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The eighth episode of the second series of the British science fiction police procedural drama series Ashes to Ashes was broadcast by BBC One on 8th June 2009.


When an informant is tortured and killed, Gene is convinced that a major blag is about to go down and wants CID to fire on all cylinders to stop it. Alex desperately needs Gene's help, but to get it would involve telling him the truth about who she is and where she's from. As Gene is tempted by a beautiful woman, his relationship with Alex is put to its toughest test yet in a heart-stopping showdown.

Cultural references[]

  • Gene appears on Alex's TV in Jackanory reading from the fictional book, Alex and the Horrible, Awful, 'Eadache. While he's on screen, Alex mentions Willie Rushton, the English cartoonist, satirist, actor, comedian, and performer, who co-founded the satire magazine Private Eye. He is best remembered for appearing on BBC satire show That Was The Week That Was in the 60s and the BBC Radio 4 panel Game I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. She also mentions Kenneth Williams, the comedy actor and comedian best remembered for his appearances in BBC radio's Hancock's Half Hour and Round the Horne, and for the Carry On films. Both performers also appeared on Jackanory.
  • Gene, on Jackanory, interrupts Alex's thoughts by saying "Shut up ... Shut up, or I'll come round your houses and stamp on all your toys", referencing his own line from Series 1: Episode 1 of Life on Mars.
  • Chris, reluctant to enter the station after having betrayed the team, says they look at him, "the way they look at Kurt Russell in The Thing". The Thing is a US science fiction film based on the short story "Who Goes There?" by John W Campbell Jr. It was directed by John Carpenter, released on 25 June 1982, and starred Kurt Russell as MacCready. The plot relates to an alien who can assume any form, leading Kurt Russell's character to be regarded with great suspicion.
  • On the tape Gene listens to in his office, Alex states that the date she recorded it is 10th November.
  • Shaz says, "that's one of those things they carry baby elephants in on Animal Magic", referencing the BBC TV show Animal Magic (1964–1988), a kids' show about wild animals featuring educational items, animal footage, and comedy items by host Johnny Morris, who often appeared in filmed items as Keeper Morris at London and Whipsnade Zoo. Johnny also provided anthropomorphised animal voice-overs, giving an insight into the thoughts of the animals at the zoo.
  • Gene mentions Daley Thompson, referring to the former UK athlete who won the decathlon at the Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984 (Thompson would later appear in person in the Sports Relief Ashes to Ashes comedy short).
  • Gene says "What is this? Smiley's People?" Smiley's People was a novel by John Le Carre, the third in a trilogy that began with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The BBC adapted the novel into a six-part TV series in 1982 starring Alec Guinness as George Smiley (broadcast 27 September–25 October 1982).
  • Chris says, "Raiders of the lost blag", referencing the US film Raiders of the Lost Ark starring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones.
  • Alex mentions the Brinks-MAT robbery, which occurred on 26 November 1983. Six robbers broke into the Brinks-MAT warehouse at Heathrow airport, London and stole three tonnes of gold bullion. It was an inside job, with the security guard aiding and abetting the robbers, his brother-in-law being the leader of the gang.
  • King Dong and Rommel are mentioned.
  • "Jam sandwich" was a UK slang term for a police car when such vehicles during the 70s and 80s were painted white with an orange horizontal fluorescent strip down the sides, giving the appearance of jam sandwiched between two slices of bread. It was popularised by TV shows such as The Sweeney, Minder and Only Fools and Horses. (Del says to Rodney after he failed to spot a PC approaching, "You must have been a bit suspicious when a giant jam sandwich pulled up beside you?")
  • A "sweet spot" is a place where a combination of factors results in a maximum response, originally a sporting term for the spot on a cricket or baseball bat that, when hit, gives the maximum propulsion.
  • Confronting villain "Tiny Tim" in his garage, Gene, referring to the oil on his boots, says, "If that isn't chip fat, then I'm Liberace's love child." Wladziu (or Vładziu) Valentino Liberace (1919–1987) was an American pianist and vocalist famous for his flamboyant style both on and off stage. While Liberace never admitted being gay, his perceived effeminacy and the gossip published about him (as well as a palimony suit by a man claiming to have been his lover) were enough for him to be considered homosexual by the public. Gene mentions Liberace in Life on Mars Series 2: Episode 6.
  • When "Tiny Tim" grabs Jennette to use as a hostage, Gene says, "Where are you going to go? Cuba?" This is a reference to the numerous hijackings, especially of American commercial airliners, where the hijacker demanded to go to Cuba, starting from the early 60s up to the early 80s.
  • Talking to Gene, Jenette Riven mentions Fort Apache, the cavalry western directed by John Ford in 1948 and starring John Wayne. It was the first in a loose trilogy of cavalry-themed westerns by Ford and were the first US westerns to give the Indians a sympathetic role.
  • Noting that Jenette likes westerns, Gene asks her who is her favorite, Wayne, Stewart, Cooper, or Eastwood, referring to John Wayne, James Stewart, Gary Cooper, and Clint Eastwood. She says her favourite is Gary Cooper who is also Gene's favourite, Gene sometimes uses the phrase "Super-Duper", taken from the lyrics of "Putting on the Ritz" by Cole Porter. The version used in the 1946 film Blue Skies starring Fred Astaire contains the line, "Tryin hard to look like Gary Cooper—super-duper!"
  • After he has been shot by Gene, Martin Summers says to Alex, "I knew you'd uncover the rooks." This is a reference to the game of chess. In this context, to "uncover" the rooks means to remove the protection of the rooks given by other pieces, so that they may be captured by the opponent. Once uncovered, the rooks can be taken without fear of being captured yourself, which usually leads to checkmate.


  • 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
  • Sgt Viv James -- Geff Francis
  • Molly Drake -- Grace Vance
  • Luigi -- Joseph Long
  • Martin Summers -- Adrian Dunbar
  • Jenette Riven-- Eve Birthistle
  • Tiny Tim Riven -- Aidan Kelly
  • DCI John Carnegie -- David Kennedy
  • Carley -- Ellena Stacey
  • Doctor -- Mark Straker
  • Blagger 1 -- Brett Allen
  • Bent Copper -- Simon Sherlock
  • 'Rock Salmon' Doyle -- Chris Pollard
  • Guard -- Greg Donaldson


  • The Hunter and the Hunted - Simple Minds
  • While My Heart is Still Beating - Roxy Music
  • Club Country - The Associates
  • Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans) - OMD
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)