Ashes To Ashes: The End

DIXON Of Dock Green provided the black and white postscript to the last ever episode of Ashes To Ashes.

“So it was all sorted out in the end. And no bones broken, luckily,” said a reassuring PC George Dixon.

It was, after all, only a TV show. But a very special one.

Time for supper and then up those stairs to bed.

A fitting farewell for a drama many obsessed over, with online fan forum The Railway Arms going into meltdown after each episode was screened.

The final emotional hour revealed almost all about DCI Gene Hunt and his world but left just enough ambiguity to keep those web servers humming for some time to come.

If you’ve yet to see the Ashes’ farewell, which finished a few minutes ago, do NOT read any further.

I spoke at length to Ashes co-creator Matthew Graham earlier this week – the first interview he had given where he was able to speak freely about the secrets of Gene’s world and those who found themselves drawn into it.

Keeping a promise he made to me just over three years ago when we conducted a similar interview for use after the final episode of Life On Mars.

Part of our Ashes chat has just been published in The Guardian TV blog here.

But there is much more to report.

I will be posting a near full transcript of our conversation here in my own blog later this weekend.

For the moment, however, I think it’s best to let the dust to dust settle on Ashes To Ashes.

If you’ve just watched the episode, by all means check out my Guardian TV blog and feel free to leave a comment there – as well as here.

My own advice would be to watch the final episode a second time to fully appreciate its brilliance – and then a third, fourth, fifth time…

Matthew told me his message to fans was – don’t make instant judgements.

“Watch it and then leave it for a bit and then think about it – you can draw conclusions too quickly,” he cautioned.

“You need sometimes for it to bed in and have a think about it before you decide whether or not it’s the ending you wanted.”

I’m also aware that not everyone will have been able to watch tonight and may be catching up with episode eight tomorrow.

Another reason to delay publication of the full transcript.

Since talking to me, Matthew has also spoken to my colleagues at SFX. So you might want to check out what he said there.

In the meantime, here are a few advance extracts – probably best read after you’ve looked at that online Guardian piece.

Obviously your view of what you saw on screen is just as important as anyone else’s and there are no definitive answers written in stone.

But this was the ending that Matthew and fellow co-creator Ashley Pharoah wanted and their take on it:

It turned out that the moment of Alex’s death had been revealed in the opening minutes of the first episode in this final series.

When the digital clock in her modern day hospital room clicked to 9:06. “The moment of it plunging into black and then Gene slapping her awake,” explained Matthew.

Matthew was on location for the scenes at “Farringfield Green” where Alex found what she initially thought was Sam Tyler’s shallow grave beside a scarecrow.

As we now know, it was the body of rookie PC Gene Hunt, shot dead on Coronation Day in 1953 during his first week on the beat.

It was a pivotal scene and Philip Glenister was, understandably, unsure how much Gene would know about his past at this moment.

Matthew told him: “The best way of playing it is – as she uncovers the body, she’s uncovering your memory.”

Those “Lancashire” exterior farmhouse scenes – complete with Old Father Time weather vane – were actually shot at Stockers Farm near Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, the location for many famous film and TV productions, including the classic 1970s ITV children’s series The Adventures Of Black Beauty.

Matthew’s script for the final episode appeared to confirm that DCI Jim Keats (Daniel Mays) was either the gatekeeper to Hell or the Devil himself, with Gene as an almost unknowing archangel saving souls – with everyone dead in an afterlife purgatory between Heaven, Hell and Earth.

But it was very deliberately never spelled out. “I never wanted anyone to say, ‘So I’m dead? You’re dead. We’re all dead.’ I wanted to avoid that. I thought that would burst the bubble a bit,” Matthew told me.

The latest incarnation of The Railway Arms – Alex, Ray, Chris and Shaz’s little corner of paradise – was a real life pub the production team found near London Bridge in Camberwell, south London, transformed for the purposes of filming.

Update: The Horseshoe Inn.

“They just took their pub sign down and we put up all our stuff,” recalled Matthew.”

“We did it in the middle of the night. We were a bit worried about people seeing it. But we were tucked away near a railway bridge – it really was a sort of Railway Arms. And it was an absolutely freezing cold night. I think it got down to minus nine or ten. So no-one was out on the streets, which just played into our hands.”

The character of Thordy in episode six? He claimed to be Sam Tyler. But he was just what Gene said he was – a fantasist. Matthew had wanted a bit more of Thordy in that episode to make it clearer to viewers. “Because otherwise I think what happens is people think Thordy is going to be really important later.” But the usual time constraints made that impossible.

Lots more to follow later in the weekend, including questions about Gene, Alex, Jim, Ray, Chris. Shaz, Arthur Layton, Evan, balancing the fantasy element and 6620.

And Matthew also reminded me that he had already given Gene Hunt a middle name – Stephen.

“I wanted to give him a name that he himself would find a little bit poncey.”

Guardian TV Blog: Matthew Graham interview on the end of Ashes

Ashes To Ashes Blogs

Life On Mars Blogs

Life On Mars: The Answers

The Railway Arms Fan Forum

Luigi’s Fan Forum

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72 responses to “Ashes To Ashes: The End

  1. molliemouse4

    Tremendous entertainment! Thankyou to all involved!

  2. Am a bit incoherent at the moment. But I really do think it was absolutely the right ending. Thought Philip Glenister was beyond awesome tonight. Ashley Pharoah wasn’t wrong when he visited the Railway Arms website back in April and said that we were part of the story rather than an adjunct to it!

    Lots of tears are being shed. All for Gene. I haven’t quite got round to accepting that this is the end just yet.

  3. iva

    i am crying now…brain just realised – IT was the last one.

    I love the simple solution for the bigger picture, as always, less is more.

    i am sorry that alex don’t have gene or molly, but as someone said gene knows that alex, sam, ray, chris, shaz are safe now, and they will be there waiting for him when he is ready to join them.

    i think MandA need to think about movie now, where exactly that will happened – all characters back together in Railway arms!

    I will end this post tomorrow, now tears pooring down…thank you!

  4. Roy Madden

    Fantastic ending. I know it won’t be to everybodys satisfaction but I thought it was perfect.
    Congrats all round and thanks Ian for all your updates and info.
    Ps TRA is in meltdown again!

  5. chris

    As a fan first and foremost of life and mars ,and now ashes to ashes i have to say that for me it was the perfect ending. It backed up my own theory to life on mars and didn’t destroy the meaning of that ending, and that to me was so important. I’ve always believed Gene to be a guardian type angel so i loved that finale. Mr Hunt-the guv of lost souls!

  6. Maria

    …What Janet said…..

    And thank you for answering a few questions that i needed answering …through a fog of tears i missed most of what was said in the farm house…

    I will have to watch it again and again and again…I was nearly telling myself to be quite as i was like what what what did he say there..!!

    I tried to explain the ending to the other half for the last Five years i have been allowed to indulge myself with LOM and A2A…Think I might just direct him to your blog..!!

    Really Really looking forward to your next Blog..

    Mentally wrecked..

    Thanks and Regards


  7. Dandy Specner

    Please Please Please tell them we want a one off Christmas Special to pass gene onto heaven.

    It was so Brilliant and yet so sad that we have lost such a fantastic show and poor Gene is without his team.

    We need a 1 hour christmas special to see Gene reunited!

    Excellent Stuff.

  8. Dave

    Can’t post on TRA, even though it would be my first. Seems to have melted…….

    Firstly, Ian thank-you for your fab blogs on LoM and A2A, have been first rate and written with love and appreciation of what has been a first rate drama, for the past five years.

    On tonight’s episode, I have four words. Just four little words to describe the ending.

    It just made sense.

    Beautifully written, and superbly underplayed. Compare that with Dr Who at Xmas and New Year with the Long Goodbye that just went on and on, further than Chris Waddle’s penalty – and that’s still going.

    In summary, can’t wait for more blogs. Top ending and thank-god no spaceships!!!!!!

  9. Jamesie

    Can anyone tell me which era Chris was supposed to have died in? Shaz obviously died in the mid-1990s and judging by his clothes and moustache Ray in the 1970s sometime…but what about Chris?

    It may take someone who knows rather more about Police Uniforms than me!

    • Arri

      Chris was from the 2000s I guess, as he mentioned gay marriage being legal in Holland and it’s only been legal since 2001.

      • CiaraK

        Chris is ‘haunted’ by whistles…a quick Google shows that police whistles were phased out during the ’60s and totally gone by mid-7os…
        …and, his death clip was in b/w too, wasn’t it? So I’m guessing no later than early 70s if not before.

      • Sophie

        Chris couldn’t of been from the 2000s as the police haven’t used whistles since the 60s, so I’d say his from then?

  10. Keef

    One of the most poignant images for me tonight was Gene’s face as Bolls was digging up his ID card from his grave. All of a sudden you see the young, frightened Gene, cutting through all the bravado and machismo as he remembers who he really is. Utterly fantastic. A2A and LoM are the only shows that we have EVER made sure we’re at home to watch. Can it really be 5 years gone already? Everyone will be very sadly missed. If the licence fee only covered A2A then it would worth it. Congrats to everyone involved for a perfect ending, one that will go down in TV history. Brilliant.

  11. Jim Herbert

    There’s only two problems/inconsistencies.
    1. If Hunt died as a young pc, why has he now aged when the others haven’t (noticeably).
    2. Why does the time frame of this purgatory differ for Sam Tyler and Alex Drake? I suppose there’s no reason that it can’t but if you ask me a shift to the 80s is dangerously close to hell.
    3. If this is purgatory how can cops like Viv get killed when they must already be dead to be there (unless everyone other than the central characters are imagined by the souls and are part of some metaphysical test).
    Ok that’s three problems.

    • Eisette

      1) It was metnioned a few times in the episode that this purgatory-for-cops was Gene’s little world, of his own design. I’d say in his mind it’s still moving on as if he were living, which suits the people he’s ‘mentoring’.
      2) I think this is explained by Gene’s own timeline in the purgatory-for-cops. In between LOM and Alex’s time, time was moving forward for Gene as he was helping Ray and Chris, as well as Shaz.
      3) I think he was part of that ‘metaphysical test’ as you called it; one of those things that you do to add points to your tally in limbo. This is supported by how badly everyone felt in the office after, but how cheery and bouncy Keats was.

      Well, that’s how I see it. Hope that helped!

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  13. Gill

    Loved it….

    As someone said all made sense and can’t think of a better way to have done it.

    But, could Gene have not also gone into Railway Arms or Alex stayed with him for a while – and kiss was a bit chaste or was it just right?? Second viewing required.

    Like the thought that he’ll go to Railway Arms when ready and everyone will be reunited.

    What will I do without it????

  14. Roz South

    Allegorical brilliance. All that needs saying.

  15. Sabz

    Absolutely loved the last episode, will be watching it again very soon 😛 Thought the whole concept was fantastic and it ended brilliantly. Love LoM, love A2A and Gene Hunt…so would 😉

    I want to watch it again but don’t think it’s sunk in properly the first time. I’ve been in the process of watch LoM and A2A again(educating the partner and showing him what great shows he’s missing lol). Will definitely watch S3 again..or maybe have another marathon weekend full of the Gene lovin

  16. Tvor

    Am tickled that i guessed it was all Gene’s fantasy but i never guessed that they were all dead! Keats was doubly good in the last ep as were they all. Thanks to all the writers and actors and everyone involved!

  17. Fin

    Although I liked the ending I felt it left a massive plot hole. If the conclusion was that the world was an area between death and the afterlife then you have to be dead to go there. So how can Alex and Sam have been there in comas before death? It would suggest that they were already dead at the point they entered that world .. and that totally blows apart the connecting thread between Sam and Alex (and LoM – Ashes) – i.e. that Sam had awoken from his coma and left detailed notes about Gene’s world for Alex to read.

    • Nimbus

      Because Sam and Alex were near death – and so entered purgatory temporarily. A bit like when people close to death claim that they saw the light of heaven that they were heading towards before being pulled back.

  18. Confused

    I still can’t work out the Sam Tyler bit though. If he was in Gene’s purgatory, he must have been dead. Yet he got back to 2005…

    • James Anderson Merritt

      I think the idea is that you can “visit” purgatory if near death, but must leave it if you survive, as Sam did for a while. I think he most certainly must have awakened from his coma, in order for Alex to have learned about Gene’s world in the first place. But I wonder if Alex ever really did awaken from hers. Clearly she died, but I’ll have to watch the last episode of Series 2 and the first episode of Series 3 again, to see if there is any chance she came awake from a while, to spend some last moments with Molly, then relapsed (about the time Gene started appearing on the monitors), to finally die at 9:06.

      What’s interesting to me is that Sam lingered in Gene’s world for several “years” after his suicide — he clearly had a lot of “sorting out” to do. Alex, though, didn’t last very long after her own death.

      It is also worth noting that, even though everyone says that Sam’s story was “naturally finished” after LOM, in fact, his adventures after death, and the “crossing over” of himself and Annie, would seem to provide very rich soil for storytelling. Alex quickly processed the realization of her own death and her inability to get back to her daughter. Sam and Annie probably took longer to get to a similar point; it would have been interesting to witness the ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes that they had to go through to arrive there. I understand, however, that this would have all been less compelling, dramatically speaking, once the audience knew the secret of Gene’s world. I suppose the only way it could have worked, would have been for Alex to encounter another of Sam’s journals — perhaps handed to her by Gene — so that she and we would have been able to witness the real end of Sam and Annie’s story in flashback. At the end, Alex might at least have had a glimmer of understanding that Gene had shared this information with her because she was never going back to her prior life; and would instead follow Sam.

      It’s rare for a TV series to coax such thinking from me, so I would like to thank the cast and crew of LOM and A2A, for creating so many hours of thought-provoking entertainment. I am already missing the GeneGenieverse, which all of you fine people made real, for me and so many others.

  19. Biggles

    Well, what can we say? Unmissable and totally unpredictable; this will take a while to figure out.
    Brilliant acting and clever, clever all of it.
    We will miss all the characters especially Gene, Sam and Alex. Some TV Awards for this bunch please. Really hated Jimbo, but that was the point I guess….great acting. So is Italy/Heaven?? Always thought so…is that why Luigi was so happy? Don’t think A2A will translate well in USA. way too subtle.
    Fridays go back to? the future?

    • Caboodle

      Gosh, as an American who obviously generally needs a sledgehammer to the skull (and a crowbar to the brain afterwards) I wonder how I managed to understand and appreciate this artfully crafted show? Maybe I’m actually in a coma…

  20. Lauz

    Thanks Ian for your fab blogging on A2A/LOM!

    ‘My real name is Nigel Perkins…’

    Loved it, loved it all. Even though they’re all dead. (!!!)

  21. Zealot


    My reading is that both Sam and Alex were caught between life and death when they were both in a coma… hence their consciousness of their predicament. When they subsequently died in our world (Alex in episode 1 of this most recent series and Sam when he jumped off the building at the end of LoM) they could no longer get back to their previous reality. In effect, Sam could have stayed in 2005 but when he committed suicide he could not return.

  22. stinky

    feeling a bit empty today. a2a has been unmissable, but the ending left me feeling a bit cheated. still gonna miss the series, must be a way of carrying it on,maybe the last series could be someones dream? then they could write a whole new scenario

  23. Donna

    Yet again, another brilliant blog, Ian. Thank you so much for all of your Mars/Ashes blogs over the years. I will thoroughly miss reading them.

    I’ve watched the Ashes finale twice so far and I think there’s one word which sums it up. ‘Perfect.’

  24. panic my cat

    Did anyone notice in the last closing of Gene’s door his younger self image now had a healed face .. was that meaning his soul was now mended ?
    Plus I now get why Tracey’s song was a clue on the BBC website on Thursday

  25. DD

    I thought it was a great ending to a wonderful series.

    Am I right in thinking that Alex was the only person who could remember her past because she was in initially in a coma and only died later when (at 9.06) she returned to the modern day hospital?


  26. Salandaz

    How/when did the Railway Arms go from just being a pub in LOM to a gateway to heaven in Ashes, into which the characters could enter but not leave ??

    How did Gene construct ‘worlds’ in the 70’s/80’s when he died in 1953 ?

    Finally, how would Thordy even know about Sam and why would he bother to claim to be him ?

    Thanks for indulging me 🙂

  27. Lynn Wakeham

    I am surprised no-one has mentioned the final comments in the episode made by “new arrival” played by Geoffrey Streatfield….”what the hell is this? where is my office? one of you jokers give me back my iPhone…now……& more” Surely that opens the path for a new series ~ which David Bowie song will they name it after. Even though we know the back story now, I am sure there are plenty more twists & turns that could enthrall us with a new series

    • panic my cat

      I think the new man entering was the angry man last seen being pushed out dead on the trolley in the hospital. The series ended leaving more just as it should … Laughing Gnome was the next series title named by the writers as a joke to the bbc execs.

  28. Phil

    Once again, Ashley Pharoah and Matthew Graham have written a masterpiece. First Life On Mars then Ashes to Ashes, nobody saw that kind of ending coming but it all was self explanatory….if you go with the title….Or was it?
    All in all, the ending was a real tear-jerker as i expected Alex Drake to get back to her Molly, but it was never going to happen was it. What i am confused about though is the fact that in episode 1, Series 3 we find Alex back in the present being given counselling, then we see her shopping in Piccadilly Circus in London before falling back into her hospital bed of 1983, now was that present real or was it some kind of lucid dream she was having before she died at 9:06 in hospital? Could somebody help me out here?
    I did figure that the ghost of the policeman was Gene Hunt and that Chris, Ray and Shaz…..and Alex where being held in some kind of purgatory state with Gene Hunt as a guardian angel a week or two ago but it did take a lot of imagination to drive me to that conclusion.
    As for it being the very last of Gene Hunt……never say never is what i always say. Maybe he will pop up again in the future, probably catapulting him into a 90’s nether world helping lost souls on there way to heaven…..Here’s hoping.
    Finally i would just like to say thanks to all the actors and writers and people who had anything to do with this ingenious piece of TV, not in a million years can LoM and A2A ever be repeated……Thanks!

    • Nathan

      Don’t really know any answers to what you are asking, only that i think when Alex was shot she was put in a coma in the nether world so everything looked real….She actually thought she was back in the present….?

  29. I don’t usually watch television. I am very impatient, don’t like to sit still, hyper-critical – just the worst sort of personality to sit for even half an hour.
    I read something about “Life on Mars” before the 1st episode and knew that my Wonderful Husband would like it. I made sure we were in, said, “There’s something on TV that I will watch with you”.
    Well! I’ve watched every single episode of all 3 series and last night, after it ended, I said to Wonderful Husband “I think we have to buy the boxed set.”

  30. Mari

    Mr Glenister’s acting at the point where his character’s grave was uncovered was phenomenal. He looked sick at heart – just like a man who had seen his own death.

    A wonderful, wonderful actor.

  31. Jodie

    I finished watching this at 2:30am EST and can I say I was able to follow all the way through.

    It was hands down brilliant of an ending. Lots of us figured out some of the ending which was fun.

    What I liked the most is that it did leave some questions but answered the majors. I like how Keats was never fully explained as to either a “gatekeeper/grim reaper” or possibly Satan himself. I see why Gene stays and doesn’t want to move on and he is a protector/watch over those who are in the in between to give those another chance of sorts. I see it for sure as a ‘coppers in between’. In the end fantastic and I see that Mathew and Ashely did not compromise with a weak ending but a strong one. The team went out with one last catching the bad guys, they fully understand who they are/remember, Gene and Keats continue to play the game.

    I will say I was very sad for the Quattro!

    Brilliant show and a Brilliant ending!

  32. Jodie

    Oh, Daniel Mays fantastic for the casting choice of Keats. For someone to step up into a role that is a key player in the overall world that is created. My hat is off to Daniel Mays for a fantastic job.

    • panic my cat

      out of all the cast he was the most best actor …. deserves an award

      • I wouldn’t say he was the best – they were all fantastic, but in different ways
        what Daniel Mays did was so creepy…
        when and how he put his hand on ‘Alex’s’ shoulder [in his ‘office’?], it was like he was a snake [allegory of satan], trying to entice her away, slimily, from Gene…[parallel of what can happen for people of faith, and faith and trust in Gene was the test for the 4 of them]
        it made my skin crawl, and gave me a healthy hatred for ‘Keats.’

  33. panic my cat

    the one thing i don’t understand is why mollies mole swapped sides. Oh yes her mum was in a coma one side and then she was dead when it was the other side … Agree ?

  34. panic my cat

    I can’t stop singing in my head “they don’t know about us” i.e. we are dead … by tracey the bbc clue video … just go to bbci and view the ashes to ashes song : )

  35. Ashes to Ashes

    I feel like I’m fallen deep into a sink hole.
    That I’ve crashed into a portal and went up in flames.
    Sooner or later, I shall carry myself up from all the wreckage, which re my failing ashes.
    Starting over is what second chances are all about.
    So I’ll–be giving myself the confidence I believe will be requisite in the end.

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  37. toasted sandwich

    Thankyou, Ian for your constant blogging of the whole Ashes series. As I don’t live in the UK, I often felt I was missing out on cruical details, but your insightful blogging made the show accessible for overseas fans. (I’m looking forward to more of it- still so many questions)!
    I thought the last epsiode was beautiful- I would love to watch it again; except I can’t because it is honestly too traumatic for me! (In time I will…)
    It honestly was perfect- as perfect as this wierd, warped, funny, sad, crazy, touching show can be. I know it sounds silly but really ‘Ashes to Ashes’ sums it all up for me. In the end people leave and new people come again; it’s full circle. Like the i-Phone guy at the end. So maybe the Gene Genie isn’t ever really truly alone…? A heartfelt message for us all. Well done to all involved. xx

  38. Tegan

    I thought the overall effect was very powerful – it had a powerful effect on me, for hours after as well – although when we got to the farmhouse bit I just got completely confused and mindwarped…going ‘what the F***!!” for the next half an hour. I haven’t been on forums so I wasn’t up with the theories on Gene’s world being purgatory and everybody being dead. Really, if that had been the case I would have expected to see reality being a lot more fluid and 4-D-like for everyone, not just Alex’s experience of it.
    So I was shocked by that outcome.
    I felt the whole bit outside the Railway Arms was too rushed as far as Alex went…and that Gene didn’t have more to say about everything…and didn’t try to stop Jim misleading Alex about being able to take her back to Molly…that was all a bit wierd and unreal.
    However, the final bit where Alex ‘moves on’ by going into the Railway Arms and dissapearing I found very moving and and allegory of something much bigger and true – that we are all living in a dream that we are one day supposed to ‘wake up’ from and return to oneness – a heaven-like state. That really affected me and brought me back in touch with something…however, I was unsettled that Gene had been left behind. Is it really going to be his job forever to be guardian angel of purgatory for coppers? Everyone has to move on eventually…so yeah, if they could do it well, a Xmas special where he finally gets to go into the light would be satisfying to me.
    Thanks cast & crew & writers, you were all brilliant. Will miss you.

    • …so yeah, if they could do it well, a Xmas special where he finally gets to go into the light would be satisfying to me.

      fantastic idea
      it would fit…and be worthy of a 2 hour special..

      yes, it’s a niggling feeling in my SOUL now 🙂
      -and would like there to be finished business
      lol – Gene said to Alex, we have ‘unfinished business’
      I felt they were partly there to rescue each other..
      [maybe Alex could get a ‘special dispensation’ – as in that old film ‘Carousel,’ and visit Gene to complete his transition]

  39. Sandra

    My poor husband! As I sat and watched the scenes unfold from the farm and started to understand it all,he sat and just kept saying,’I can’t bloody understand this ‘so who is he??'(Gene),

    Poor Gene-an angel of sorts all along,not good for his rep!!!

    AGH,the final scene- I want another series!!

  40. Tineke

    Watching it for the 1st I was numb, watching it for the 2nd time I was sad, watching it for the 3rd time the tears came, watching it for the 4th time it all became very beautiful. I will watch it again for certain and every other episode as well, because Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars are the best series I’ve ever seen. Thank you Matthew, Ashley, Philip, Keeley, Dean, Marshall, Montserrat & Danny for making is so beautiful. And thank you Ian for your wonderful blogs.

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  42. Claire M


    Nearly threw up when I realised who Gene was, it was just what I’d been dreading (the cat came in to see what was wrong) I kept saying “I bloody knew it” but as far as I’m concerned, I didn’t actually see/hear him being shot, he didn’t have any scars on his face & he was still there at the end, so he’s fine. It’s better than thinking about him the other way.

    I was crying so hard when they were all watching their videos & when Shaz screamed “I’m not even alive” I could hardly see the tv. I thought ‘Luther’ was bad (as in distressing to watch) but I think that was worse.
    Couldn’t stand Keats, think he was trying to get the rest of CID to remember what had really happened to them

    I’d read about some of the ending beforehand so I knew what was going to happen. I’ve yet to see whether it’ll affect me like LoM did, but I had a pretty good idea how it would end, so I don’t think it will.

  43. janner

    This will become a cult program

  44. sillygenie

    Came to your blog late in the day – never said how much I appreciated until today. Really loved your music clues and the list of things to look out for. Whetting the appetite with your enthusiasm without giving the game away. Brilliant.

    Found the ending distressing but wonderful. Simple in explanation, guessable but certainly not obvious. Light on in the room analogy realised. Felt very numb after, and whenever I think about Gene moving on I get teary. Can’t work out his age – he says he was shot at 19 – Matthew Graham says he’s 22 – Alex was with him for three years – is that it? Would love to ask him if he imagined Gene going into the Railway Arms actually remembering everyone (Alex, Sam, Ray etc) in there before he goes.

  45. CookieMonster


    Great blog. I have a question I think is from the sub-text.

    Can anyone explain why Keats take his glasses off, just before Alex decides he isn’t from D&C, then he is never seen with them on again?

    Is this some bible reference to the unmasking of the devil?

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  48. LeeG

    “Leave it!”

    Seriously, don’t do a one off episode, don’t water the concept down now that we know who Gene is and the path he has chosen to follow. He’ll stay forever in his own little world, it’s where he’s most happy, where he’s in control, – so he doesn’t need to go into the pub does he?
    The “i-phone” guy who comes in at the end, it doesn’t have to mean another series, it just means a new recruit for Gene to take under his wing. Did you not notice also that the office was full again? The characters in A2A already replaced by a new team.
    One thing I would like to see, the full length version of the last episode in the DVD boxset. Why oh why they couldn’t make allowances in the schedule to air a feature length special is beyond me.
    Well done to everyone involved in making this series – the writers, actors, and crew, especially the amazing props people!

  49. Claire M


    The outcome for Gene was *just* the one I’d been dreading, even though I’d

    [1] guessed what he was already
    [2] read tons of spoilers.

    I think it was either because it was too obvious (or more likely too upsetting to show it) but I think it was good that it wasn’t actually shown or spelt out to you. I might be in denial but *he was still there at the end!!* I feellike a huge weight’s gone off my shoulders — now I can carry on thinking of him in the same way, which I *really* couldn’t do if I *had* seen he was the injured cop.

    This was more distressing than ‘Luther’ because although I luv that too, I’m not as involved with that as I’ve been with A2A. With every other tv show I’ve seen in the weeks A2A has been on, it hasn’t mattered how good it is/how involved I’ve been – it’s felt like it’s been marking time until I can see Gene, which is pathetic, but it’s true.

    I know it’s only a tv show, but it’s been a damn good one !!

  50. Pingback: Dust to Dust. « Random thoughts of an idiot

  51. Hi Ian,

    I think The Field and The Farmhouse will continue to haunt me for a long time. . . The awfulness of Gene re-discovering who he was and what had happened to him. I was with a group of friends with an Ipod over the weekend looking for a particular quote watching the episode back and we happened upon the farmhouse scene by accident and shrieked in horror and almost threw the Ipod away. I think that’s going to be one to watch with a stiff drink for a while yet. Brilliant beautiful acting from Phil, and from everyone in that ep. I absolutely loved the last few minutes and how it was all tied up with the Iphone Man, as he will always be known, and dear old Dixon of dock Green.

    Thank you so much for all your work on Mars and Ashes, you have been as much a part of the LOM/A2A experience as those making it, and you are also “one of us”, watching with the same excitement and emotions.


  52. James Anderson Merritt

    Still missing my Friday night “appointment tv.”

    One question won’t go away: If the real Gene died in 1953, how could “archangel Gene” have held young Alex’s hand after her parents were killed? Can he travel into our waking reality on occasion? Was Alex merely inserting Gene into her own memories (or was Gene inserting himself)? This was one of the strongest clues that Gene was not merely the figment of the imaginations of comatose or dying cops, but someone/something who had an independent, objective existence. That existence could include being able to visit living/waking reality briefly, from time to time, and I suppose we must believe such a thing, if we are also to accept Alex’s “realization” as accurate. But was it, really? I haven’t seen any relevant comments or theories on this, so I’m just curious to see what people think.

  53. great ending, i had to watch it a few times, and am sure i understand it, sure there are plot holes but that makes it better as there is something to talk about. I think when the characters in the show who are dead forget their past life, including gene who also knows his role in that world which is to decide when people are ready to pass on, but alex and sam are not dead they are in a coma but in a bad way, so they remember everything, the year they go back to is relevant to them, sam was 1973 the year his dad left after he saw him kill anne which he blocked out his mind, and to solve crimes that tie up any loose ends that effected his life.after 7 years gene decided it was time sam and anne were ready to move on. Alex goes back to 1981 as that is the year her parents die. and to solve crimes which again tie up any loose ends that effected her life. keats is a demon that wants gene to fail and to take people down to hell either by killing them or taking them down there himself. Alex figures this out and as she knows the truth it is time for her to move on. a great ending, great acting and a great show.

  54. Dr. Frank Lippenheimer

    Loved it. Very sad to see them go, tho.

    Could we say it was all a dream and dive back in?

    Cheers, everyone!

  55. vixxx

    I LV ASHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  56. Pingback: Fanstuff!

  57. Can I just say, from an American point of view, that final episode was the biggest payoff I’ve ever gotten from any television series, ever. At no point was anything spelled out for me, but every question I had was answered (even though I had to think about it to find some of those answers). Seriously, this series ending should be held up as an example in film school to teach people how to make a satisfying ending that doesn’t insult the viewer’s intelligence.

  58. Patricia D'Amiral-Manners

    Wonder,wonderful, wonderful, acting suburb by all. It affected me deeply at the end, but I wish Alex had lived and got home to her daughter.

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