Review: Ashes to Ashes 1×5

Did I miss anything?


Well, folks, I did say there was going to be a chance I did episode by episode reviews of Ashes to Ashes and here I am, not doing a review of the fifth episode of Ashes to Ashes. Sorry, I had to go pick my wife up from the station midway through and I haven’t watched the end of it yet.

More to the point, I’ve had every chance to but I haven’t. I haven’t felt motivated. Last night’s seemed quite well written, like the writer (who also wrote last week’s) knew what he was doing. I just didn’t really enjoy it, right up until the moment I turned off the telly.

I’m trying to work out what the problem is with Ashes to Ashes. Why is it just not very interesting?

There are various possibilities that I’ve turned up, so far:

  1. It’s just not fun. Well, it’s not. There’s no fun in it at all. At best, it’s stupid.
  2. There’s no real draw like there was in Life on Mars. Is she dead? Isn’t she? I don’t really care because they’re not dribbling out information quickly enough.
  3. There’s no real interaction with the clown, whereas the little testcard girl was more scary for actually talking to Sam
  4. I can’t really relate to the whole "parents were car-bombed" thing.
  5. I’m just not interested in Alex

I’m not sure whether any of them really are the problem. The last one’s tricky. The more I try to pick apart my Alex dislike, the more I can’t seem to work out why I dislike her. I’ve been trying to work out if I’m a secret sexist discriminating against someone who’s pretty much like Sam Tyler except for a few crucial differences. Is it because 

  1. She’s a woman?
  2. She’s a posh woman?
  3. She’s a posh, arrogant woman?
  4. She’s a posh, arrogant woman who tells everyone that she was better than them?

And yet, she’s not a million miles from DI Rosie Campbell in The Paradise Club, who I was very partial to, despite her being a posh, arrogant woman who told everyone that she was better than them quite a lot of the time. So it’s none of those. 

Maybe it’s the ultimate sin as far as an English person is concerned: taking herself too seriously, something our Rosie didn’t seem to have a problem with. Or maybe it’s an even worse sin: being Keeley Hawes. I just don’t know. It’s starting to feel increasingly irrational, particularly since Alex Drake is seemingly a more interesting character than Sam Tyler. 

Either way, despite the fact the writing’s been picking up, I’m just not feeling motivated to watch next week’s episode. Or to find out how this week’s finished even. Oh well.

PS Couldn’t work out from the first half whether my theory was holding up all right. Can anyone name the TV show it was mocking or am I going to have to toss the theory in the bin with all my other theories, as per usual?


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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