Life on Mars Wiki
Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes
Series 3: Episode 5 (Ashes to Ashes)
Air Date 30 April 2010
Written by Tom Butterworth and Chris Hurford
Director Jamie Payne
Additional Information
Antagonists DI Geoffrey Bevan
DCI Derek Litton
Jim Keats
Episode guide
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Series 3: Episode 4
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Series 3: Episode 6

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The fifth episode of the final season of Ashes to Ashes was broadcast on 30 April, 2010.


Alex Drake sees a montage of Sam Tyler in scenes sporting his leather jacket with the voice of Gene Hunt describing it like a fashion advertisement. She wakes up next to Gene in his car with him yelling at her to remain awake and not ruin the stakeout.

Gene is forced to face some demons from his past when two of his former colleagues from Manchester, DCI Litton and DI Bevan, turn up on his patch looking for stand-up comic Frank Hardwick, who has stolen some money from the Police Widows and Orphans Fund. Hunt smells a rat and leads an investigation, only to discover that Hardwick is a frightened man who is in possession of some seriously dangerous information. Meanwhile, Alex uses the arrival of Gene's former colleagues to delve deeper into the mystery surrounding the death and disappearance of Sam Tyler.

Cultural references[]

  • DCI Derek Litton mentions he has the Queen's Medal, referring to The Queen's Police Medal (QPM) which is awarded to police officers in the UK for gallantry or distinguished service.
  • Frank Hardwick mentions Anita Harris (born 3 June 1946), who is a UK actress and singer, a tall, slim brunette lady with a beauty spot on her upper lip, best remembered for her appearence in UK comedy films Carry On ... Follow That Camel and Carry On Doctor and for co hosting the David Nixon Show on ITV in the 70s. David Nixon was a magician known for using camera tricks during comic sequences on TV.
  • Ravi Shanker is mentioned. Ravi Shanker was an Indian singer and musician famed for his playing of the Sitar, best remembered for his influence on Beatles guitarist George Harrison in the 60s.
  • Gloria refers to toyboys, a term first coined in the 80s for young male lovers of older women.
  • Gene says "Thank you Litton and Large," another reference to UK comedy duo Little and Large.
  • Viv mentions new police guidelines regarding taped interviews. In fact, audiotaping of all suspect interviews was introduced in the wake of the Police And Criminal Evidence Act 1984, the year after this episode is set, and became standard practice across England and Wales by 1992.
  • Gene says to Litton, "Morning Diego," a subtle reference to Argentine footballer Diego Maradona who became well known in the UK during the 1982 world cup, known later for the infamous "Hand of God" incident.
  • Gene says to Alex, "Look at us two, Sapphire and Steel," referring to the ATV sci-fi fantasy series Sapphire and Steel (1979–1980) starring Joanna Lumley as Sapphire and David Macallum as Steel, which was about two mysterious beings who investigated forces disturbing the web of time.Created by writer P.J. Hammond and directed and produced by Shaun O'Riordan.
  • Ray says after seeing the stars, "Like we were bloody astronauts", which is sly dig at the ending of the final episode of US version of Life on Mars, which was very much disliked by UK series co-creator and lead writer Matthew Graham. Later Chris comments about Ray, "He was hallucinating earlier, thought he was Captain Kirk," referencing the famous US TV sci-fi series Star Trek (1966–1969) starring William Shatner as Captain Kirk. Also, Spizz Energy released the single "Where's Captain Kirk?" in 1983.
  • Gene says "Oi! Olivier Newton Skelton," referencing Olivia Newton John, the Australian singer and actress who had a string of hit records in the UK from 1974–1976 including the UK entry for the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974, "Long Live Love", which came 4th with "Waterloo" by Abba claiming first place. In 1978, she appeared opposite John Travolta in the musical US film Grease. In 1981, she released the album, single, and video, "Physical" dressed similarly to Chris in his body-popping gear.
  • Gene says to Frank Hardwick, "So get a move on Tarby," referring to Jimmy Tarbuck, the buck-toothed Liverpudlian comedian best remembered for his appearances as host of Sunday Night at the Palladium and as game show host of Winner Takes All.




  • Theme from Shaft - Issac Hayes
  • Town Called Malice - The Jam
  • Love Cats - The Cure
  • Sharp Dressed Man - ZZ-Top
  • Burning Down the House - Talking Heads
  • The Sun Goes Down - Level 42
  • To Cut a Long Story Short - Spandau Ballet
  • Karma Chameleon - Culture Club
  • Rockit - Herbie Hancock
  • I.O.U. - Freeez
  • Mama - Genesis
  • Only You - Yazoo
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)