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Ashes to Ashes, rubbish to rubbish

By David Herman  

What is going on at BBC1? How did Kudos, one of today’s top drama-producing independent companies, manage to get away with this?

Life on Mars (2006, 2007) originally had a clever(ish) idea. Take a cop from the present, full of today’s PC attitudes and the latest police know-how, and put him in 1970s Manchester, full of booze, fags, racism and sexism and as low-tech as The Flintstones. What really made it work was the acting, especially Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt, one of the great TV drama creations of the past decade, the nostalgic soundtrack and the first-rate production design.…

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