Life on Mars Wiki
A2A Episode 6.jpg
Over the Hill
Written by: Mick Ford
Director: Catherine Morshead
Antagonists: Chas Cale
Joan Cale
Previous episode: The Smoking Gun
Next episode: Charity Begins At Home

The sixth episode of the first series of the British time travel police procedural television series, Ashes to Ashes, was first broadcast on 13 March 2008. The episode, known erroneously as "Over the Hill", was produced by Kudos Film & Television for BBC One.


An armed robbery leads Gene to Chas Cale, a criminal he tried to bring down in Manchester. But when Chas reveals his alibi, Gene begins to wonder if he is past his prime as a DCI. Alex sends Ray and Chris undercover at the local pub in order to solve the crime.

Cultural references[]

  • Throughout this episode young Alex is seen playing with a Rubik's Cube. It was invented by Erno Rubik in Hungary in 1974, and was first marketed as a toy in the west by the Ideal Toy Company in 1980. The 7-step solution referred to by Caroline Price was developed by Denny Dedmore in 1997.
  • Gene says, "some people get Pick of the Pops. Not me, I get pick of the twats". Pick of the Pops was a BBC Radio 2 music show which began in 1955 and ended in 1972. D.J. Alan Freeman revived the format from 1982–1988 on Capital Radio, the local independent London radio station. In 1989 it l returned as a regular fixture on BBC national radio.
  • Gene says to Alex, "What's wrong with you this morning, haven't got the decorators in again?" refering to the UK expression, "having the painters and decorators in", meaning a woman's menstrual period.
  • Ray mentions "Jump Jockeys". This refers to horse racing. There are two forms of racing—flat racing, which has no hurdles, and Jump racing, with hurdles/hedges which are known as jumps.
  • Mr Catterjee's statue of Krishna is stolen by the robbers. Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism who has been portrayed as a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, and the Supreme Being, and is often described as a young boy playing a flute. Since 1966, the Krishna-bhakt movement has also spread to the west due to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness popularly known as the Hare Krishna movement.
  • Chris is seen reading Smash Hits, (1978–2006) a popular music magazine published fortnightly which is principally remembered for publishing lyrics from current music releases in the eighties.
  • Gene refers to Chris and Ray as Tonto and Kemosabe. Tonto was the faithful Indian companion of fictional western hero The Lone Ranger, a staple on American radio and television for many years. Tonto called his friend "Kemosabe".
  • Alex tells Gene that Chris and Ray are on a "pub crawl." A pub crawl is traditionally the act of one or more people drinking a pint in multiple pubs in a single night, normally walking to each one between drinks.
  • Ray says Chaz Cale's restaurant the Allacasa Steakhouse is "like a Berni Inn—classy". Bernie Inn was a chain of UK restaraunts in the eighties which had been founded by brothers Frank and Aldo Berni in 1955. The chain disappeared in the late 1990s when taken over by the Whitebread group.
  • Gene says about Alex, "she's laying an egg", a term meaning to fail to come across well, especially in front of an audience, such as a stage comedian whose material falls flat.
  • Gene says to Chaz Cale, "I feel an equaliser coming on." An equaliser is a footballl term to describe a goal that levels the score.
  • Chris and Ray are seen playing the Space Invaders machine at the pub. Space Invaders first appeared in 1978.
  • Gene refers to Alex as "Lift and Separate" referencing the Playtex bra adverts.
  • Talking about Alex, Gene says, "She can take a swan dive from the window as far as I'm concerned." A swan dive is a forward dive performed with the legs straight together, the back arched, and both arms stretched out from the sides and then brought together over the head as the diver enters the water.
  • Gene says to Alex, "you've got the lurgy you 'ave." "Lurgy" is a UK slang term for an unknown illness. It is thought to have been popularised by the BBC radio series, The Goon Show in the episode, "The Dreaded Lurgy", broadcast 9 November 1954.
  • Alex says, "you're a Bonapartist", referencing the French General Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • Billy Dane is arrested because of his Robert De Niro impersonation, quoting the famous, "you looking at me?" sequence from Martin Scorsese's film Taxi-Driver, released in February 1976.
  • Chris says, when going through Chaz Cale's rubbish bags, "Great!" Alex responds, "what have you got?" to which he replies, "my niece collects milk-bottle tops for Blue Peter and…" as he holds one in his fingers. Blue Peter, the BBC's long-running kids show, has an annual appeal to help worthwhile projects in the UK and the third world. In years past, these have included providing rescue lifeboats, guide dogs for the blind, ponies for disabled children, as well as relief funds in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Uganda. Up until the late eighties, viewers have been requested to send in aluminium milk-bottle tops, aluminium foil, used stamps, old coins, buttons, badges, belt buckles, postcards, old keys, scrap metal, T-shirts, wool, aluminium cans, old jewelry, and waste paper. They now encourage donations from bring-and-buy sales. The first Blue Peter appeal took place in 1962 when viewers were asked to donate unwanted toys for needy children at Christmas, a tradition carried on to this day.
  • Gene advises Alex to rub on some Vicks, refering to "Vicks VapoRub", a medication for congestion of the chest.
  • Gene says to Chaz Cale, "this time I'm gonna put you down so fast you'll think you're a bloody horse on All Creatures Great and Small", referencing the BBC TV series which began in 1978 about the life of vet James Herriot in the Yorkshire Dales in the late 1930s.
  • Hill Street Blues is mentioned, a US TV cop show produced by Steve Bochco, first screened in January 1981 on NBC in America and in the UK. Although it was not networked, the various ITV regions ran it at various days and times of transmission. It was later screened in the UK on Channel 4, which began in 1982.
  • Gene says to Alex, "get your laughing gear round this," which is a northern expression usually coined when proferring a meal or a drink as in "get your laughing gear round this and shut up." The "laughing gear" is the mouth and teeth.
  • Chris picks up a copy of Horse and Hound, a magazine aimed at the upper crust.
  • Gene says, "bloody 'ell fire!" This is a northern term of surprise or awe.
  • Alex mentions passive smoking, birthing partners, and childhood obesity.
  • Pepsi is mentioned.



  • Tainted Love - Soft Cell
  • Into the Valley - The Skids
  • Vienna - Ultravox
  • Kids in America - Kim Wilde
  • Same Old Scene - Roxy Music
  • I Feel Love - Donna Summer
  • Golden Brown - The Stranglers
  • Ghosts - Japan

Episodes of Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes
Life on Mars:
Series 1 (2006): Episode 1   Episode 2   Episode 3   Episode 4   Episode 5   Episode 6   Episode 7   Episode 8
Series 2 (2007): Episode 1   Episode 2   Episode 3   Episode 4   Episode 5   Episode 6   Episode 7   Episode 8  
Ashes to Ashes:
Series 1 (2008): Episode 1   Episode 2   Episode 3   Episode 4   Episode 5   Episode 6   Episode 7   Episode 8  
Series 2 (2009): Episode 1   Episode 2   Episode 3   Episode 4   Episode 5   Episode 6   Episode 7   Episode 8  
Series 3 (2010): Episode 1   Episode 2   Episode 3   Episode 4   Episode 5   Episode 6   Episode 7   Episode 8  
Mini Episodes:
Fire Up the Quattro (2008)   Ashes to Ashes does Sport Relief (2010)