“I’M really glad we are shining a light on it.

“It’s such a rich and different life we’ve not seen in costume drama before.”

Jessica Raine talking about Jericho, a new eight-part series which begins on ITV at 9pm this Thursday (Jan 7).

Set in Yorkshire during the 1870s, it tells the story of a navvy town community gathered to build a huge railway viaduct.

Former Call The Midwife star Jessica plays Annie Quaintain, evicted from her home after the death of her schoolmaster husband.

Together with her two children – Martha, played by ex-Corrie actress Amy James-Kelly, and George (Sam Bottomley) – she heads for an uncertain future in the remote settlement of Jericho.


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.


“THOSE two should either get a room or kill each other.”

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.

Alex and Gene in a photo from earlier in this final series

HERE are the BBC photos released ahead of the final episode of Ashes To Ashes.

Not including the image above, which is from earlier in the series.

The pics don’t give away any major clues to the “bigger picture” revealed in episode eight – to be broadcast on BBC1 a week on Friday.

But if you’re avoiding spoilers of any kind ahead of eps 7 & 8, please do NOT click to open this blog or scroll down any further if you’re arrived straight on to the full page.

My blog on the last ever episode of Ashes will be published next week.

Farewell

“HAVE you ever had the feeling that things are falling apart and the world as you know it is about to end?

“And nothing will ever be the same?”

Ashes To Ashes final series episode seven.

A two-part finale, with episode eight carrying the story on from where we leave it at the end of this hour.

Written by Ashes co-creator Ashley Pharoah, the penultimate visit to Fenchurch East is an absolute cracker.

Jim Keats goes inside

“DON’T you want to know the secret?”

“I’ll tell you…”

There’s a riot in Fenchurch Prison in Ashes To Ashes final series episode six.

Written by James Payne, this is a dark, brooding and increasingly disturbing hour as we tumble towards the final two episodes.

Including a tantalising glimpse of a scene from episode eight and more clues about what it all may mean.

Keeley Hawes as Alex Drake

IT’S one of my abiding memories of Ashes To Ashes.

The sound of Keeley Hawes’ laughter in the corridor leading to the set in a former London biscuit factory.

I interviewed Ms Hawes for ITV’s The Blonde Bombshell way back in 1999.

The first of several encounters including, of course, her time as Zoe Reynolds in Spooks.