Life On Mars: Marshall Lancaster

THERE’S a cracking episode of Life On Mars to enjoy on BBC1 tonight as the final series reaches the half way mark.
Episode four is the one featuring the Cheshire wife-swapping party, Sam not wearing his leather jacket and the arrival of Tony and Cherie Blair.
It’s also the story which includes no fewer than three ex-Corrie actresses and one current Rovers regular.
You can read more here in today’s MEN feature interview with Marshall Lancaster, who plays DC Chris Skelton.
Having also seen episodes five and six, Life On Mars appears to be getting better the closer it moves towards the final curtain.

Tonight’s story is written by Life On Mars co-creator Ashley Pharoah, whose long drama CV includes creating Wild At Heart.
We learn a little more about Chris and also about how modern day detective Sam Tyler feels about being stranded in 1973.

Marshall is every bit as likeable in real life as he is on screen. When we met, he’d just come back from shopping for his gran’s birthday present.
As usual, there wasn’t enough room to include all of the interview in the MEN. (And by the way, watch out for a puddle some nine minutes and 20 seconds into tonight’s episode)
So here are a few other selected extracts.
One question that puzzles some is exactly how old Chris is meant to be. “I think he’s one of these 25 going on 16 people. But he’s got to be reasonably older, because you wouldn’t become a DC at 17 or 18 would you? I’d imagine he’s about 25 or 26.”
Marshall brought his dog on set with him – a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Lola.
“I’ve tried to get her in this many a time. And there was a bit last series where our heads were meant to morph into dogs, and again I was trying to get her in. But they didn’t actually use it in the end. She’d upstage me anyway.”
What does he like about playing Chris? “I suppose I get to eat a lot of doughnuts and bacon butties.

“I just like coming up with the one-liners, especially as the show has so much tension.
“I think the best way to get a laugh is to say it as seriously as possible. You’ve got to believe it.”
He’s since gone on to play Slug in Coronation Street – that’s him pictured left with Weatherfield’s Becky, played by Katherine Kelly.
Katherine also has a guest role in tonight’s Life On Mars. Sam fans of an emotional nature may need a tissue handy.
The Railway Arms