Managed to catch up with the final 3 episodes of the wonderful ‘Ashes to Ashes’ last night, whilst thinking about packing and paperwork before the ‘Big Games Trip’.
This was the final episode of the fifth series featuring modern day Jack Regan come George Carter, the one and only Gene Hunt. It was also billed as the ‘episode that you get to find out who Gene Hunt actually is’, which was interesting given that I never actually wondered as to his real identity, it didn’t seem to matter.
Anyway, given all of the hype, the closing episode was a fitting send off. This (the third) series of Ashes to Ashes had got back to the quality levels of the original two series of Life on Mars. Much like Minder in the 80’s, what had started out as a drama, had ended up a little comedic and much the worse for it. This third series of Ashes had got back to drama.
We saw the arrival of sinister copper Jim who was bent on antagonising Gene. Obviously he was going to play a key role. What was not clear however, was that whilst we all wondered what Alex’s fate would be, we did not realise that Shaza, Ray and Chris would all be wrapped up so tightly at the end.
So, cutting to the chase, all the characters are dead coppers trying to get into Heaven. Gene, also dead, is Angel Gabriel, the setting is Purgatory (aptly given some of the plot lines) and Alex has no chance of getting back to the future and her little girl. But the sting is that Jim is the Devil, trying to lure the team to the depths of despond. Gene saves the day, by leading the crestfallen and tempted team from Satan’s grasp into the kingdom of The Railway, the boozer from Life on Mars, namely Heaven. Shaza, Ray, Chris and finally Alex all pass safely into the pub and are ‘delivered’ safely so to speak. Gene sees off Jim and returns to East Fenchurch Police station to start all over again, with a noughties iPhone loving Old Bill who comes into the Nick.
Lovingly, the series signs off with the closing sequence of Dixon of Dock Green, and Jack Warner, reminding me of Saturday night TV as a kid. David Bowie’s Heroes sends everyone off into the spiritual sunset. Much like the final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, there is a wonderful degree of poingnacy and love.
Which brings me round nicely to the end of this World Cup, when it comes. Hopefully (and we can always live in hope), the end for England will be happy and on the 11th of July, however, as is more likely, much like the great British/English heroes that went before them, Edmund, Percy, Melchett, Baldrick, George, Gene, Ray, Shaza, Chris and Sam all exit with tears and sadness.
Until the sequel that is. And there is always a sequel, a reunion, one more chance of glory and greatness.