Life on Mars Wiki
Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes
Series 3: Episode 4 (Ashes to Ashes)
Air Date 23 April 2010
Written by Jack Lothian
Director Jamie Payne
Additional Information
Antagonists Terry Stafford
Daniel Stafford
DCI Wilson
Episode guide
Previous Story
Series 3: Episode 3
Following Story
Series 3: Episode 5

User reviews

The fourth episode of Ashes to Ashes was broadcast on 23rd April 2010.


Gene discovers that an undercover operation to catch several drug dealers is taking place on his patch without his knowledge. Determined to take control Hunt blows the cover of an undercover opperative who turns up at CID and is eventually placed under his protection, yet it seems someone on the inside is twisting things to help the drug dealers stay out on the streets. Meanwhile, the deceased police officer continues to haunt Alex. Could he actually be her key to getting home?

Cultural references[]

  • The "Men at Work" sign, seen in the street where we first see undercover officer Louise, is a subtle reference to the Australian band Men At Work who in January 1983 had a No.1 UK and US hit single, "Down Under".
  • Gene says, "I'm in a conspiracy with Linda Lovelace and Shergar." Shergar (born 1978) was a bay colt with a distinctive white blaze, an Irish racehorse who won the 1981 Epsom Derby. On the 8th February 1983 he was stolen from The Balleymony Stud farm near the Curragh in County Kildare, Ireland by armed gunmen. The horse was never found and is believed to have been killed.
  • Gene says, "bounced higher than Dolly Parton's fun-bags." Dolly Parton (born 19 January 1946) is an American country and western singer well known in the 70s and 80s for her curvaceous figure. Her first hit single in the UK came in 1976 when her song "Jolene" reached no.7 in the UK charts. In 1980 she appeared in the US film Nine To Five.
  • DCI Wilson's injury from an armed robbery at the National Westminster Bank in 1979 is a reference to a real incident of robbery at the National Westminster Bank in Kensington High Street in London in 1972, in which PC Slimon, although shot and injured, shot dead one of the robbers and wounded another. From the mid 70s, The National Westminster Bank was rebranded as NatWest.
  • Gene says about Shorty, "don't want to see 'is bathroom. Mr Muscle would have a heart attack," referencing "Mr Muscle", a brand of hard-surface spray cleaner manufactured by S.C. Johnson and Son, first produced in 1986.
  • Gene says to Alex, "Thank you, Quincy," once again referencing the 80s US TV series Quincy M.E. starring Jack Klugman as the pathologist/detective.
  • Ray says to Chris, "Go easy on that Hai-Karate, mate," refering to the aftershave lotion Hai-Karate, first sold in the US in the 1960s. In the UK it is best remembered for the 70s TV ads featuring tall brunette actress Valerie Leone. Previous ads had featured various blonde actresses. The scent of Hai Karate is an important clue to solving the murder in Series 1: Episode 5 of Life on Mars.
  • Blue Peter is the world's longest-running children's television show, having first aired in 1958. The show uses a studio for the main format of the presenting; there is also a garden, often referred to as 'The Blue Peter Garden', that is used during the summer months or used when they are showing any outside activities. As depicted in this episode, the Blue Peter Garden was actually vandalised over the weekend of 19/20 November 1983. The clip from Blue Peter, featuring then-host Janet Ellis, seen in this episode was originally broadcast on BBC1 at 5.10pm on Monday 21 November 1983. The Blue Peter Garden was designed by Percy Thrower in 1974 and had been vandalised once before in 1978. Blue Peter was broadcast twice weekly on Mondays and Thursdays in the 80s.




  • Reward - The Teardrop Explodes
  • Golden Brown - The Stranglers
  • No More Heroes - The Stranglers
  • Ain't That a Kick in the Head - Dean Martin
  • My Way - Frank Sinatra
  • Watching the Detectives - Elvis Costello and the Attractions
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)