TV… Life on Mars (2006-08)


Introducing that British UNPC PC…


The prequel to the previously reviewed Ashes to Ashes where Sam Tyler finds himself in 1973, is he unwell or travelled back in time?


Life on Mars trailer, BustedStuffTrio, and photographs © BBC

So as Finnish telly aren’t showing the second series of Outlander (2014) for a couple more weeks – hence the delay in that all important time travelling review – I really need to satisfy my “Time Travelling To Totty” craving. In this case it’s Northern English crumpet in the handsome form of Philip Glenister’s Gene Hunt in the prequel to Ashes to Ashes (2008-10) , Life on Mars (2006-08). So if you are one of these people who read about TV or film in chronological order the click on the Ashes to Ashes link at the end of the review…

So in the British TV Series, Life on Mars we are told how police officer Sam Tyler (John Simm) is involved in an accident in 2006 and wakes up in 1973, as a newly transferred officer working under DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister). As he is confused as to what has happened – is he unwell – hearing voices suggesting he is in a coma and seeing 1970s images make him concerned for his sanity – or has he travelled back in time, the audience is also perplexed. The true answers are revealed in time. Tyler is working alongside Hunt’s colleagues from Ashes to Ashes, Chris (Marshall Lancaster) and Ray Carling (Dean Andrews). Also we are introduced to Annie Cartwright (Liz White), the only girl on the team.

Having returned to the 1970s, Tyler meets some of his modern-day colleagues and those he has convicted in his future role in their younger days. Tyler is constantly torn between the two times. As Alex’s character found Hunt’s methods and working style difficult in the 1980s, Tyler has the same difficulty with these in the 1970s and often resorts to using modern-day tactics. After tracking down his family, he tries to change his and his parents lives for the better. As well as assisting his co workers in solving crimes, is concerned for his future self and predicament and he attempts to return to the present. To complicate issues, Annie and Tyler fall in love.

There are several versions of this British series, there is an American Version with Harvey Keitel as Hunt. I read that Keitel phoned Glenister for tips for portraying Hunt which would be a dream impression heaven from Brydon and Coogan in one of their escalation celebrity impersonation battles in The Trip (2010). Other remakes include a Russian version – which looks amazing and I keep urging Darlin’ Husband to watch and translate (as he speaks Russian too) – and a Spanish version called which sounds cool but unfortunately neither come with English subtitles. Gene Hunt himself is reminiscent of British cop shows at this time such as characters from The Sweeney (1975-78) and as in Ashes to Ashes the musical soundtrack includes many a familiar tune from the era – T- Rex and Thin Lizzy. The British series has many references to the 1970s including swinging, the fashions – I so loved Annie’s 70s fashions – and there are many references to The Wizard of Oz (1939) and many a David Bowie hit. And now if you want to read more about the sequel the excellent Ashes to Ashes CLICK HERE.

Weeper Rating: 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦😦 😦 😦 😦 :-(/10

Handsqueeze Rating: :-)  :-)  :-) :-)  :-) 🙂 /10

Hulk Rating: ‎ ‎ ‎mrgreen  ‎mrgreen mrgreen  ‎/10

Bonus Trailer: Yes, Tribute to Gene Hunt

Gene Hunt – The Jean Genie – Life On Mars , kiopelani,


2 thoughts on “TV… Life on Mars (2006-08)

  1. Ashes to Ashes is a sequel to Life on Mars. A2A was an attempt to retcon the stunning and very satisfying conclusion to Life on Mars. A man woke from his coma, couldn’t adjust to life in the real world, and ended it. His return to 1973 existed in his mind, until he died. Sam could have lived a lifetime in his final seconds.

    Liked by 1 person

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