'Life On Mars'
certainly got the big build-up from the BBC, but the
first episode matched the hype. Philip Glenister apart
it's a cast of not that familiar faces, but it's made an
A police officer from 2006, DI Sam Tyler (John Simm) has
a lot on his mind. His girlfriend and colleague, Maya (Archie
Panjabi), has been kidnapped by a serial killer. Tyler is
then involved in a car accident, and next we hear David
Bowie's classic, 'Life On Mars', playing on the victim's
iPod. Then we hear the same song, but see it's being
played on a cartridge. We're back in 1973, and so is
What unravels is a policeman bewildered and not believing
that he's travelled back in a time, which, to him, seems
light years away from 2006. He's now in a time where
policemen act like sexist cavemen.
DI Tyler tries to fit in, helped by the sensitive and
understanding WPC Annie Cartright (Liz White).
Tyler's boss is DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister), and to
say he's no-nonsense is like saying Cristiano Ronaldo's a
handy footballer. Almost permanently like a bull in a
china shop, he's the most testosterone driven cop on TV
since Jack Regan in that 1970s ITV cop classic, 'The
Sweeney'. More so.
The two other main cops, DC Chris Skelton (Marshall
Lancaster), and DS Ray Carling (Dean Andrews) aren't the
Rather spookily, Tyler sees the 2006 serial killer
suspect as a boy in 1973, and not surprisingly he's
distracted from the murder he's meant to be investigating
- in 1973.
The BBC have obviously pulled out all the stops on this
drama, and the 1973 street scene was immaculately
designed. The official David Bowie website described the
series as a cross between 'The Sweeney' and 'Back To The
Future', and that's not too far from the mark.
Amidst a great musical backdrop of The Who, Lou Reed, and
Cream, 'Life On Mars' makes for gripping television. It's
gritty, but, so far, without the perfunctory foul
language which spoils so many dramas these days. The best
new drama on British TV for maybe a few years.
BBC - Drama - Life On