LIFE On Mars may be ending as we know it but there’s good news for fans of the hit TV drama set in 1973.
BBC1 bosses today confirmed they are developing a spin-off show – also to be named after a David Bowie song – which could be filmed in Manchester next year.
Ashes To Ashes is set in the 1980s and is due to feature some cast members from the original show, if it gets the go-ahead.
The BBC told me this morning that they are in talks with Life on Mars production company Kudos about the proposed new drama.
But it’s still early days and the project has not yet been fully green lit.
A BBC spokeswoman said: “It is in development with Kudos and it is set in the 1980s. No cast, characters or any further details have been confirmed as yet.”
That hasn’t stopped BBC1 controller Peter Fincham getting rather excited about the whole idea. “We’re thrilled to have this spin-off in development,” he said at a TV industry lunch.
“It will be more Miami Vice than The Sweeney. Hopefully, we’ll have several main characters rolling their sleeves up for us.”
The second, and final, series of Life On Mars – filmed in Manchester and Stockport – is due on screen in January.
By the end, viewers will finally learn how modern day detective Sam Tyler, played by John Simm, ended up stranded in 1973.
But his fate, along with that of seventies cop Det Chief Insp Gene Hunt, played by Philip Glenister, is in the balance in what is promised to be a “natural and explosive climax”.
Sam was transported back in time after an accident beside the Mancunian Way at the start of the first series.
The idea for the spin-off, which would be broadcast in 2008, is to re-visit at least some of the seventies Manchester police team some eight years later.
“It will be interesting to see how their lives have changed in that time,” added Mr Fincham. “No doubt they’ll have swapped their flares for shoulder pads.”
For those too young to remember the original Miami Vice TV series, there’s more info here – although it didn’t actually start until 1984.
British cop shows in the early eighties included Juliet Bravo, which began in 1980, Bergerac (1981) and The Bill (1984).
It was also, of course, the era of Dallas (1978-1991) and Dynasty (1981-1989)…hence Peter’s fond memories of shoulder pads.
Click here for lots more on Life On Mars.
Life On Mars Extinct