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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Ashes To Ashes series three: Keeley Hawes as DI Alex Drake

Ashes To Ashes: DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) and DI Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) (image: Kudos/BBC)

Sexy, sassy and more than a match for DCI Gene Hunt, DI Alex Drake is still trying to unravel the mystery of why she's stuck in Hunt's world. Does the new member of CID overseeing Hunt's empire hold the key, or is it his aim to turn Alex against Gene?

Actress Keeley Hawes reveals what's in store for the feisty DI.

"This series starts with Alex back in what appears to be the present day," explains Keeley, "but it soon becomes apparent that things aren't as they seem and odd incidents start to happen.

"She realises that the reality she is in isn't real and the Fenchurch East gang start to call her back to 1983 where she has been stuck in a coma for three months."

After Gene rouses Alex from her comatose state, she returns to CID, desperate to try and solve the riddle of how to get back home to her daughter Molly.

However, a new arrival at Fenchurch East starts to make her doubt the one person she thought she could trust.

"DCI Jim Keats is played by Danny Mays and he's very charming to Alex," reveals Keeley.

"She likes him, despite the fact Gene has a different opinion. Gene and Keats' relationship seems to take place behind closed doors and he acts very differently towards Gene than he does with the rest of the team.

"Keats tries to split up Gene and Alex's partnership. Slowly but surely he starts to drive a wedge between the two of them and Alex starts to wonder if she can really trust Gene," continues Keeley.

"Alex also believes that, if she can solve the mystery surrounding Sam Tyler, she'll be able to get home and Keats points her in the direction of evidence which implicates Gene in his death."

There may be a question mark over Jim Keats' real intentions in Ashes To Ashes but Keeley reveals the actor playing him couldn't be nicer.

"Danny is absolutely lovely!" she exclaims. "He has to play a very difficult role and I think he's done it brilliantly. I really enjoyed filming scenes with both Danny and Phil because they spar off each other so well."

Ashes To Ashes is set in the Eighties so throughout its three-year run Keeley has had to wear some amazingly colourful outfits.

But what's been her favourite costume from this series and has she taken anything home with her?

"Our costume designer has had more freedom this year and she's done a gorgeous job," reveals the London-born actress.

"I really liked the outfit Gene gave to Alex in hospital which consisted of a t-shirt with the New York skyline on it and skinny jeans.

"I think it's been easier this year because we haven't been restricted to all the clothes for the series being originals from the period. There seems to be so much Eighties stuff in the shops at the moment that we actually went out and bought some clothes. The costume department also made a lot of things.

"I have taken a couple of pairs of boots with me," confides Keeley, "and I've got Alex's white leather jacket which I think I'll auction off for charity.

"I've also got the most fantastic pair of red Dorothy-style sequined shoes with a bow on the front of them. They remind me of the moment when Dorothy clicks her ruby shoes to go home."

The finale of Ashes To Ashes is about to air and Alex Drake's journey looks set to come to an end – how does Keeley feel about the end of her journey working on the series?

"It's very sad in some respects because I've been working with the cast and crew for so long, but it feels the right time to finally find out the mystery surrounding Alex's world. In this business you find people pop up all the time so you never know when you are going work with someone again."

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