Alison Jones talks to Rosie Hackett, the costume designer responsible for updating the series to the Thatcher years on the TV series Ashes to Ashes.
The first time it was all about the mystery of how Sam Tyler ended up in 1973 in Life on Mars. The clothes just helped set the tone, nailed the period. It was all a bit hand-me-down, too much brown and slightly sweat-stained man-made fibres.
Second time around we know how Alex Drake came to be stranded in 1981, so with fewer questions to answer there is more time to focus on those fabulous Thatcher-era fashions.
The woman responsible for the clothing the sexiest-dressed cop since Charlie's Angels is Ashes To Ashes costume designer Rosie Hackett, daughter of Birmingham Post cartoonist Bert Hackett.
She had already had some experience of recreating the period when she dressed Anna Friel and Michelle Williams for the 70s/80s set film Me Without You.
With Ashes though she faced the challenge of capturing some of the more embarrassing elements of the decade, like red braces, shiny suits and white socks with slip on shoes, without choosing anything that could be pinned down to a year later than the programme is set.
Though she was a teenager in the early 80s, rather than rely on recall alone, Rosie hit the fashion reference books to capture the look exactly "There is a library that has all back issues of the Observer and Sunday Times and then you have got TV and Radio Times and magazines like ID, The Face and Vogue," she explains.
"I hired most of the outfits. The BBC costume stores have got the best collection of 80s clothes. We shopped in Camden Market, made a lot and copied a lot."
Relocating Gene Hunt and his team from Manchester to London and casting a woman as the time traveller meant there was opportunity to inject a little more glamour, as fashions usually took a little longer to spread out to the regions.
"If it was set up in Manchester it would have been difficult to make it as 80s as it is," she confirms. "We could up the ante. When you looked at the Face, ID and Vogue from then you see what we consider as 80s. But if you looked at The Birmingham Post from that time it would look 70s.
"Keeley is great. When you get a woman you have got more scope and Keeley is just brilliant to dress, she is great looking but she has got a great sense of humour and she is an intelligent woman so you can have a lot of fun."
While Sam Tyler was seldom seen out of his leather jacket and couldn't really get away with off the shoulder tops, Alex has been in everything from a high class hooker wear to a bunny (the Playboy kind) outfit.
"A lot of the actors were very nervous when they came to the fittings. They thought we were going to make them look ridiculous," recalls Rosie.
"We had this long fitting with Keeley and there were a lot of outfits she hadn't wanted to try on because they were really extreme.
"One of those was the cream jumpsuit she wore at a the Blitz club. At the end we asked her to try it just for fun and she ended up wearing it.
"The thing about that was it is completely see through so we had give her something to wear underneath. There aren't many women who can get away with wearing wear a cream gathered jumpsuit."
Even DCI Hunt had his own unique uniform.
"I went to every shop in London because I wanted to get grey snakeskin cowboy boots and couldn't find them anywhere. Then I went into the BBC costume stores and in there was a dusty bag in the corner with these boots in and they fitted him perfectly.
"I love cowboy boots so if I can get a character into them I will.
"I was thinking Johnny Cash, man in black, and Phil (Glenister) had been thinking along the same lines, that Gene was secretly a country and western fan."
There is also a nod to another TV series, as Rosie had leafed through old TV guides for inspiration.
"The Professionals was a big programme, so the boys are kind of modelled on Bodie and Doyle. There was a bit of a nod to Gordon Jackson because he wore a Crombie coat with velvet collar."
Although the 80s have been making a come back on the high street - last year it was leggings, this year it's rara skirts - for authentic-ity's sake Rosie tried to avoid buying anything new.
"Things like high-waisted jeans we did buy because you can't tell. But there was nothing else. I didn't want anybody to go 'I have got that top from Hennes'.
"In a way you could have done the job from Top Shop but there was a naivety about the clothes in the early 80s. Things didn't fit as well then as they do now. You have got lycra in everything."
Rummaging about on the vintage stalls in Camden Market she uncovered some true treasures.
"We found a lovely leather jerkin that was red and blue and yellow, it ended up on background artist.
"For the city boys we got all their suits from a stall in Camden. I don't think anybody had ever bought any of these suits and we pulled all of them aside. Then the stall holder said 'I've got more of those' and pulled out all these silvery 80s suits."
A pack rat instinct for hanging onto clothes meant Rosie had a few gems from her own wardrobe that eventually made it onto costume racks.
"In the 80s I had a boyfriend who was from Miami, I used to make him a suit every year for his birthday and he gave me his suits when we split up. He thought maybe they would be useful some day.
"His mum used to send us matching white tracksuits from Miami. I don't know what she was thinking. They were hideous. Olympic tracksuits in matching white and red, like shellsuits.
"I kept hold of those and they made it into Ashes."
Rosie has come full circle working on Ashes to Ashes, having begun her career putting together outfits for pop promos back in the 80s.
Although she had been making clothes since she was young she is something of a self-taught stylist and costume designer.
"When I was 19 came to London for no other reason other than to come to London. I had always wanted to do costume. I started working with friends who were at college, working on student films, helping with costumes, then broke into music videos.
"You had to make your own stuff because it didn't exist. I used to make my own clothes and to sell to people. It was what I really wanted to do so I kind of pushed my way into it. The big break was getting to work with the director who did all of Annie Lennox's videos.
"I charged tuppence ha'penny because I didn't know anything. I was just this girl from Birmingham, I just wanted to work with these brilliant people early on. I wasn't trained but I was a bit arrogant in thinking I didn't need to be, that I just needed to go out there and try and work really."
She had completed a foundation course at Bournville College in Birmingham, and then got a place at London University to study drama and English, which she deferred for a year, "I never had any intention of going but I thought it would keep everybody quiet. Then by the time I was meant to go I was already busy working on people's films, not earning any money but trying to do the things I wanted to do.
"Those were the days when you could be on the dole. I got housing benefit and in Thatcher's England they had this thing whereby if you started your own company they'd pay you £40 pounds a week, which you could live off when you were young.
"I didn't know anything. I used to make everything myself because I didn't know there were makers out there. I didn't know there were hire companies. I used to go down the markets to get my stuff. I was so green it was unreal.
"Some of the clothes I made used to fall apart after the first day. They would only stay together for as long as they needed to."
The end of her career in videos came quietly. It was the day she was booked to do a promo for a new band called Blur.
"I remember them turning up on the day and I had got all this stuff and they said that they were going to wear their own clothes for the video. You just didn't do that. You wore outfits!
"I remember thinking 'this is the beginning of the end for me'. The whole grunge thing came in and promo work was kind of finished because I was used to making glamorous outfits with sequins."
Since then she has mostly concentrated on films and TV work, though she is currently on sabbatical after having her son, Joseph.
She admits that staying at home with her baby hasn't given her much chance to keep up with changing fashions, whether the 80s are still in or we've already moved onto the 90s.
"I was in town the other day and I thought 'God, everybody looks so different' after just three months." * Ashes to Ashes is on BBC One on Thursdays