No sooner has Life On Mars finished so splendidly (what did you think of last night's finale?), then Ashes To Ashes is announced. Seemingly minus John Simm and Sam Tyler, it's set in 1981 and will run across eight 60-minute episodes. Here's the press release. If I had more time, I would chop it up and present it more like a newspiece. But do I have more time? No. Nevertheless, my initial impression is that repeating the 'contemporary rozzer travels back through time' concept seems a little unnecessary. I'd happily watch a straight cop show starring Gene Hunt... But I have every confidence in Matthew Graham and co to do this well...
After a gripping finale to the critically acclaimed and multi award winning Life on Mars, Kudos, Monastic Productions and the BBC are delighted to announce the next chapter: Ashes to Ashes.
DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) is back but he’s no longer the self styled ‘Sheriff of Manchester’. Flanked by his faithful sidekicks, Ray Carling (Dean Andrews) and Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster), and drawn by the action and intrigue of the London Met, Gene’s turned his attentions to taking on the ‘southern nancy’ criminal scum. However, Gene did not expect to be thrown together with a sexy, intelligent, DCI Alex Drake.
Single mother to daughter Molly, Alex has rapidly risen through the ranks of the Met, and in the modern world of 2008, skilfully uses psychological profiling to capture suspects. When Alex and her daughter are kidnapped, she makes a daring attempt at escape, resulting in a horrific accident. Alex suddenly finds herself in 1981 interacting with familiar characters, not just from her own life-time, but also from the detailed reports logged by none other than Sam Tyler, which Alex has previously spent months pouring over.
Alex is ripped from her current world of sexual equality and respect in 2008, and finds herself opposite an arrogant fellow DCI, in a two tone, ‘New Romantic’ 80’s London with a soundtrack of Adam Ant, Roxy Music and The Human League ringing in her ears.
Alex finds some of Gene’s team has dispersed yet others, loyal as ever, are still in tow. Now a technological whiz kid in the squad’s surveillance team, DC Chris Skelton has clearly moved with the times, along with a tight-permed DS Ray Carling who’s keen to experience London’s nightlife.
Frustrated by each other’s stubbornness, the friction between Alex and Gene heats up. However, as the two titans collide, it becomes apparent there is more than just a professional tension emerging.
With the producers’ search to cast the strong willed, DCI Alex Drake currently underway, filming is due to begin in London this summer, for transmission on BBC ONE next year.
Jane Featherstone, executive producer for Kudos commented; “Ashes to Ashes is the next chapter in the life of Gene Hunt, as seen through the eyes of a modern, no nonsense woman. It’s a touch of Moonlighting teamed with a measure of Miami Vice! The search for Gene’s sexy side-kick is definitely on; she’ll hopefully give him a serious run for his money!”
BBC Wales Head of Drama, Julie Gardner continues; “Sam Tyler took us on an amazing journey with Life on Mars but his story always had a definite life span. However, fans will be excited to learn that Gene Hunt lives on through Ashes to Ashes and we’re certain they will love his eighties escapades.”
Ashes to Ashes is written and created by Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharaoh, two creators of the award winning Life on Mars. With additional writing credits for Mark Greig (Life on Mars), Mick Ford (William and Mary) and Julie Rutterford (Life on Mars). It is produced by Kudos, in association with Monastic Productions, the new production company of Graham and Pharaoh.
Graham also executive produces for Monastic Productions, alongside Jane Featherstone and Simon Crawford Collins for Kudos and BBC Wales Head of Drama, Julie Gardner, who has also commissioned the series. Ashes to Ashes is produced by Beth Willis.