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24 September 2014
Life on Mars

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About the Show

A collage of characters from the show

John Simm stars as Sam Tyler, a driven and ambitious young detective, determined to keep the streets of 21st Century Manchester safe. But after a near fatal car accident, he wakes up, dazed and confused, in 1973. Has he gone back in time? Is he in a coma? Or has he simply gone insane?

Life On Mars At A Glance:

  • - Life On Mars is made by Kudos Film and Television*, who also produce Hustle and Spooks.
  • - Starring John Simm, Philip Glenister, Liz White.
  • - Created and written by Matthew Graham, Tony Jordan and Ashley Pharoah (who all worked on Hustle), with additional writing credits for Chris Chibnall (Born and Bred).
  • - Directed by Bharat Nalluri (Spooks, Hustle), John McKay (Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale), John Alexander (Cutting It) and SJ Clarkson (Footballers' Wives*).
  • - Produced by Claire Parker.
  • - Executive producers are Jane Featherstone (Spooks, Hustle) and Matthew Graham.
  • - The title Life On Mars comes from a track by David Bowie. It can be found on his 1971 album Hunky Dory.

What follows is Sam's 21st century account of 1970s life, where he feels like a fish out of water. He must come to terms with an unfamiliar environment and an archaic CID unit. There, using his modern know-how, he becomes integral to the unit. But he must adapt to their old-fashioned technologies and etiquettes.

Sam works on some of the hardest cases he's ever been involved with. It's a world where witnesses are regularly intimidated, it takes two weeks to process forensics, and his colleagues will nail their suspect whether they have the evidence or not.

Sam's new boss is hard-nosed DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister), who gets results by trusting his gut instinct and, all too often, sheer brute force.

The rest of his team have similar attitudes towards their work. Except WPC Annie Cartright (Liz White), an educated and open minded woman. As well as helping Sam battle criminals, she aids his quest to find the truth about his new circumstances.

Jane Featherstone, executive producer of Life on Mars, says, "Life on Mars is a fantastic idea which takes the cop show genre and gives it a unique, humorous and irresistible twist. By taking a character of our time and throwing him headfirst into our recent past, it gives us a chance to explore what makes us who we are today."

John Yorke, Controller of Continuing Drama Series and Head of Independent Drama at BBC explains, "The beauty of Life on Mars is that each week it concentrates on catching criminals through two completely opposing styles of policing. We put a modern DI bang in the world of the old school copper and so explore two totally foreign worlds. Sam's both repelled and fascinated by this prehistoric world, and the drama lies in how he tries to accommodate himself to life on a completely different planet."

Julie Gardner, BBC Wales Head of Drama adds: "We are delighted to have collaborated with Kudos on such an exciting and bold project as Life on Mars. And, to have such a talented cast can only highlight the quality of the writing and the production."

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