*SPOILERS!* Ashes to Ashes Finale *SPOILERS*

Okay, fair warning – if you haven’t seen the Ashes to Ashes finale, read no further because this post will contain spoilers. It’s not a review, it’s a crazy ass meta-theory, but here come spoilers all the same…

Okay, for anyone who doesn’t know about Life on Mars or Ashes to Ashes, but who are still reading this, the basic plot is that Sam Tyler (played by John Simm), a DCI in the present day Greater Manchester Police, is involved in a car accident. When he wakes up, he’s apparently in 1973 and he’s a DI in a police station ruled by the epic Gene Hunt, a politically incorrect Sweeney-esque bad-ass played by Philip Glenister. The key question driving LoM‘s two seasons was what, exactly, was going on – was Sam dead, mad, in a coma-induced hallucination or genuinely back in time? LoM wrapped up Sam’s story-arc; Ashes to Ashes, the sequel series, followed broadly the same idea, with DI Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) getting stuck with Gene in eighties London.

Anyway, last night’s Ashes to Ashes finale wrapped up the story – Sam and Alex (as well as at least three of the supporting characters) were dead or dying, the police stations were ‘purgatory’ (for want of a better word, although some online theories link it to the folkloric concept of Fiddler’s Green), and the final season was effectively a battle for the souls of most of the characters, Gene being in a similar boat to Sam and Alex but, through force of personality, becoming a sort of guide on the road to redemption for the people trapped in his purgatory.

Thing is though, at the end of last night’s finale, there was a post-credits clip from Dixon of Dock Green, and this is where the crazy-ass theory comes in. PC George Dixon was a character in the 1950 Ealing movie The Blue Lamp, in which he’s shot and killed. However, the character went on to appear in Dixon of Dock Green from 1955 to 1976. So here’s the theory, based purely on the fact that I like ideas that can put completely different shows into the same fictional universe:

The police officer purgatory is originally ‘overseen’/guided by PC Dixon, fulfilling the same role as Gene. Gene arrives in this version of things and becomes the person he needs to be to eventually take over/become a guide himself. Meanwhile, the agency behind the purgatory (I don’t want to say God, as it’s more of a literary thing than a religious thing) shapes surroundings based as much on pop culture as anything else. Hence PC Dixon moves on to the afterlife when he retires in the seventies, and Gene becomes the sheriff; the backdrop becomes more like shows such as The Sweeney, thus linking one of the earliest and two of the most recent BBC police shows – they’re all set in the same ‘Fiddler’s Green for coppers’ (Dock Green?).

So, that’s going to be my obsession for the next couple of days – characters that died in their first appearence, only to be brought back subsequently with no apparently explanation. And maybe not even that – if you buy the theory that Patrick McGoohan is playing the same character in Danger Man and The Prisoner, then The Village could be a purgatory for intelligence agents (or part of it – maybe that’s why there are so many agents code named James Bond living a lifestyle of guns, girls and gadgets…?). Maybe Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes have just given us the British version of the ‘Tommyverse’ (the TV show St. Elsewhere was revealed in its last episode to be a figment of the imagination of a young boy – but as the show crossed over with so many other shows, the argument goes that most American TV exists within one fictional universe). In fact, as Law and Order is a part of that universe, and Law and Order: UK brings British TV into that universe, you could make a literary (not spiritual, before I’m subjected to the Methodist equivalant of excommunication), that Tommy is accessing the same Fiddler’s Green as Gene, Alex and Sam, and therefore MOST TV IS THE AFTERLIFE OF FICTIONAL CHARACTERS!

And that’s before we take Gene Hunt’s cowboy fixation and seeing which sheriffs/westerns could be forced into the pattern…

It’s days like this that make me think I’ve gone completely mad.

PS. Now I’ve gone completely insane, I can say that this theory also makes the Peter Cushing ‘Doctor Who and the Daleks’ movies canon – they’re one of the official Doctor’s experiences in this TV purgatory. You can’t really make it fit on screen, but there’s another fan theory that Peter Davison’s Doctor was the Thirteenth rather than the Fifth, and therefore his regeneration into Colin Baker was more hit and miss than the others, so squeeze the Cushing movies in there…

PPS. This theory does not cover superhero TV shows. Obviously they’re the result of the various characters being caught in Darkseid‘s Omega Sanction, whereupon they are trapped living out a succession of alternative lives away from their home universe. Obviously the ultimate humiliation is for this suffering to be broadcast as entertainment to the inhabitants of Earth Prime

PPPS. Sends up the Williams signal to see if Pale Rider / High Plains Drifter / The Man With No Name can be shoe-horned into all this somehow…

PPPPS. The same benevolent force revealed at the end of Ashes to Ashes is also the one that hijacked Project: Quantum Leap to fix unresolved issues for the best (and who had a malevolent counterpart revealing itself towards the end of the run). How do we know? Because in both shows it chose to manifest as a barkeeper…

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One thought on “*SPOILERS!* Ashes to Ashes Finale *SPOILERS*

  1. Pingback: Lost: The Anniversary of the End « Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth

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