LIFE On Mars star Marshall Lancaster may surprise a few fans in the second series of the classic TV show.
The Macclesfield actor, who plays clumsy Detective Constable Chris Skelton, will be back on screen with Sam, Gene and co in the New Year.
My interviews with the cast are embargoed until nearer transmission, so I’m unable to reveal what’s in store for Chris and the rest of the team.
But there is some news for viewers, including me, who simply can’t wait for the new – and final – BBC1 series to start.
Firstly, Marshall is about to pop up in Coronation Street as Slug, a character linked to bad girl Becky, played by Katherine Kelly.
He’ll be on screen next week as Life On Mars: The Official Guide To Series One (pictured) goes on sale at a book shop or online retailer near you.
It’s an absolute must for fans of the Manchester and Stockport filmed drama, which gets my vote for the best TV show of 2006.
And there are also more details in this week’s trade magazine Broadcast about the much anticipated animation sequence in the new series.
Intended as a homage to the 1970s stop-frame children’s favourite Camberwick Green, it will form the opening sequence in episode five.
Life On Mars production company Kudos turned to Altrincham-based HOT Animation for the fantasy scene.
They’re the animation specialists behind shows like Bob The Builder and Pingu.
“It was perfect for us,” HOT managing director Jackie Cockle told Broadcast. “The series is set and filmed in Manchester.
“We visited the set at BBC Oxford Road to create a miniature of the set and exterior scenes that reflected how Manchester looked at that time.”
They also created puppets – nine-inch likenesses of the main cast.
“Kudos gave us all the reference material for John Simm and Philip Glenister,” added Jackie.
“It was interesting to take live action as the starting point into stop-frame.”
Set design and build took three weeks and included a mix of actual props from the set.
A further two weeks was required to shoot the one-minute sequence, with an average of eight seconds footage filmed each day.
And finally, Life On Mars is nominated in the Best Drama category at the International Emmy Awards in New York on Monday.
Check out the links below, including the excellent Life On Mars fansite: The Railway Arms.
Mine’s a pint of Watney’s and a pickled egg…
Also click here for lots more on Life On Mars.
Camberwick Green 1
Camberwick Green 2
Life On Mars Set Visit
Life On Mars Extinct
Hello…is that 1981?
The Railway Arms