Kelley produced the pilot for an American version of the series for the ABC network, though he handed duties over to others for the series production. It premiered in October , and was broadcast to minor critical and public acclaim where declining numbers led to cancellation in April after 17 episodes, though with sufficient lead to allow the storyline to be concluded. The first series of the original Life on Mars was broadcast in the United States on BBC America from July to August and was broadcast in on some public television stations,  with the second series being broadcast from December to January Soon Mikhail is released, and takes the place of his father, Mikhail Ivanovich Solovyov.
It tells the story of an elite policeman Filip Marvan, who is hit by a car and wakes up in a hospital in , in Communist Czechoslovakia. The first episode of the series aired on 2 January , scheduled to run for 10 episodes in total. The programme's soundtrack features mainly early s songs which were played as part of Life on Mars , as well as an original score of the theme music as part of the title sequence composed by Edmund Butt. The show's title is in reference to the David Bowie song, " Life on Mars?
Matthew Graham stated that initially there were some concerns over whether the production team would be able to license the song, which, had they been denied, would have necessitated retitling the series. Another Bowie track, " Changes ", is played over the end credits of the second series finale. Almost immediately, his assistant phoned back and said, 'Paul loves it. You can go ahead and use it'". The methodology and techniques of modern policing that Sam Tyler employs during Life on Mars lead him into frequent clashes with other characters.
Gene Hunt and the rest of the CID appear to favour brutality and corruption in order to secure convictions, as shown by their willingness to physically coerce confessions and fabricate evidence. In one episode during Series 1, in which doubt is cast on several suspects, Hunt insists that "the first to speak is guilty" and frequently refers to the 'Gene Genie'.
Sam describes Hunt as an "overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline alcoholic homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding. Ray and Sam often disagree with each other, and Sam and Gene have a love-hate relationship. Given Sam's predicament, he avoids revealing his suspicion that he may have travelled back in time, for fear that others will think he is insane. The only person in to whom Sam fully reveals his story is Annie Cartwright. According to Liz White , the actress who played Cartwright, "She gets very tired of his constant talk about how this situation is not real, that they are all figments of his imagination — she can only explain it as psychological trauma from his car crash".
After the premiere, each of the remaining fifteen episodes begins with a short teaser before a monologue in which Sam repeats, as part of the moving imagery of the title sequence:. My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident and I woke up in Am I mad , in a coma, or back in time? Whatever's happened, it's like I've landed on a different planet. Now, maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get home. This questioning is a central plot device throughout the series, displaying both the character's and the audience's uncertainty about what has happened.
Throughout the course of Life on Mars , Sam's uncertainty is reinforced by frequent paranormal phenomena, such as hearing voices and seeing images from on radios, telephones, and televisions. The voices discuss his medical condition, leading him to partially believe that he is in a coma. Other elements suggest to him that he is insane, such as his frequent and unexpected encounters with the Test Card Girl from Test Card F , who speaks directly to him. Annie Cartwright partially persuades Sam that he is truly in , arguing that his mind would be unable to fabricate the amount of detail and tangibility in the world where he finds himself, evidence that he is in fact in Sam's uncertain situation is not the focal point of most episodes, remaining a sub-plot.
In most episodes, the main plot centres on a particular crime or case relating to the police, such as drug trafficking , a hostage situation , murders and robberies. For this reason, most episodes follow a conventional police drama format. As the series progresses, Sam focuses on how he will get home in almost every episode. A recurring motif throughout the series is the overlapping of the past and present. For example, during Series 1: Episode 6 Sam hears the voice of his mother in , telling him his life-support will be switched off at pm.
From Ashes To Dreams
At the same time he is called into a hostage -taking situation, where the perpetrator states that he will kill his victims at precisely the same hour. Sam also encounters as their younger selves people whom he knows in the future, including suspects, friends, his own parents, and himself as a child. Sam comes from an era in which suspects' rights and the preservation of forensic evidence are stringently observed. His background leads Sam into conflict, as other characters exhibit openly sexist , homophobic , and racist behaviour, and often indulge all these prejudices while carrying out their police duties.
The series frequently makes use of Gene Hunt 's comical rudeness in the form of jokes and dramatic irony about a future which the audience already knows, but which the characters in do not. For example, in Series 1: Episode 5, Hunt declares, "There will never be a woman prime minister as long as I have a hole in my arse.
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Another theme in the show is Sam's confusion about police work in , as he often mistakenly mentions techniques and technologies that were not used in , such as two-way mirrors. One such theme is that Sam continually gives criminals the updated version of the right to silence warning, which was changed in When he does so, someone around him usually points out that he is giving the warning incorrectly.
It is revealed in the final episode that Sam's coma had lasted so long because he had a tumour of the brain. Tyler comes to believe the tumour is embodied by Hunt, and begins to think that by bringing Hunt down, his own body can recover. While Tyler and the team are engaged in a firefight with armed robbers, Sam returns to He eventually comes to realise that he has become used to, and enjoys, the s, seeing it as his "real world". In an attempt to get back to to save Annie and the rest of the team from death, Sam leaps off the roof of the police station , arriving back in and saving the team, promising never to leave them again.
Writer Matthew Graham wrote the scene to indicate that Sam is now in the afterlife, but acknowledged that the ending is ambiguous and open to other interpretations, such as lead actor John Simm's belief that Sam may not have returned to the present. Children run past, including the girl from Test Card F who symbolizes the death that has been stalking Sam since the beginning. She looks directly into the camera before reaching out and "switching off" the television the viewer is watching, signifying that Sam's life has come to an end. The first episode of sequel series Ashes to Ashes shows that the protagonist, DI Alex Drake of the Metropolitan Police, has been studying Tyler's notes and era personnel file, in which his photograph is overstamped with the word " SUICIDE " - consistent with what happened in the series finale.
Ashes to Ashes implies that Gene Hunt's world is in some sense real, and states that Sam lived on in that world, during which time he married Annie but had no children. During an interview John Stalker , Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester in the early s and himself a Detective Inspector in , has stated that the depiction of the police "has got nothing to do with real policing in the s.
It could not be more inaccurate in terms of procedure, the way they talk or the way they dress.
In all the time I was in the CID in the s I never saw a copper in a leather bomber jacket and I never heard an officer call anyone 'guv'. Actually, there were a few police officers in London who started to behave like Regan and Carter in The Sweeney , but that was a case of life following art, not the other way round". Upon Sam Tyler awaking in , he finds himself on a building site, beneath a large advertising board , proclaiming the construction of a new motorway, the Mancunian Way.
In reality, construction of Mancunian Way was completed in According to Matthew Graham, writing in the Radio Times , the error was deliberate. Some, as above, were made out of artistic licence whilst others were deliberately inserted to confuse the issue of whether Sam Tyler was in a coma, mad or really back in time. Many inaccuracies were visible such as modern street furniture, cable television cabinets, satellite television dishes, CCTV cameras, LCD digital watches and double-glazed uPVC window frames, which were all unintentional.
Critical reaction to the first series of Life on Mars was extremely positive. It's funny In practice, it makes for a thumpingly enjoyable piece of television — not least because everybody involved was obviously having such a great time". Once there, in , we find ourselves immersed in a reasonably gripping police drama — yes, The Sweeney , perhaps, with better production values Or put another — undeniably laboured — way, as poor Sam Tyler walks through his sunken dream, I'm hooked to the silver screen". It's vastly enjoyable and manages to stay just about believable thanks to some strong writing and, of course, the two marvellous central performances".
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Nancy Banks-Smith , in The Guardian , felt that the time-paradox aspect of the programme had become somewhat confusing. Two days after the final episode's transmission, Life on Mars was attacked in the British press by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers , who claimed that Gene Hunt's use of homophobic insults in the programme could encourage copycat bullying in schools. In the Guardian ranked it 99th in the top TV shows of the 21st Century.
Life on Mars was a ratings success. The first series achieved an average audience figure of 6. The first series' finale gained 7. Viewing figures for the second series were initially low, with the first episode only attracting 5. John Simm was also nominated as Best Actor for his work on the show. There have been 2 official tie-in books to accompany the series featuring episode summaries, cast and character profiles, music listings to each show, script extracts, plus behind-the-scenes content and never before seen photos. A parody of a police manual that made fun of the conventions of s British police procedurals like The Sweeney.
It also contained a glossary of British s slang terms. The actual author of the text is Guy Adams. The Life on Mars books were published exclusively as eBooks at roughly three-month intervals, but were successful enough to generate the release of hard copy, trade paper editions in August The author of the series is Tom Graham, Matthew Graham's brother. Despite earlier speculation that the brother identity was a pseudonym for another writer—based on a preponderance of misleading evidence that turned out to consist of improbably high coincidence—the by-line, and the familial relationship, are absolutely authentic.
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Content-wise, the novels begin to explore the continuity gap between Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes , picking up approximately where the first TV series leaves off; but it is not necessary to know both series to enjoy the books. Said Tom Graham in a pre-publication interview: "…I made a very conscious decision to move on from the show, not to tinker or play around with pre-existing story lines.
There is more than enough new and unused material for my books without me going back and plundering previous episodes. Though each book can stand on its own, the four are best read as a tetralogy, in order of listing below, as there is a superstructure linking them together. They are:. Each of the book titles is a play on a pop culture phrase or film title that is of, or relevant to, the '70s, those being Blood, Bullets and Babes , A Fistful of Dollars , Borstal Boy and Get Carter.