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Series 3: Episode 8
Written by: Matthew Graham
Director: David Drury
Antagonists: Jim Keats
Previous episode: Series 3: Episode 7

The eighth and final episode of the third series of the British science fiction television series Ashes to Ashes was broadcast by BBC One on 21 May 2010. It was the final appearance of DCI Gene Hunt, DC Chris Skelton, WPC Sharon "Shaz" Granger, DI Ray Carling and DI Alex Drake.


Tension mounts in the final episode of Ashes to Ashes with DCI Gene Hunt and his team investigating a diamond heist following the murder of three London gang members. But DI Alex Drake is distracted and, with encouragement from DCI Jim Keats, she decides to pursue her own investigation to the bitter end – did Gene Hunt murder Sam Tyler? When Gene discovers that Alex has gone, he races after her leaving Ray Carling, Chris Skelton and Shaz Granger to plan an ambitious sting operation. As Gene desperately tries to reach Alex before she discovers the truth, Chris, Shaz and Ray's world completely falls apart. It's time for Alex and the rest of the team to find out the truth about Gene Hunt...


A brutal gang murder leads the team to investigate a European-wide jewel smuggling ring. Keats completes his report on the department and tries to turn the team against Hunt and transfer them to his control, revealing his true colours. Drake goes to investigate a house in Lancashire which she believes holds the secret of Sam Tyler's disappearance. She uncovers a body in a field, but, reading the ID card attached to it, discovers that it is a young Gene Hunt (as is the ghost of the murdered young PC haunting her). Meanwhile, Chris, Ray, and Shaz are given videos by Keats, which show them that they too are dead police officers—all their deaths were tragic, premature, and undeserved.

Following the successful foiling of the jewel smuggling attempt, Chris, Ray, and Shaz move on to "eternal happiness", symbolised by Nelson the landlord and his pub "The Railway Arms", which both appear on a London street-corner (despite being located in Manchester in Life on Mars). Alex then comes to realize that she too is now dead. After Gene reconciles her to the fact she will never see her daughter again, Alex enters the pub. Gene Hunt remains in Limbo (the missing word ending in "o", like "macho" which Keats was unable to utter), as Keats—ostensibly now the Devil—taunts him. Keats retreats to the shadows, having failed, but saying they will meet again. The episode ends as Hunt returns to his office to hear a new detective push through the doors asking, "Who are you and where is my iPhone?"—showing that Gene continues to help dead or dying officers from the 21st century. Gene's final line, "A word in your shell-like, pal", is also the first thing he says to Sam Tyler in episode one of Life on Mars.

A post-credits sequence shows a clip from the 1950s police show Dixon of Dock Green, bidding the audience goodnight. The title character George Dixon was shot dead in an earlier film The Blue Lamp, despite the same character subsequently going on to star in the Dock Green TV series.


Cultural references[]

  • Oversized costumes of Alex and Gene appear on It's a Knockout, which was a competItive games programme made by BBC TV from 1966–1987. "Top Town" (BBC radio and TV) mid 50s, "Campenile Sera" (Italy) late-,50s and "Interville" (France) in 1962 were the precursors of the inter-European competition "Jeux Sans Frontiere" (Games Without Frontiers). In 1965, each European country competing had its own weekly version of the show in which three towns from different countries competed against each other in a games format against the clock, the final winning Town- or City-team from the weekly "heats" would go on to represent their country in the annual "Jeux Sans Frontiere", Each country's programme had a different title; the UK's was It's A Knockout. Stuart Hall is its most well known presenter, hosting the show from 1972–1987, much loved for his warm, articulate, and imaginative commentaries, his enthusiasm and energy, and his enormous and unrestrained gales of laughter whenever contestants mucked up the games. Co-incidently, the theme tune of It's A Knockout was "Bean Bag" by Gene's favourite—Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass.
  • Gene says, "Chinamen working on a railway", referencing the Chinese migrant workforce who helped construct the first transcontinental railway in the US in 1869, and who in 1881 helped complete the Canadian Pacific railway. They were renowned for their tireless, disciplined, and energetic work under often difficult and dangerous conditions.
  • Gene mentions Leon Spinks, born 11 July 1953. Spinks is a former US boxer. Overall record of 26 wins, 17 loses and 3 draws as a professional, including 14 knockout wins. In only his eighth professional bout, Spinks won the world heavyweight championship when he beat Muhammad Ali on 15 February 1978. He lost the title to Ali seven months later.
  • Chris mentions "Denim for Men", an aftershave lotion.
  • Ray says, "write in to Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World", which was a 13-part half-hour film series looking at unexplained phenomenon from around the world, such as Bigfoot, flying saucers and crystal skulls, introduced by UK sc-fi author Arthur C. Clarke from his home in Sri-Lanka. It was made by YTV and was first broadcast 2 September–23 November 1980. The series was spoofed by UK comedy team The Goodies in their last TV series made by LWT in 1981.
  • Jim says, "Gene's got a dark side; even Julie Andrews would struggle not to see that." Dame Julie Elizabeth Andrews, DBE (1935–) is an English film and stage actress, singer, author, theatre director and dancer. She was well known for her wholesome screen image in such films as The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins.
  • Shaz passes Alex an OS Map, OS standing for Ordinance Survey. Farringfield Green is a fictional location, the actual name of the area on the map is Wilderswood (a possible allusion to Gene Wilder). The house used for filming is actually located in Rickmansworth near Watford.
  • After Chris reels off a list of the supects' aliases, Gene says, "Bloody 'ell! He could do The Generation Game all on his own." The Generation Game was a BBC game show during the 70s and 80s, in which four teams of two (people from the same family, but different generations, hence the title) compete against each other to win prizes. One of its many catchphrases was, "Let's meet the eight who are going to generate", coined by Bruce Forsythe, the host from 1971–1977. Larry Grayson hosted from 1978–1982. 
  • Refering to the gangsters, Gene says, "Not exactly Antiques Roadshow material, are they? I mean, they're gangsters, they don't go slicing each other up over a Welsh dresser." Antiques Roadshow is a BBC TV series with antique dealers appraising objects from members of the public. It was first broadcast in 1979 (a pilot under a different title was screened in 1978). A Welsh dresser is an item of furniture.
  • Gene says to Alex, "Your knickers headed south so fast they needed their own railcard." Railcards were introduced in the 70s originally to give reduced fares for students travelling by train. By the 80s this had been extended to all 17–25-year-olds.
  • Gene refers to Shaz as "Mrs Alan Whicker". Alan Donald Whicker (1921–2013) was a British journalist and television presenter and broadcaster. His career spanned almost 60 years, during which time he presented the documentary television programme Whicker's World for over 30 years. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2005 for services to broadcasting.
  • Trying to use the term for a person from Holland, instead of "Dutch", Ray calls them "Hollandais". "Hollandais" is actually the French word for "Dutch", but more commonly known to English speakers in the phrase, "Hollandaise sause". It first appeared in a Dutch cook book in 1593, though the French claim it was their invention.
  • Gene says to Jim, "the best porn's on VHS." Jim says he prefers Betamax because of its better recording quality. Of the two competing home video formats, Betamax (or just "Beta") created by Sony and VHS created by JVC, VHS became the dominant system mainly due to its wide availability, but as Jim says, Beta did have a slightly higher recording quality.
  • In Jim's office, Gene sees footage of the BBC TV coverage of Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation that took place on 2 June 1953. The TV coverage was extensive and boosted the sales of television sets in the UK. The whole ceremony was tele-recorded, basically a film recorded off a TV screen, but in practice, technically more complicated. At the time the BBC had no video recording machines and it would be some four years before Ampex in the US invented a viable VTR recording system. Tele-recordings were also sent to the US and Canada, making it an international TV event. The main service took place at Westminster Cathedral and later that same year the conclusion of The Quatermass Experiment TV serial was set there, though this was confined to studio sets and photographic blow ups of the cathedral.
  • According to the calendar in Rachel's (the dead air stewardess) flat, this episode is set in November 1983.
  • Shaz objects to a copy of Razzle magazine in Chris's pigeon-hole. Razzle is a soft-porn magazine published by Paul Raymond, first seen on top shelves in UK newsagents' shops in 1983. Not to be confused with an earlier publication by Ritz publications from 1935–1957 that, although it contained a few topless female photographs, mainly contained saucy cartoons, in the Funny Half-Hour mould.
  • Gene says his mentor P.C.Morrison was doing the "Oakey-Cokey with the locals". This is a song and dance invented in the 40s also known as the Hokey-Pokey in the US.
  • Recounting his ordeal at the farmhouse, Gene says, "so he kicks the door open, you know, like John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart. Bam! In he goes... You see, in here... [TAPS HIS TEMPLE] In here, he's not some snotty kid in a uniform. Oh, no. He's Gary Cooper in High Noon. He's the law." Once again Gene refers to famous US western film actors, and and the film High Noon.
  • Chris says, "We swing in like Tarzan, like lots of Tarzans in cars." Tarzan is a character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1912. The "Lord of the Apes", he swung to the rescue using tree vines or creepers in a series of B&W US films starring Johnny Weismuller in the 1930s and 40s.
  • Ray is watching Trooping the Colour on the tape Jim gives him. Trooping the Colour is a ceremony performed by regiments of the British and commonwealth armies. Since 1748 it has also marked the official birthday of the British sovereign. It is held in London annually on 2 June. On horse, guards parade by St James' Park, as the Queen travels down the Mall from Buckingham Palace in a royal procession with the sovereign escort of the household cavalary (or horse guards). After receiving the royal salute, she inspects the troops. BBC TV cover the event each year. Note: In the original script, available to view at the Monastic Productions website, it states the date of the events on Ray's tape as being September 15th 1977.
  • Chris says to Shaz whilst toting a sawn-off shotgun and wearing a pair of dark glasses, "like Lewis Collins, don't ya think?" Shaz replies, "more like Joan Collins" Lewis Collins played Bodie in the LWT series The Professionals and Joan Collins is a UK actress most famously associated with a series of comical Cinzano TV ads with Leonard Rossiter and for appearing in US soap opera Dynasty.
  • Whilst Chris is watching his tape from Jim, his sergeant is seen blowing a police whistle. These had been phased out completely by 1974/75. Note: in the original script it states the date of the events on Chris's tape as being February 14th 1975.
  • On Shaz's tape from Jim, the Oasis song "Wonderwall" can be heard. This was first released on the album (What's the Story) Morning Glory on 2 October and as a single on 30 October 1995. Note: in the original script it states the date of the events on Shaz's tape as being 19 April 1996.
  • Alex says, "The flight's at twelve—high noon", once again referencing the western film High Noon.
  • Gene, refering to Terry, one of his DCs, says, "They call 'im Mr Magoo behind 'is back", refering to the US cartoon film character created in 1949 in the US by UPA animation. Mr Magoo is a short, elderly, bald man whose chronic short-sightedness gets him into sticky situations.
  • Gene says, "Useless bunch of wooden-tops." "Wooden-tops" is UK detective slang for uniformed PCs.
  • Throughout this episode, clocks and watches show the time as 9.06, except for the clock in the corridor near the lift to Jim's department, which shows the time as 7.50.
  • Gene says "Pronto Tonto" to Shaz. "Tonto" is the Native American companion of "The Lone Ranger", an American Western character created by George W. Trendie and Fran Striker.
  • Chris mentions "Scratchings" and "Ringos". Pork scratchings is a traditional pub snack in the UK akin to the US pork rinds. Golden Wonder Ringos are a crisp snack invented in the 70s in a ring shape. Bacon flavour ones are mentioned in an episode of BBC sitcom Citizen Smith in 1977 by Wolfie's girlfriend Shirley.
  • Chris says he'll spoof Ray to see who buys the first round of drinks at The Railway Arms. "Spoof" is a game of chance often played in pubs to establish who buys a round of drinks. It is basically a guessing game in which the participants place coins in their hands and an estimation of how many coins are collectively held by the group is made, until only two participents are left. Whoever wins/loses the last game buys the drinks.
  • Jim sings "We'll Meet Again". This is a song written in 1939 by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles and sung by forces sweetheart Vera Lynn. It is also the title of a UK musical starring Vera Lynn in 1943. The song is also heard over the end sequence of shots of nuclear bomb explosions in Stanley Kubrick's UK film Dr. Strangelove (1963), and the end titles of the last episode of Dennis Potter's Singing Detective TV series.
  • PC George Dixon, played by Jack Warner, first appeared in the Ealing Studios feature film The Blue Lamp released in 1950. The film was written by ex-policeman T.E.B. Clarke (from a treatment by Jan Read and Ted Willis) and set in Paddington Green, London. The police are shown as the honest guardians of a decent society. Dixon is gunned down by delinquent, skinny, frightened youth Tom Riley (Dirk Bogarde) as he attempts to rob the Coliseum cinema ticket office. Dixon is taken to hospital where he later dies off-screen. Warner had appeared in many feature films prior to The Blue Lamp, including a trio of comedy films starring the fictional Huggett family, and so his character's death before the film's conclusion, at the time, was as unexpected as Janet Leigh's in Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). In 1955, TV writer Ted Willis resurrected George for the BBC TV series Dixon of Dock Green. Willis created a a cosy, non-violent image around PC George Dixon, a policeman of the old school who helped old ladies across roads and gave delinquents a clip round the ear. He was a community copper before the term was invented, transported from the real Paddington Green to the fictional Dock Green. In the 50s, the series had a very simple theme tune, an unaccompanied solo-whistled version of the traditional tune, "Maybe It's Because I'm a Londoner". Each episode would begin with Dixon delivering a monologue to camera, to set up the story, standing outside the police station beneath the station's blue lamp, and ended with another similar monologue to wrap up the story, often with the caption "The End" appearing as he walked back into the station.


Characters Creatures Events Locations
Organisations and titles Vehicles Weapons and technology Miscellanea


Dramatis personae

Other characters



  • Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (Mentioned)


Organisations and titles


Weapons and technology



Gene Hunt is left on his own once again.

  • Gene Hunt revealed what happened to Sam Tyler in 1980.
  • DI Drake investigated the death of the police officer with the severed face who was revealed to be a 19 year old Hunt.
  • Hunt and DCI Keats fought with each other.
  • Jim Keats reveals himself to be the devil.
  • Drake and Hunt finally kiss.



  • Tainted Love - Soft Cell
  • In the Air Tonight - Phil Collins
  • Club Tropicana - Wham!
  • Wonderwall - Oasis
  • Holiday - Madonna
  • Beat It - Michael Jackson
  • Chariots of Fire - Vangelis
  • The Kiss - Edmund Butt
  • Life on Mars? - David Bowie
  • Heroes - David Bowie

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)