Life On Mars

THE bottles of Old Spice and Hai Karate aftershave are still in Gene’s office and a jar of pickled eggs sits behind the bar of The Railway Arms.
Earlier this week I spent a day on set in Manchester during filming for the second series of BBC1’s Life on Mars – the best drama on TV last year by some distance. And that includes Bleak House.
The main interviews with cast and crew have to be held back until nearer transmission. But from what I saw and heard, fans of the show won’t be disappointed when it returns early next year. Even the most avid student of Life on Mars should be satisfied.
It’s been hot in the city for the TV team this summer. The heatwave has caused problems for Philip Glenister, who plays Det Chief Insp Gene Hunt in a big camel coat. “It’s been pretty nightmarish,” he told me.
But there’s another reason why the Gene Genie has been getting hot under the collar while making the second series of the hit drama set in 1973.

One of the eight new episodes sees three former Coronation Street actresses guest starring in a sizzling slice of seventies life, with a story including scenes at a swingers’ party.
Blackpool star Georgia Taylor, who was Corrie’s Toyah Battersby, plays a local beauty rep in the plot which also involves Clare McGlinn, recently seen again as Matt Ramsden’s wife Charlie.
And Eva Pope, still remembered as Weatherfield’s Tanya Pooley, co-stars alongside Phil in what promises to be another classic Life on Mars moment.
With the end of filming now in sight, there’s huge anticpation among fans about the contents of the new series There’s also feverish speculation about the fate of modern day detective Sam Tyler, played by John Simm, mysteriously transported back to the seventies after an accident beside the Mancunian Way.
Life on Mars can be watched on several levels, from straight Back To The Future meets The Sweeney crime drama to a much deeper viewing experience, with possible clues to what is happening to Sam scattered in each episode.
Is Sam in a coma imagining the whole thing, or is he really back living in 1973? Several sites have sprung up on the web to discuss the series and everything surrounding it, including The Railway Arms and Life in 1973.
My lips must remain sealed for now, but other storylines in the second series include a spate of bombings in the city, which Gene immediately blames on the IRA.

Sam is astonished to meet his modern day mentor and inspiration, Chief Insp Glenn Fletcher, played by Outlaws actor Ray Emmet Brown, but as a fresh-faced new seventies recruit, facing the racist attitudes of his new colleages.
Pirates of the Caribbean star Kevin McNally plays Gene’s own mentor Supt Harry Woolf and Hustle’s Marc Warren – as you’ve never seen him before – is sleazy Manchester casino owner Tony Crane, another ghost from Sam’s “future past”.
The first series, acclaimed by viewers as one of the top TV dramas of recent years, is currently being screened on BBC America to rave reviews. Ally McBeal creator David E Kelley is also working on a brand new US version for American TV network ABC.
No decision will be taken on a possible third UK series until next year. One other option is a final two-part special. Phil told me: “I’m not even thinking about it. I’m just going to finish filming this one and let the powers that be decide.”
Executive producer Claire Parker says: “The boys are back with a kick and a punch. Series two of Life on Mars is even darker and more surprising than before and still liberally sprinkled with humour and more of Gene Hunt’s ‘insightful’ words of wisdom!
“Whatever the audience thinks they know will be challenged and we will certainly still want to keep the audience guessing. There will be more revelations that will help Sam to work out why he is in 1973, but there will also be some shocking surprises that will rock Sam’s world, both in 1973 and 2006.”
Click here for lots more on Life On Mars.
Read more about “unlikely sex symbol” Phil here.


Filed under Life On Mars

25 responses to “Life On Mars

  1. Sounds brilliant, thanks for a brilliant preview.

  2. I thought you’d like to be aware of this Philip Glenister forum:
    Many thanks
    Paul Davies

  3. Carole

    I loved your write up but havent they now decided that this series will be the final one? Im sure I heard that somewhere, but I am hoping they will do more.

  4. Ian Wylie

    Thanks Carole – put Life On Mars into the “Search this blog” box at the top of the page for later news and reports about the second series, which will be the last.

  5. Mandy

    It all sounds great, but when will they start screening it?

  6. Ian Wylie

    Mandy – the second series starts in February. I have the date but am not able to reveal it as yet. All will soon become clear.

  7. Diane

    Hi Ian
    I wish you could let us know the date… I’m a frustrated avid fan whose going on holiday tomorrow and don’t know whether to set the video!

  8. Ian Wylie

    Hi Diane…check out the latest blog entry:
    BBC1, 9pm Tuesday Feb 13th.

  9. warren

    cant wait for next series,im totally hooked and currently watching it on bbc4 after watching re runs on bravo,gets better every time…quality.

  10. Joanne

    I love this programme, it is a nightmare in our home trying to work out , is he in the past, or is he actually from the past and went into the future, Did he die in the future, and his body being used for a advanced experiment like Quantum Leap. He is in a coma, and someone is reading him a book, when he wakes up it is Gene and he just winks the end. I love Lost, but this could throw it out the water, easily.



  12. Ian Wylie

    Sorry David, there are no legal downloads of episode seven I can direct you to.

  13. Leslie

    I will leave you with a conudurum why Gene Hunt?
    Is this a search for a specific set of genes?

  14. Ian Wylie

    Leslie – thanks for your comment. If you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to click on the link to check out later blogs on Life On Mars.

  15. dale roberts

    life on mars has been brilliant and find myself counting the days till the next episode please carry the series on to series three.

  16. Janice

    Please please make series 3 soon. My mum and all of our family loves this program and we are very upset that it has ended.
    Sam is her favourite and she is going to miss him very much. My mums name is Doreen, please make her happy with a series 3.

  17. Mary

    brilliant. the ending was literally over the top what a way to go, tongue hanging out for more, (but fear there wont be,) its over…………Tuesdays go back to to normal but will life ever be the same.

  18. Ian Wylie

    Mary – go to the top right hand of this page and click on “Life On Mars” under “Categories” for later blog entries, including one tonight: “Life On Mars: Ashes To Ashes” plus lots more tomorrow.

  19. Alex Rankin

    Please, please you must make series three! It was the best cop show on tv for years!

  20. Reddragon

    Hi we emigrated to Portugal on the weekend before the last episode of Life on Mars and we missed the final episode! Does anyone know where I can download this last episode? We are desperate to know how it all ended!! thanks.

  21. Ian Wylie

    Reddragon – as I’m sure you know, the series two DVD is available at very reasonable online prices in UK / Europe region 2 format. Well worth it for the last ep and all the extras – Amazon UK, for example, deliver to Portugal for a small extra charge. Also presume you’ve avoiding all the later entries in this blog about the ending / DVD etc etc to avoid spoiling your viewing. Otherwise, sadly, not able to recommend a download source as it is, of course, a breach of the BBC / Kudos copyright.

  22. Ali Lindsay

    You have to make a 3rd Series as the previous two were absolutely brill…. really miss Gene’s sexist comments!!!! what diamond one liners he had….. come on guys pull your fingers out & get on with writing the 3rd series…. DON’T LET AMERICA RUIN IT!!!

  23. Ian Wylie

    Hi Ali – have you caught up with Ashes To Ashes?

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