Friday, April 17, 2009

Article: "Hawes Teases Season Two"

"Hawes Teases Season Two: Ashes to Ashes" by Ian Cullen,, April 17, 2009.

When we last saw DI Alex Drake she’d just failed to save her parents from a car bombing, and was in a state of total despair at not being able to save them. Season Two picks up the story one year on in 1982, and Alex has very much become a part of the CID team, headed up by DCI Gene Hunt, but still seeks to find her way back to 2008.

Monday 20, April will see Ashes to Ashes explode onto our screens, and the opening moments will see DI Drake and the gang looking for suspects in London’s underground sewage system. Thankfully this is not going to set the tone for Keeley Hawes as she reprises her role as Drake, and in a recent interview she talked on where she feels the second series will go.

“This series we get to see that Alex has calmed down a lot and has begun to settle into the 1980s environment. She now considers the people around her to be friends and, because we have moved on a year, things aren’t quite so heightened for her.

“I’ve found Alex really interesting to play this series,” continues Keeley, “because the lines are blurring between what she thinks is real and what isn’t. She is now beginning to wonder whether the 2008 part of her life, including her daughter Molly, only ever existed in her head. It’s definitely been an interesting angle to explore rather than the story simply concentrating on her trying to get back to the present.”

Much like as happened in Life On Mars before it, viewers will be introduced to an enigmatic stranger who is watching the DI and is trying to contact her in a mysterious manner.

“A strange man keeps leaving Alex roses which she initially thinks is another puzzle,” Keeley explains. “She starts to investigate further, believing that if she solves the puzzle she may be able to go home. There are certainly lots of twists but I can’t give the game away!”

Ever since Ashes To Ashes began veiwers have got used to the tempestuous relationship between DI Alex Drake and the brash and often dogmatic DCI Gene Hunt. Viewers have got used to their fiery exchanges, however Keeley believes her character has a degree of admiration for Hunt.

“They do still have their ups and downs,” reveals Keeley, “but Gene is beginning to take on board different ways of policing and is starting to understand forensics and the importance of collecting evidence. Occasionally he and Alex are quite in tune and they definitely admire each other to a certain extent.”

The actor also confirms that there is a darker edge to the second season.

“When Detective Superintendent ‘Supermac’ Mackintosh joins CID as Gene’s boss Alex instantly likes him, but then she starts to see a darker side to his life,” explains Keeley. “Roger Allam, who plays Supermac, is absolutely fantastic. He’s brought a mysterious side to the character and a darker side to the whole series which we’re all really pleased with.”

“The script writers have also explored Dean, Marshall and Montserrat’s characters more this series,” explains Keeley, “and we get to see a lot more of Chris and Shaz’s relationship.”

As everyone knows the nineteen eighties were a period of flamboyant fashion and big hair, and the second season illustrates this factor of the period even more so than the first season, and the shows core group of characters have had makeovers to reflect the changing trends of the day.

“Costume changes and fittings were very difficult during filming for series one because I was in so many scenes. Each change meant leaving the set and going to the costume department which took up a lot of time. So for this series the production team had to think up a way of building more time into my schedule,” explains Keeley. “Ultimately this meant we had more opportunity to delve into Alex’s wardrobe which was great fun!

“We haven’t gone down the silly Eighties fashion route because I don’t think Alex would wear those clothes,” continues Keeley. “However, Alex definitely wears a lot more outfits in this series and in one episode I think I have eight costume changes! I had one quite brilliant outfit which was a shirt with a giant pussy bow, covered in little anchors, tight jeans with red stripes down the side and anchor earrings which were on chains. It really was quite something! I also had a great Japanese look at one point. The costume department have gone to town with the details this series.”

A rare treat for Keeley was driving the Quattro, an experience usually reserved for the one-and-only Gene Hunt.

“I love driving the Quattro, the handbrake turns are particularly fun! However, there was one time when we were all in the car with a very expensive camera attached and Phil was driving. We were heading towards the end of the road, in the rain, and suddenly the brakes didn’t work! It was a hairy moment but Phil is a very good driver and managed to stop the car; we are all still here thank God!”

Much like the first season fans can expect to see cameo appearances from noted 1980’s personalities such as: Roland Rat and Morph who were mainstays of childrens television throughout the 1980s.

Ashes To Ashes returns to television on Monday, April 20 at 9 pm on BBC1.

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