Hard on the heels of the forthcoming series of Doctor Who, we also have the final series of Ashes To Ashes to look forward to. According to the BBC Press Office this still isn't placed in the schedule but looks as if it'll be starting it's run of eight episodes the week commencing March 29th. There's a lot of quite spoilery information on the BBC Press Office site for the first two episodes which I'm not going to repeat here.
However, the intro to the Press Pack is a good place to start:
"1983: The Brinks Matt robbery. The A-Team. Michael Jackson's Beat It. And the year of the Hunt.
It's time to get your shoulder pads out of storage, start crimping your hair and get into the Eighties mood (honestly, who writes this stuff? - my comment) for the very last time because the award-winning BBC One drama, Ashes To Ashes, is back for Spring 2010.
The highly-anticipated finale sees Philip Glenister and Keeley Hawes reprise their roles as that most un-PC of policeman, DCI Gene Hunt, and his sassy partner DI Alex Drake, along with Dean Andrews as DI Ray Carling, Marshall Lancaster as DC Chris Skelton and Montserrat Lombard as WPC Sharon 'Shaz' Granger.
As well as the much-loved regular faces, Daniel Mays (The Street, Plus One) joins the series as Discipline and Complaints officer, Jim Keats, adding an unsettling twist to the team dynamic.
The smash hit drama (eight x 60-minutes), made by Kudos Film and Television in association with Monastic Productions, finally unravels many of the mysteries from the previous two series of Ashes To Ashes, as well as those first experienced by the initial time-travelling copper, Sam Tyler, in the groundbreaking BBC One series Life On Mars some five years ago.
Will Alex finally discover why she's been sent back to the Eighties? Does anything tie Alex and Sam Tyler together? And who exactly is Gene Hunt…?"
There's also a terrific foreword from Ashley Pharoah one of the writers and creators of both Ashes To Ashes and Life On Mars. Here, he explains how Gene Hunt's journey began and hints at what lies in store for our favourite characters...
"In this third and final series of Ashes to Ashes we open briefly but disturbingly in Alex Drake's 'present', before she finds herself back in London, this time in 1983. The world has moved on from the bright New Romantic colours of the earlier series into a slightly more sombre palette, both literally and emotionally. This is reflected in some of the story-of-the-week areas we chose to explore: a fireman with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the Falklands conflict; the ANC in exile in London; a vicious prison riot that ends in the death of one of our team. It's a darker, more bruised palette, a more dangerous place that reminded us of watching Life On Mars. Almost as if Ashes To Ashes was remembering where it came from, those dark Manchester streets of the 1970s.
Alex Drake shares this interest in Life On Mars. She decides her only way of escaping this world and getting back to her present – and her daughter Molly – is to find out what happened to Sam Tyler. He is the only person she knows who has undergone similar experiences to herself. She starts looking into Sam's disappearance and alleged death but comes up against a very stubborn obstacle – DCI Gene Hunt. It becomes obvious that Gene does not want her to discover the truth about Sam. But why? One shocking answer is provided by a new arrival in Fenchurch East, Discipline and Complaints Officer Jim Keats.
By the end of this series we will finally know the truth about Gene Hunt, where he came from and what he knows. Our other regulars – Chris, Ray, Shaz – will also find out some shattering truths about themselves. As, indeed, will Alex Drake.
We didn't always know the details of how this show would end but we always knew our broad destination. Not many writers get to wrap up their own creations in series television – they're normally just cancelled during the hiatus! – so Matthew and I have been both grateful and excited to pull all the ends together. Not that we will dot every i and cross every t – one of the pleasures of both series is that they retain some ambiguity and can be open to different interpretations. We wouldn't want to spoil anybody's fun! But what isn't ambiguous is that this is the end of the road for Gene and Alex and the others. The last lines have been uttered. The sets are down. The Audi safe in its garage."
A preview clip is also up on The Guardian along with a great interview with Philip Glenister.
I can't bloody wait! As ever, join me for the weekly reviews of the final eight episodes.
(Images courtesy BBC)