It’s the morning after the night before. Alex is confused and Gene is angry.
The last ever episode of Ashes To Ashes is a real knockout from the opening minute.
Moving on to, among other things, Farringfield Green, a scarecrow, those video tapes and Wham!
Before we reach The End.
Gene Hunt promised “one hell of a last chapter” and he is a man of his word.
Written by co-creator Matthew Graham, it’s an epic farewell that packs a strong emotional punch.
Providing answers on a relatively simple, yet satisfying, last page.
Keeley Hawes said her husband Matthew Macfadyen “cried like a girl” when he saw the “bittersweet” final minutes.
Really? I mean, for goodness sake, it’s only a TV programme, isn’t it?
Needless to say, I also had tears streaming down my face the first time I watched the conclusion.
And the second, third, fourth and fifth time.
I expect it’ll be like that even on repeat viewings 20 years from now.
In the same way that It’s A Wonderful Life gets me every Christmas – and, no, that is not a clue of any sort.
There are no major spoilers in this blog. No hidden hints about who may, or may not, appear in the last hour. Or details of what happens.
Those of us who were also Life On Mars fans have invested five years of our viewing lives in Gene, Ray and Chris.
Including two years with Sam and Annie and three with Alex and Shaz.
So whatever the fate of the Fenchurch East CID team, it was always going to be beyond sad to say goodbye to them.
Take some comfort in the fact that the time is right for these cherished characters to depart at the end of the planned three series story arc.
I’m sure that, like Mars, the end of Ashes will divide opinion.
Some may hate it – especially those with impossible expectations of what a TV drama like this can deliver.
We all view things in different ways. So no doubt there will be heated debates and critics eager to have their say.
But I hope the majority of viewers will see it for what it is and embrace what I believe is a near perfect conclusion to five years of magnificent, classic TV.
Enthralling drama that absorbed and obsessed its audience in what might be, for some, a once in a lifetime experience, sending them on a journey those on the outside will never understand.
Brought to a close with some of the most powerful performances of all shades you will ever see on screen.
I’ve been privileged to see some marvellous moments of television in the half century since I moved on from Andy Pandy.
Also lucky enough to interview many of those involved in creating them.
Yet none has engaged my emotions more than the world of Mars and Ashes and its examination of the important things in life.
Like love, friendship, loyalty and The Guv.
Now we’ve reached the end of that long and winding road and it’s time to say farewell to Gene, Alex, Ray, Chris and Shaz.
Will Alex get home to Molly? Who is the ghost PC? What happened to Sam? Who is buried in that shallow grave? What do those stars mean for Chris, Shaz and Ray? Is Jim Keats to be trusted? And who is Gene Hunt?
As the clock ticks towards 10pm on Friday, you will know.
Be prepared. It’s going to be emotional.
Despite those tears, I’m happy.
Hope you’re happy too.
My final things to look out for Ashes list is simple: The future work of all those who have given so many, so much pleasure, including:
1. Philip Glenister
2. Keeley Hawes
3. Dean Andrews
4. Marshall Lancaster
5. Montserrat Lombard
6. Daniel Mays
7. Geff Francis
8. Joseph Long
9. Ashley Pharoah
10. Matthew Graham
…plus the 100 or so people listed on the end credits, regularly and shamefully squeezed on screen by the BBC, including producer Howard Burch, directors David Drury, Alrick Riley and Jamie Payne, music composer Edmund Butt, costume designer Rosie Hackett, director of photography Balazs Bolygo, the other writers, camera operators, script editors, production team, stunt co-ordinator, sound engineer, art director, make-up artists, assistant directors…
*The final episode of Ashes To Ashes is screened on BBC1 at 9pm on Friday.
Music tracks this week include: