Review: Ashes to Ashes 1×6

Back from the dead

Some pleasing symmetry in my Ashes to Ashes viewing this week. As with last week’s episode (which I still haven’t watched all the way through), I only watched half of last night’s. The difference is that I only caught the second half rather than the first half, since we were doing something vitally important at 9pm (watching Terminator 2 on DVD). Will have to use the iPlayer to catch up at some point.

As a little experiment to determine what annoys me most about DI Drake, I tried putting my thumb between me and the TV to block her out. Turns out though, it’s her voice and everything she says that set my teeth on edge. Not sure if there’s a journal I can write that up in or not – maybe the Journal for Marginally Insane Bloggers.

All the same, it was a little bit redundant as an experiment because she wasn’t that bad last night and I thought the episode was better than previous efforts.

Firstly, for a strong, professional woman, in her dream/coma world, she doesn’t half end up needing to be rescued and carried to safety by Gene Hunt a lot. Does she have some kind of rescue complex where she needs some strong, working class type to look after her and protect her? How dismal.

Incidentally, my advice to dream Gene, as someone who’s carried a surprisingly large number of women in his time, is that while the fireman’s lift lacks elegance, it is more efficient and less liable to do your back in; it’s definitely something that he should be considering at his time of life/death, particularly given the number of times it looks like he’s going to be called on to do it – at least if he weren’t the figure of someone’s imagination.

While I can’t comment on the first half, this was clearly a Gene Hunt episode and seemed all the better for it. We’re also now starting to get the threat of death for Alex coming through clearly and far more creepily than it has before, which can only be a good thing. I can’t help wondering why, when Alex is at the point of death, her subconscious is spending an inordinate amount of time making Ray, Chris and Shazza rummage for comedy doodles in the Gene Genie’s rubbish bins, but clearly it feels it needs to spend its few meagre energy resources on that rather than keeping Alex alive. Maybe she needs to feel wanted and needed (in cartoon form) to want to stay alive and that’s the best her subconscious could come up with. I’m also not sure why she needs to constantly be proving herself wrong – some kind of self-esteem issue or just to create scenarios for her rescue complex?

All the same, for some reason, I found her less grating and almost endearing at times – maybe I’m starting to build up an immunity to her or the character has developed in more or less the way I suspected she was going to and we were supposed to dislike her from the outset and slowly to warm to her as she learns a little humility. There were some good Gene Genie moments that didn’t look like they’d been crafted expressly for novelty Christmas merchandising purposes. Ray and Chris were pretty much comedy dunces rather than real people, but there’s nothing new there. And Phil Davis is, of course, fantastic in everything.

The godfather thing is still icky.

Two episodes (?) to go then. Maybe they’re on the home stretch.


  • 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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