Ashes to Ashes

Season 1 Episode 1

Episode 1

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Feb 07, 2008 on BBC
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Episode Summary

DI Alex Drake is taken hostage and shot, and wakes up in a brothel... in 1981. Rescued in a police raid, she quickly recognises DCI Gene Hunt and his team from detailed reports made by DCI Sam Tyler about his own trip to 1973.

Gene is determined to address London's growing drugs problem, and has targeted city playboy Edward Markham as the brains behind the operation. Alex suspects Arthur Layton, the man who kidnapped her in 2008. Could Layton be the key to her return to her own time?moreless

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Adam James

Adam James

Edward Markham

Guest Star

Sean Harris

Sean Harris

Arthur Layton

Guest Star

Darren Machin

Darren Machin


Guest Star

Amelia Bullmore

Amelia Bullmore

Caroline Price

Recurring Role

Joseph Long

Joseph Long


Recurring Role

Stephen Campbell Moore

Stephen Campbell Moore

Evan White

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Shaddap You Face: Chris Skelton (and others) sing "Shaddap You Face", a novelty hit by Joe Dolce that parodies Italian English, and which reached number 1 in the UK charts on 17 February 1981, 5 months before Alex Drake arrived in 1981.

    • The episode begins with Molly Drake reading out Sam Tyler's speech from the opening credits of Life on Mars.

    • Anachronism: As revealed in the next episode, Alex travels back to Monday, 20 July 1981. In the early part of this episode, the scene that establishes the timeline clearly shows a row of posters for the single "Prince Charming" by Adam and the Ants. This was not released until September 1981, with the album being released the following month.

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Markham: Firstly, Mr Hunt, you have absolutely no evidence. Secondly, and according to this senior female officer, mirabile dictu, you were deliberately looking for a— what was it?… yeah. Fatality outcome. Blowing my head off. Ipso facto, my case rests.
      Ray: That's crap. And some of it was in Klingon.

    • Gene [ referring to his computer ]: Don't pretend you know how to fly that thing.
      Alex: There's nothing on this hard drive but the time and date!
      Gene: Pong. We've got Pong.

    • Alex: It's July 1981. It's the year my mum and dad died.
      Gene: What of, confusion?

    • Gene [ to Alex ]: Blimey. If that skirt was hitched any higher, I could see what you had for breakfast.

    • Alex: If you choose a path of destruction driven by illogical pride and delusional self-importance, you'll enjoy a mere fleeting sense of power before being… being shot and killed.
      Ray: Is it me or are toms getting smarter?

    • Gene: Spot of lunch?
      Ray: Lunch.
      Alex: Lunch? It's going on six.
      Ray: Lunchtime!

    • Chris: Dystopia. I had that once. Couldn't eat solids for a week.

    • Alex: You know I've invented this world.
      Gene: I invented something once — the bruise free groin slap.

    • Alex [ to Layton ]: You are under arrest. For drug trafficking, abduction, and for shooting me in the head!

    • Chris: So which team's which?
      Gene: Uniform, you're C Team. DI Drake, you lead the B Team… I'm the A Team.
      Alex: God have mercy…

    • Alex: I can feel the wind.
      Gene: Strewth. She's gonna break into song.

    • Alex: Oh, I could kiss you!
      Gene: Don't hold back.

    • Alex: Heh! What's so special about you [ air quotes ] "Gene"? Why is it every time a good copper goes under you show up?
      Gene: It's my after-shave, and stop wiggling your bloody fingers every time you say my name!

    • Gene: Today my friend, your diary entry will read, took a prossie hostage, and was shot by 3 armed bastards.

    • Alex [ to Gene ]: Just look at me! Look at me! I am trained to get inside the criminal mind. And now I'm stuck in my own — with you!

    • Alex: You're taller than I imagined.
      Gene: I'm bigger in every department.

    • Alex: My name is Alex Drake, I've just been shot and that bullet has sent me back to 1981. I may be one second away from life, or one second away from death. They say that as you die, your life flashes before you, all those memories and mistakes that form us. Well bring it on. My life can flash away as much as it wants because I am not going to die. I'm coming back to you, Molly.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Music featured in this episode:
      Vienna - Ultravox
      Careless Memories - Duran Duran
      Are 'Friends' Electric? - Tubeway Army
      Ashes to Ashes - David Bowie
      I'm In Love With A German Film Star - The Passions
      I Fought The Law - The Clash
      No More Heroes - The Stranglers
      Same Old Scene - Roxy Music


    • Ray: And some of it was in Klingon.
      Ray is referring to a language spoken by a race of beings in the
      Star Trek universe, first heard on-screen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

    • Alex: I'd like to get out of red before Chris de Burgh writes a song about me.
      Alex is talking about Chris de Burgh's song, Lady in Red, released in 1986, five years after this episode is set.

    • Pierrot clown: The Pierrot clown that appears throughout this series is also seen on the cover and promotional video for David Bowie's 1980 single "Ashes To Ashes".

    • For Your Eyes Only: The scene where Alex Drake first meets Gene Hunt has a shot framing Hunt between Alex's legs. This is a reference to the promotional poster for the 1981 James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only. The poster is seen later on the wall of Hunt's office.