Philip Glenister Interview

After the jump, there’s a sweet video from the BBC where Philip Glenister is interviewed on a morning show. There’s the usual “why do people love Gene Hunt so much?” question and answer, but also some speculation about the third and final season of Ashes to Ashes.

(Posted after the jump because the BBC’s video player is larger than the layout of this site and cannot easily be resized)

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Ashes to Ashes: Season 2, Episode 8

Wow! Just… wow! The season 2 finale of Ashes to Ashes aired last night… and boy, it was a doozy! Too bad we have to wait until 2010 to see how the series ends, eh? That just can’t come soon enough!

For clarity’s sake, I’ve decided to use the names “Martin Summers” (or just “Summers”) when referring to “older” Martin Summers and “PC Summers” when referring to the younger version of himself.

This episode begins with Alex watching an episode of Jackanory. In it, Gene is reading from a book called Alex and the Honorable Awful Headache. The book is a sarcastic, Gene Hunt influenced biography of Alex. This is interspersed with scenes of Gene beating up a criminal named Doyle. He’s trying to get information about an upcoming crime… but either Doyle knows nothing, or he’s willing to take a hell of a beating to keep a secret. Towards the end of the Jackanory episode, Alex hears the voice of a doctor named Samuel Jarrod. Jarrod says that he is Alex’s surgeon, and that while they have successfully removed the bullet and stopped the bleeding in Alex’s brain, a serious infection has set in. He further says that he’s going to give her a powerful antibiotic, and that 50ml is the most she will be able to take. Any more than that and… “it’s over”.

The opening credits roll, and we next see Alex asleep on the sofa. She’s not alone though – Martin Summers sits in a chair watching Alex. He’s flipping a cassette tape in his hand, the sound of which eventually wakes Alex. Summers accuses Alex of feeling guilty for covering up the death of PC Summers. Alex looks at Summers and decides that Summers is the infection she’s trying to beat, and she’s got until she’s been given 50ml to do so. Summers laughs at her thinking he is “the rot”. He wonders if she’s strong enough for that, as she hasn’t done a good job so far (as he says this, he pulls out the gun he used to kill PC Summers). He then looks at the cassette in his hand and says that he understands Alex, and understands why she makes the tapes – “the private agonies of someone trying to figure out the meaning of life”. He then says that he and Alex are in adjoining rooms at the 2008 hospital. He says that he’s heard the nurses talking about them, and that she’s only said one word the whole time she’s been there… and that word is “Gene”. Alex is taken aback at first, but then says that it’s not surprising, given how often Gene comes up in her (1982) life. Summers then accuses Alex of lying even to Gene, in this case specifically about the death of PC Summers. He then says that the clock is ticking; as he says this, the sound of an EKG machine can be heard, and the words “10ml” appear on Alex’s TV screen. Summers wishes her good luck, then leaves.

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Ashes to Ashes: Bolly

I was looking at my site logs yesterday, and I noticed that a few people have recently come here via search engines, wanting to know why Gene Hunt calls Alex Drake “Balls” or “Bowls” in the show Ashes to Ashes.

Actually, it’s “Bols”, and it’s short for “Bollinger Knickers”.

When Alex first arrived in the 1981 universe, she repeatedly told her co-workers about her multiple college degrees and the time she spent training with the FBI in Quantico, Virginia. Remember that she’s a well-educated hostage negotiator and psychological profiler for the Metropolitan Police in her 2008 life. She also used a variety of now commonplace criminal profiling terms, none of which were known to the police in 1981.

This was all very high-brow stuff for her fellow blue collar officers in 1981, so Gene started calling her “Bollinger Knickers” (“Bollinger” is a brand of champagne and “knickers” are women’s underwear in British slang). So it’s a sarcastic way of calling her “fancy pants”.

Over time, Gene has shortened it to “Bolly” or just “Bols”.

Ashes to Ashes: Season 2, Episode 7

This episode begins with Alex having a a vision of Molly telling her that the doctor got the bullet out of her head… which morphs into  Chris asking Alex if she wants a biscuit. It seems that the gang is at a building site, on a stakeout for a drug deal. Alex has dozed off. As word comes over the radio that the deal is going down, Gene sends Ray off with one group and Chris off with another. He further orders Alex to remain in the van and “man the radio,  or woman it… whatever you prefer”. A car approaches, and several men get out with briefcases full of drugs and money. Gene orders the bust to go down, and the gang springs into action. A fight ensues, and Gene is taken captive by a man that holds a knife to his throat. Alex sneaks up behind them and smacks the man with a board, which causes him to fall. “Say hello to Mummy Bear”, she quips. The dealer lands on a pile of freshly laid concrete… with a human hand sticking out of it:


The opening credits roll, and we next see Ray using a jackhammer on the concrete, trying to get the body out. Gene walks up and asks Ray what he’s doing, that they “want a body on a mortuary slab, not a plate of dog food”. He orders Ray to use a chisel instead. Ray whines that it’ll take ages; Chris whines that he hasn’t had his turn with the jackhammer yet. Gene and Alex then go to speak to Michael Lafferty, the manager of the building site. Lafferty says that the concrete was laid down “last thing” the previous day, and that the site isn’t very secure, despite all the “keep out” signs. Lafferty then goes on to complain that the police investigation has stopped all his work, and that’s costing him money.

“Forgive me if our little investigation costs Sir Henrington Arse-Twat a year’s subscription to his private members’ club!” – Gene, to Michael Lafferty

The body has been chipped out of the concrete, and now lies at the morgue. Alex and Gene walk in, and the Guv demands to know what the victim’s tattoo says:


The medical examiner says that he focuses more on anatomy than tattoos. Ray and Chris walk in, and Ray says that the victim had no wallet and no ID, and that nothing came up when they ran his prints. Gene tells them to chalk it up to an “accidental death” and call it a day. He then tells Alex to go home and “put something skimpy on” and meet them a Luigi’s, because the gang is celebrating Viv’s birthday. As the gang starts to walk out of the room, the ME says that the man’s death was not an accident. He points out several bruises on the man’s face, as well as a curious pattern of bruises on his ankle, which suggests that the man had a chain wrapped around his ankles. Gene says “Murder… bugger”, then decides to put off any investigation until tomorrow.

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Ashes Recap Delayed

Hey everyone! I just wanted to mention that my recap of this week’s episode of Ashes to Ashes will be delayed for a week for reasons I’d just as soon not get in to at the moment (everything’s fine, it’s just a long story).

I’ll try to have it posted by next Monday.

Thanks for understanding!

– Jim

Ashes to Ashes: Season 2, Episode 6

Sorry for the delay in posting this – I had computer troubles on Tuesday!

This episode kicks off with Alex and Gene chasing a suspect through a “fun run”. As Gene accelerates to catch the bad guy, Alex slows down. Suddenly the street is empty, and she can hear Molly’s voice asking for her. She has a vision of herself being led through the street (towards surgery) on a gurney. She becomes very woozy and starts to sit in the street, but she’s suddenly jarred back to reality as people in costumes jog by her. Gene calls her over to attend to the suspect he has nabbed… only the suspect attempts to get away by jumping over a wall that was a little taller than he had perhaps thought. As the two carry “Heroin Harry” off to jail, Alex looks around at the beautiful little section of London that they’re in:

Alex: “You know, you forget sometimes, how beautiful London can be… the architecture, the canals….”
Gene: “… dead body floating along…”
Alex: “You really have no poetry in your soul at all do you?”
Gene: “No. That dead body, there… look.”

At the morgue, the medical examiner reveals that the body had little water in the lungs, indicating that the man died before hitting the water, probably from blunt trauma to the head. The ME also points out some bizarre scars on the man’s arm, which Ray immediately blames on Satanists. Later on, Chris finds a missing persons report for one Colin Mitchell. Gene looks at the report, then sends Chris and Ray to talk to the man’s wife, while he and Alex go and talk to the man’s father. Gene reminds them that this is a murder investigation, and to keep any information leaked to the wife to as minimum. Before heading out, Shaz asks Chris for a wedding date. Chris evades her.

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Ashes to Ashes: Season 2, episode 5

I don’t know what to think about this episode of Ashes to Ashes. On the one hand, the “crime of the week” was pretty mundane; on the other, the people the crime happened to were interesting… plus, we finally meet Creepy Doctor! Read on, folks!

This week’s episode kicks off with Alex sleeping on her sofa, with the TV blasting static in the background. The TV suddenly switches to a children’s show, and Orville the Duck (see “Other Stuff” section, below) says that he’s worried about Alex because he thinks she’s going to die. Keith tells Orville told that Alex isn’t going to die because she’s at the hospital, and when she arrived there were two bouquets of flowers waiting for her.  The screen suddenly goes back to static, and Alex hits the TV, trying to get the show back.

We next see an amusing throwaway scene: Gene and the gang are in the Quattro, chasing a panel truck with French markings. The driver of the truck finally pulls over, and the gang gets out. Gene tells Chris to go and hassle the driver. While Chris has the man looking for paperwork, Ray and Gene open the trunk of the Quattro and pull a man out. The man’s hands are tied and there’s tape over his mouth. Gene and Ray take him to the back of the truck, where they open the back door and toss him in. “Now go and be a pain in the derriere to the gendarmerie!”, Gene says.

Back in the car, Alex lectures the rest of the gang on what amounts to an illegal kidnapping, then proceeds to lecture Chris about smoking. Ray, who has been reading the newspaper, complains about the “anti-police” headlines that have been all over the place lately. Gene says that he wishes the reporters would find someone else to pick on. Chris thinks it should be mimes. Ray says that a kid spit in his face that morning because he was a cop. Viv then comes over the radio, taking about a burglary at 2 Stanley Road. Gene tells Viv to give it to some uniformed cops, but Alex suddenly becomes quite animated and demands that they go investigate. Gene asks why they should go, and Alex says that “it’s Pete’s dad!” When Gene asks who Pete is, Alex says he is Molly’s father, and that they’ve got to get to the Drakes. Gene wonders if they “have the misfortune” to be related to Alex. Alex says that “it’s going to be weird”, to which Gene quips “that’ll make a nice change”.

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Ashes to Ashes: Season 2 Episode 4

Wow! Wow! Just… wow! After last week’s snoozer, Ashes to Ashes came roaring back with one of the best episodes ever! Let’s stop playing around and get right to it!

The episode begins at Liugi’s, where Gene has told the gang about his pending transfer to Plymouth. Everyone’s heartbroken, and it’s made worse by a much larger table full of guys from “Division A” who are taunting Gene and the gang by singing “Combine Harvester” with exaggerated West Country accents. Ray, defending the group’s honor, tosses a roll at the next table. Chris joins in. An all-out food fight starts, which quickly escalates into a real brawl, despite Luigi’s pleas to take it outside.

Before the fight breaks out, Alex excuses herself and leaves, and just as the fight starts, the gang turns around and finds that Gene has disappeared… leading the others to wonder what, exactly, the two are up to. Is it an affair?

Actually, no: Alex and Gene are busy planting a bug in Supermac’s office. As Gene stands on Mac’s desk to plant the bug, Alex wonders aloud where all of Mac’s purloined money is going. She mentions a gold bullion heist where some of the evidence “disappeared”, yet Mac still lives in the same house, drives the same car, and still takes the same crappy vacations. Alex wonders if it’s time to bring Ray and Chris in on it, but Gene says no. The two then go to Gene’s office to work on a flip chart of all of Mac’s connections.

The next morning, Ray, Chris, Shaz and Viv find Alex and Gene asleep in his office. Although the two are fully clothed and sleeping on separate chairs, everyone looks at them as if the two were sleeping together. Ray blasts Gene for leaving them at Luigi’s… and just as he finishes, intrepid reporter Jackie Queen walks in (see the “Other Stuff” section, below). She agrees that Gene has always ran away from his obligations… and opens her coat to reveal that she is very pregnant:


Gene says that he can’t possibly be the father, as there is no way that he would ever sleep with Jackie. Jackie says that they most certainly did sleep together, although Gene was too drunk to remember it. Jackie then reveals that she’s also there for another reason: she’s writing a news story about teenage girls that come to London from northern England and go missing. She’s specifically looking for a girl named Rachel Lessing. But here’s the thing: the Met has actively ignored her requests for information. Gene asks Jackie who she had spoken to, and she apparently names Viv. Gene talks to Viv, who says that he was acting under a direct order from Mac.

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Ashes to Ashes: Season 2, Episode 3

This episode begins with Alex sitting on the sofa, battling insomnia by drinking wine and watching TV. She’s watching Take Hart, a show about painting (a British version of Bob Ross, if you will), when she gives up and turns off the TV with the remote. She gets up to walk to the bedroom… and the TV comes back on by itself. At the same time, she doubles over in pain. The TV shows Morph, a claymation character from Take Hart, preparing a defibrillator. A voice asks if Morph will help Alex. When he shocks Alex with the paddles (on TV), the real Alex flies across the room and crashes into the wall. Morph then appears to give up on her, and the voice asks why he’s given up. Morph replies (in gibberish), and the voice asks “what do you mean, ‘she’s given up?'”. Morph then gets a sad look, changes into a ball, then rolls offscreen. We then see Morph stretched into a straight line representing a heartbeat monitor, which beats for a few seconds then flatlines.

The next morning, we see Alex and Gene arrive at Felhurst Prison to interview Kevin Hales. The guard asks why they’re there, and Gene says it’s to interview Kevin. The guard says that “you won’t be doing that today”, then nods towards a body bag being rolled towards a van. Kevin Hales, it seems, has committed suicide by hanging himself. Gene asks if no one tried to stop him. The guard says that “health and safety rules” prevented them from running to his aid; he says this with a knowing look on his face. He might as well have winked and said “say no more, say no more!”

Back at the station, Gene goes through Kevin’s possessions. He looks at a letter that appears to be of interest, but we see nothing more at this point. In fact, Gene disappears completely by the time the next thing happens: a father and daughter walk through the doors of the station carrying a box.

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Ashes to Ashes: Season 2, Episode 2

After last week’s massive 4000+ word recap, you’ll probably be disappointed with this week’s recap. I’m really going to make an effort to make this short and sweet… so here goes:

The episode begins with Alex having a daydream or hallucination. She’s walking down a hall at the police station, and spies a girl that looks a bit like Molly. She takes a few steps towards her, then hears “operating room noises” from a door to her right. She bangs on the door and tries desperately to open it. She comes back to “reality”, still banging on the door, and asks Shaz if she has the key to the door. Shaz looks at her oddly, and simply turns the knob… to reveal an empty “Interview Room 1”. Alex asks Shaz if he could “hear them talking” and other things that make her sound like a loon. The important thing here is that Alex wonders aloud if she’s forgetting her life in 2008.

Shaz says that Hunt has been calling for her (“loudly”) and so Alex goes outside to find Gene. As she steps outside, she hears the helicopter sound again and so she looks up in the air. Two guys are nearby, working on a disabled police car with the hood up. At first, Alex hears them talking as if they were EMT workers, but eventually their words morph back to the present (1982) day, where one of them says he wants to get a sandwich. Alex walks up to them, once again talking like a crazy person. “Fight for me”, she begs. “More like fight over ya, darlin'” one of them says.

Thankfully, Gene pulls up just then in the Quattro. He says they’ve gotten a tip about “Operation Burning Ring”, and we next see them in a car chase near a gypsy camp. Hunt pulls the Quattro even with the fleeing car, and Alex notices that the man appears to be intoxicated or having a seizure. We then hear a “crunching” sound, but we do not see Gene hit the other vehicle, nor do we see any obvious damage to the Quattro. In any case, the car flies off the road and has a spectacular crash, coming to as rest just at the edge of the gypsy camp.

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