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The first episode of the second series of the British science fiction police procedural drama series Ashes to Ashes was broadcast by BBC One on 20th April, 2009.


In the months following her parents' death, DI Alex Drake has become entrenched in 1982 - but when noises from the future suggest that she's been found there, Alex is given fresh hope that she's alive. It's business as usual for DCI Gene Hunt, who is (initially) keen to get to the bottom of the death of a copper in Soho. As they edge towards the truth, Alex encounters a man whose chilling words turn her worldview on its head.

Opening title narration[]

"My name is Alex Drake, I've been shot and that bullet's taken me back in time. Now I'm lost in 1982 and all I can do is fight, search and stay alive, because somehow I will find a way home."

Cultural references[]

  • Alex watches a BBC News report from 5th April, 1982 of the aircraft carriers Hermes and Invincible leaving Portsmouth harbour with other ships for the Falklands (co-incidentally the Falkland Islands governor was named Hunt). This was the beginning of the UK involvement in taking back the Falkland Islands from Argentinian armed forces.
  • During the scene at the mortuary, Ray remarks about Grace Jones attacking Russell Harty on TV. The incident occurred on an edition of the Russell Harty Show broadcast on 18th November, 1980.
  • Alex sees Molly on TV in an episode of Grange Hill with headmistress Mrs McClusky. Grange Hill (1978–2008) was a BBC kids show about life in a comprehensive school in London. Gwyneth Powell played Mrs McClusky from 1981–1991. Molly also mentions Miss Moonie, a science teacher who appeared on the show from 1980–1983.
  • When Ray uses the photocopier he says, "maximum magnification" to which Chris adds, "Just like Harrison Ford". Chris is referring to the science fiction film Blade Runner, released in 1982. There is a scene where Ford's character uses advanced technology (at the time) to greatly magnify a photograph.
  • Gene mentions the song "Behind Closed Doors" by Charlie Rich, a song released in 1973.
  • Ray says, "It's like a wet dream in Radio Rentals in 'is gaff." Radio Rentals was a UK electronics chain that rented and sold televisions and VCRs in the 70s and 80s, comparable to the US chain Radio Shack.
  • Gene refers to Alex's captor as "Nurse Ratched". Nurse Mildred Ratched is the formidable psychiatric nurse from Ken Kesey's 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, as well as the 1975 film starring Jack Nicholson with Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched.
  • Gene has a run-in with Princess Margaret (21 August 1930–9 Feb 2002), who was the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II. She was the seventh in line for the UK throne, not the sixth as both Gene and Mac claim in this episode.
  • Gene says "Columbo would have solved it in an hour", referencing the character Lt. Columbo, played by Peter Falk in the NBC Mystery Movie series (1971–1978), though Columbo lasted longer than an hour, being an irregular series of tele-films rather than a regular series in an hour time-slot. (Co-incidentally there is an episode of Columbo titled "Ashes To Ashes", first broadcast 8 October 1998.)
  • Gene's line to Mrs Irvine, "Get your knickers on, you're nicked", is a paraphrase of a Jack Regan (John Thaw) line from an episode of The Sweeney (Thames TV/Euston Films 1975–78): "Get your trousers on, you're nicked."
  • Gene says, "dressed up like Hilda Ogden", when referring to how PC Irvine was found at the strip club, referencing the character Hilda Ogden played by Jean Alexander in Granada TV's soap opera Coronation Street. An interfering busy-body and nosey parker, she appeared from 1964–1987. She was rarely without her trademark curlers and pinny, though Hilda never appeared in her underwear.
  • Luigi mentions to Alex that he likes Rod Hull and Emu. Rod and his Emu arm-puppet became well known in the UK via the BBC TV children's comedy series Emu's Broadcasting Company (1975–1980), and after Emu attacked BBC chatshow host Michael Parkinson in 1976. In the eighties, Rod and Emu moved to ITV with The Pink Windmill Show.
  • Felicity Kendall is mentioned by Gene. Felicity Kendall is best known for playing Barbara Good in the BBC sitcom The Good Life (1975–1978), and was something of an 'acceptable sex symbol'. In 1981 and 1982 she appeared in the Carla Lane sitcom Solo on BBC 2. In recent years she played one half of ITV's unconventional crime solving duo Rosemary and Thyme.
  • Kenneth Newman was the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Force from 1982–1987.


  • DCI Gene Hunt -- Philip Glenister
  • DI Alex Drake -- Keeley Hawes
  • DS Ray Carling -- Dean Andrews
  • DC Chris Skelton -- Marshall Lancaster
  • WPC Shaz Granger -- Montserrat Lombard
  • Detective Superintendent Charlie Mackintosh -- Roger Allam (first appearance)
  • Sgt Viv James -- Geff Francis
  • Molly Drake -- Grace Vance
  • Luigi -- Joseph Long
  • Martin Summers (voice)-- Adrian Dunbar
  • PC Kevin Hales -- Shaun Evans
  • Ruth Irvine -- Pooky Quesnel
  • Sally -- Anne Nightingale
  • Julia -- Diane Langton
  • Pathologist -- Michael Gould
  • Nurse -- Deirdre Mullins
  • Nurse -- Laura Martin-Simpson
  • PC -- Syrus Lowe
  • Woman -- Janet Whiteside
  • Mrs McClusky -- Gwyneth Powell
  • DCI Garrett -- Michael McCain


  • The Lunatics (Have Taken over the Asylum) - The Fun Boy Three Released in 1981.
  • Theme to Grange Hill (a.k.a. Chicken Man) - Alan Hawkshaw
  • Non T'amo Piu - Paolo Tosti
  • Rio - Duran Duran Released in 1982.
  • Love Plus One - Haircut 100 Released in 1982.
  • Look of Love - ABC Released in 1982.
  • Stand and Deliver - Adam and the Ants Released in 1981.
  • La Wally - Alfredo Catalani
  • Centerfold - The J. Gelis Band Released in 1981
  • The Model - Kraftwerk
  • Rat Race - The Specials Released in 1980.
  • You Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate Released in 1975.
  • Mirror Man - The Human League Released in 1982.
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)