Life on Mars - coming to BBC ONE on Monday 9 January 2006 at 9.00pm
John Simm is transported back to the Seventies in
Life on Mars, an action-packed, exciting and witty new drama for BBC ONE from the makers of
Spooks and Hustle...
John Simm (State of Play), one of the UK's leading actors, stars in Life on Mars,
an innovative, witty and action packed drama from Kudos Film and Television, the
team behind hit drama Hustle and the award-winning Spooks.
Simm plays Sam Tyler, a driven and ambitious young detective who is determined to
keep the streets of 21st Century Manchester safe.
However, the hunt for a serial
killer becomes a personal vendetta when Sam suspects his girlfriend and colleague
Maya (Archie Panjabi, Yasmin) has been kidnapped by the very man he's tracking
But after a near fatal car accident Sam wakes up, dazed and confused, in 1973,
struggling to understand what's real. Has he gone back in time? Is he in a coma?
Or has he simply gone insane?
What follows is Sam's 21st century account of Seventies life feeling like a fish
out of water.
He must come to terms with an unfamiliar environment and an archaic
CID unit where, using his modern know-how, he is integral to the unit's
investigation process as he learns how to adapt to their old-fashioned
technologies and etiquettes.
Throughout the eight-part series, Sam works on some of the hardest cases he has
ever been involved with, not least because he's faced with 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, Vincent), 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.
DS Ray Carling
(Dean Andrews, Between the Sheets) is untrusting of his new colleague and
suspicious of his 'new-fangled' ideas, and DC Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster,
Clocking Off) is cheeky but affable and keen to learn.
The only member of the team who has a less unruly and bigoted attitude is WPC
Annie Cartright (Liz White, A Thing Called Love).
She is an educated and open-minded
woman who helps Sam in his quest to find the truth about his new circumstances, as
well as battling to lock up the criminals of Seventies Manchester.
In episode one it becomes clear to Sam that the killer who is holding Maya in 2005
started his killing spree here and now in the early Seventies.
Could catching the
perpetrator be the key to Sam's return to the future?
Jane Featherstone, Joint Managing Director at Kudos Film and Television, and
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 the 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
"Sam is both repelled and fascinated by this prehistoric world,
and the drama lies in how he tries to accommodate himself to life on a completely
Julie Gardner, BBC Wales Head of Drama, says: "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."
Life On Mars is created and written by Matthew Graham, Tony Jordan and Ashley
Pharoah who all collaborated on BBC ONE hit drama Hustle, with additional writing
credits for Chris Chibnall (All About George).
Directors are Bharat Nalluri
(Spooks, Hustle), John McKay (Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale), John Alexander
(Cutting It) and SJ Clarkson (Footballers Wives) and it is produced by newcomer,
The executive producers are Jane Featherstone (Spooks, Hustle) and Matthew Graham.
The project has been commissioned through BBC Wales by Julie Gardner (BBC Wales
Head of Drama) and John Yorke (Controller of Continuing Drama Series and Head of
Independent Drama at BBC).
BBC Wales Drama
BBC Wales is a driving force in drama, with a team headed by Julie Gardner, a
Welsh-born producer who joined the department from LWT in 2003.
Within weeks, BBC Wales captured the coveted network commission of the return of
Doctor Who, written by Russell T Davies and starring Christopher Eccleston and
The new series attracted critical acclaim and was a hit with audiences when it was
screened earlier this year and a Christmas special and further run is now in
production, starring David Tennant as the new Time Lord.
Further BBC Wales network commissions include May 33rd, a controversial study of
multiple personality disorder, starring Lia Williams; Casanova, starring David
Tennant; Girl In A Café starring Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald; and Rocket Man,
starring Robson Green.
BBC Wales drama also produced the acclaimed period drama Carrie's War for BBC ONE,
based on the classic novel by Nina Bawden, as well as Belonging, now in its seventh
series, and Welsh language drama Pobol y Cwm.
TV Drama Publicity