Hawes said in a recent interview that the second season will be less... well, cheesy, than the first:
It is a darker series. Alex is even questioning whether she actually belongs in 1982, and if 2008 is just an odd memory. Which one is her real reality? There are more stories on police corruption and less of the spoofy clown stuff this time... We haven't gone down the silly '80s fashion route again because I don't think Alex would wear those clothes. When we first met her, she was given the things she wore, but now she's had a chance to go shopping.
No silly 1980s fashions? No David Bowie rip-off clown cameos? It's as if they're taking away everything that made the show worth watching in the first place. Next thing you know, they'll be looking to the American LoM for story ideas, and then it'll all be over.
Keeley Hawes reveals 'Ashes' changes [Digital Spy]