her SO much 🙂

  10. Laurenn

    I think this is going to be yet another brilliant episode – I love this site because spoilers aren’t posted – but always have a brilliant synopsis sort of what is going to happen. OMG I AM SOOOOO LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROW NIGHT NOW! :D, Love Laurenn xxx

  11. Maria

    Hi Ian

    I think i most be getting better….I think i got four out of your what to watch for list……Yehaw for me.!

    I think i maybe on to five if the shiver down the back scene is Ray and Shaz singing Dannyboy …As Shiver down my spine….Check..!

    As usual love the blog…look foward to the next one…(how jealous are you ..we are only on ep 5 and you are on ep 7..Come on Ian…I dare you DO NOT LOOK AT THE FINAL EPOSIDE on til it airs…!! )..

    Best regards


  12. Claire M


    Listened to the Herb Alpert song & you wouldn’t believe it. I luv it !! I really wasn’t expecting to, even though my taste is ridiculously wide. I’m not sure if it is “one of the best songs ever written,” but it brings a smile to my face every time I hear it (guess why !!)

    That was the 1st time I heard ‘Danny Boy’, & I hope I never hear it again. I was in tears. Whether it was because it’s the last series & they may well actually *be* dead (NOOOO ……) I don’t know.

    I was happy to hear ‘Sharp Dressed Man’. I heard the Hamsters [great band] do that & it’s one of my fav songs anyway (it’s true esp. when that “sharp dressed man” is Gene – he’s HOT HOT HOT !!)

    & ‘Mama’ would’ve been much better when Alex was thinking about her daughter – it didn’t make much sense where it was used.

    It’s just a pity there seems to be favs of mine in now, when we’re on the home stretch

  13. Angela Myers

    hi Ian, got most of your list of clues but where was the choirboy and another kiss, unless Gene didnt say anything to Beaven at the end but kissed him!!

  14. Angela – look again at the scene where Alex arrests Frank and then just before Chris goes on stage.

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