TV… Ashes to Ashes (2008-10)

#2000s #2010s


A PC PC psychologist goes back in time…


Police psychologist Alex Drake returns to the 1980s and Gene Hunt and some familiar faces.


ASHES TO ASHES – BBC AMERICA Trailer, ashesbbcamerica and photos © BBC


Ashes to Ashes (2008-10) is a fantastic British BBC TV crime time travel series with some sci-fi thrown in. It’s one of the best time travel tales on the telly and that’s including TV’s Doctor Who (2005) TV series when Matt Smith was the Doctor and Karen Gillan was the glamorous assistant.  It’s way more engaging than the more recent TV series Outlander (2014) and has considerably better talent.

Matt Smith as Doctor Who was so much better than I thought he would be. To begin with, I thought Smith would be the equivalent of a TV Hollyoaks (1995-) Doctor – ie young, sexy and fit looking for the new generation – but that was just the assistant. Smith was a crazy, fun Doctor (and we do like a crazy Doctor Who if we were brought up on Tom Baker).

Back to Ashes to Ashes, policewoman Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) is shot in 2008. She wakes up believing she’s returned to 1981. There she meets Manchunian un PC policeman –  and studmuffin – a bit of rough, Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) and his colleagues. Gene Hunt makes The Sweeney’s Regan look like a pussycat. 

She read about this team from reports written by Sam Tyler who met them back in the 1970s (see the prequel, Life on Mars (2006-2007)). So she is shocked by Hunt’s primitive attitudes and work methods compared to her modern-day work leading to tension – romantic and professional – between them. I won’t tell you how things unfold but there is a lot more going on.

Glenister’s character along with his Manchunian Northern accent made him lovable for many a British woman of a certain age. I admit I was one such woman, owning a Gene Hunt calendar for 2 consecutive years – a record for me – as his predecessor was an actor who starred in Mamma Mia (2008) who I won’t name.

This is just so he doesn’t sob into his pillow. My calendar on him in various moody shots had been taken down after 8 months and therefore before the year was up. Gene Hunt lasted until Glenister was seen in Mad Dogs (2011), sadly without the Mancunian accent, I adored. Sorry, but if I do meet you Mr Glenister please speak in a northern accent!

Leonardo DiCaprio replaced him in my affections after he beefed up and around 2008 when I saw him in the previously released Catch Me if you Can (2002). I think he had me in his pilot’s uniform. I remember loving Ashes to Ashes not only for Glenister but for recognising the 1980s references sprinkled throughout the series. Although there were fewer pokes at pop culture than Deadpool (2016), in a more sweet endearing manner compared to Deadpool‘s deadpan more sarcastic delivery.

The Billy Joel Uptown Girl video parody is probably the most remembered with Glenister’s Hunt as the legendary 1980s music star. Hawes inevitably took on Christie Brinkley’s role. Also, the references were more directed at British cultures, such as the vandalism of the Blue Peter (1958-) garden. This was a real-life mystery of my childhood with the real perpetrators of this act apparently still at large.

This reference will make no sense to the rest of the world as this show is a much loved British children’s TV series. But it will bring a smile to us Brits as this mystery from the past is finally resolved albeit in TV land. So now the dilemma is for most women if you go back in time do you go back to the kilted wonder in Jamie (from Outlander) or hunt down Gene.


Weeper Rating😦😦 😦 😦😦 😦 😦😦 /10

Handsqueeze Rating:  :-) :-) :-):-) :-)  :-) /10

Hulk Rating: ‎ ‎mrgreen mrgreen mrgreen ‎/10




14 thoughts on “TV… Ashes to Ashes (2008-10)

  1. Love this series so much. I wish it had lasted longer. Gene and Alex are one of my favourite TV couples. I love Gene Hunt so much. He’s funny and sexy and he has that tough exterior, but really all soft inside thing going on. Great series with a cracking soundtrack.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So, Gill ..

    I just finished watching the very last episode of ashes to ashes, after re-watching the first two seasons and finally seeing the final one.

    Your review was very entertaining, especially your tangents on Doctor Who. I also appreciate that you eliminated the fact that the blue Peter garden incident was based on a real incident in real life. I know of blue Peter through the special features on Doctor Who DVDs

    I am still processing my opinions of ashes to ashes. My gut instinct is saying that I enjoyed life on Mars more then the sequel series. We shall see how I feel in the morning.

    That should say illuminated. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

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