Thursday, February 07, 2008
RETRO! Ashes to Ashes, BBC One, 9.00pm
It may not be 1973, it may not be nearly dinner time, and Gene Hunt may not be 'avin' 'oops, but otherwise things are all looking decidedly familiar for DI Alex Drake, who wakes up in the past - in a brothel, no less - after being shot while escaping from a wrong'un who kidnapped her and her daughter. Yes, this is the eagerly-anticipated sequel to Life on Mars, which we know is going to be better than the original because this one is named after a Bowie song that was later sampled by Samantha Mumba, whereas 'Life On Mars' was not. It's as simple as that.
In truth, we worried a bit about the concept behind this, since when it was first announced it sounded like a bit of a half-arsed attempt to carry on the series without John Simm, and with a bit of gender reversal thrown in. However, now that we know more about it, we're genuinely excited, for reasons such as the fact that Alex Drake is being played by Keeley Hawes, and the fact that the writers have chucked in some Scream-esque genre-savviness by having Alex be fully aware of what happened to Sam Tyler (apparently she was his psychologist, no less), and even trying to use what she can recall from his notes to get home within the first episode, only to discover that things are going to work differently for her. Such self-awareness bodes well for the series, we feel.
And of course there are many other things that we're excited about: the return of the inimitable Gene Hunt, now living in 1981 and having transferred to the Met; Ray Carling having a perm; the car of the piece being an Audi Quattro; Keeley Hawes's fabulous hair; the probable New Romantic soundtrack; the creepy test-card girl being replaced by George and Zippy from Rainbow; and the slight-but-not-impossible prospect of this lowculture correspondent being born in the background if they happen to be in the Truro area at the end of March. With this much potential, how can it fail to be brilliant? (Let's hope there aren't lots of people in the comment box at 10pm telling us precisely how.)