THE stars of top TV dramas get all the limelight. But they’re usually among the first to credit the production teams who bring them to the screen.
Read the closing titles for Life On Mars and you’ll realise just what a team effort the BBC1 hit is.
So there was much sadness when stunt co-ordinator Peter Brayham died in December.
One of the world’s top stuntmen over the last 40 years, he worked on five episodes in the first series of Life On Mars and a number in the second.
John Simm told me: “He was a lovely guy who worked on both series and was brilliant at stunts. He was also a stunt guy for The Sweeney. It’s a tragedy.”
Peter enjoyed an incredible career, providing a link from early TV classics all the way to Sam Tyler and Gene Hunt.
His TV credits include The Prisoner, Danger Man, The Professionals, Bergerac, Minder, Softly Softly, Doctor Who and Hustle.
On the big screen he doubled for John Wayne, James Coburn, Oliver Reed and Michael Caine. He also worked on several Bond films and Bridget Jones’ Diary.
You can check out more of his credits here.
Peter’s death came just a few weeks after that of John Simm’s drama teacher Brian Wellock – Head of Drama at Edge Hill High School in Nelson.
“If it wasn’t for Brian Wellock, I wouldn’t be sat here talking about Life On Mars, because I wouldn’t be an actor,” said John.
“I’ll always be eternally grateful to him. He was the guy who I first tentatively mentioned it to in the school corridor.
“I said that I’d seen Rebel Without A Cause and I thought James Dean was really good.
“He could have just gone, ‘Wow, good,’ and walked past. But he didn’t. He went, ‘Why don’t you come to the class?’ He was a real mentor.”
*As detailed in the last Life On Mars blog, there’s no episode on BBC1 tomorrow because of live football coverage, although a repeat of episode one in this second series can be seen on BBC4 at 10pm.
But there is some good news for fans missing their weekly fix of new material from Sam, Gene, Annie, Chris, Ray and fabulous Phyllis.
Life On Mars has been nominated as Best Drama Series in the Royal Television Society Programme Awards, to be held on March 13.
It faces competition from Doctor Who and Salford-filmed The Street.
Philip Glenister has also been nominated as Best Actor for his role as the Sheriff of Manchester – aka Det Chief Insp Gene Hunt.
Again, the judges face a tough choice. Jim Broadbent is nominated for his superb performance as Labour peer Lord Longford in C4’s Longford, with Michael Sheen also in the running for BBC4’s Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!
And one more word about episode five – the “Camberwick Green” story on screen next month, written by Matthew Graham.
Memorable quotes in script lines this series have followed the fine tradition of the first series.
But Sam has a line for Gene just before the opening credits in episode five which is a work of total genius.
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