Life On Mars: The Answers

WAS he mad, in a coma, back in time, or all three?
Millions of viewers saw the stunning finale to Life On Mars last night at the end of a two year TV rollercoaster ride.
In an exclusive first interview, lead writer and co-creator Matthew Graham spoke to me about both the conclusion of the BBC1 drama and the new spin-off series Ashes To Ashes.
And he revealed that – at its heart – Life On Mars was all about Sam In Wonderland.
There’s a feature in today’s MEN, but I thought fans of the show, including the regulars at The Railway Arms, would appreciate the long version, plus a few extras..
After all, there are things that people just need to know about LoM, nominated today as Best Drama Series in next month’s BAFTA TV Awards, with John Simm winning a hugely deserved Best Actor nomination.
The series is also nominated for the Pioneer Audience Award, voted for by the public.
So with apologies for a very unusual blog entry today, below are some of the secrets of the Life On Mars universe.
First, more good news, as I revealed here last night.

It was already known that Philip Glenister would return to the role of DCI Gene Hunt in Ashes To Ashes, set in 1981 London.
Now it can be confirmed that filming begins this summer, when the Gene Genie will be joined by DS Ray Carling (Dean Andrews) and DC Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster), with all three transferred from North West District CID to the Metropolitan Police.

The eight-part series will be screened on BBC1 next year.
Aside from Eighties’ fashions, Gene will also have to cope with a sexy new female sidekick, DCI Alex Drake, who has yet to be cast.
After an accident in 2008, the no-nonsense detective finds herself back in time, interacting with characters she’d previously read about in reports logged by a certain Sam Tyler.
“We like to say it’s Moonlighting meets Miami Vice with a smattering of Howard’s Way,” laughed Matthew.
Gene will also swap his Ford Cortina for the original Audi Quattro. “The car has got to be something butch, big and gas-guzzling. At the moment it’s spanking red. We’ve already coined Gene’s new catchphrase, which is, ‘Ray, fire up the Quattro!’
“We started working on it right back in October last year. And then I started writing the scripts a couple of months ago. So episode one is written and Ashley Pharoah is delivering episode two.”
So why the switch to London? “We felt like we had to really change things, make it look different and feel different. And it’s really hard in Manchester. We’ve used a lot of the locations and were already repeating ourselves a little bit on Mars.
“It would have been quite a struggle to find a fresh look in a city without showing anything too modern.
“And London was going through a slightly more interesting transition than Manchester in 1981, so we thought there was more to exploit.
“Musically it was kicking off a bit more, you’ve got the Docklands development starting, the riots – there just seemed to be more we could do.

“Manchester, Bolton, Stockport and the other locations were fantastic for Life On Mars.
“We only moved the show to Manchester about two months before we started filming. Up until then it had been Leeds, before that it was London
“And I’m so glad we went to Manchester because it was an absolutely fantastic place to film.”
But how do you follow a drama as brilliant and loved as the two series of Life On Mars?
“There were huge qualms. I was really unsure about the whole idea. I thought we were milking the cash cow – until I started writing.
“We had story conferences where brilliant ideas were thrown around and we got very excited. But still lurking at the back of my mind was that feeling, ‘Is this right? Shouldn’t we just be leaving it now?’
“And then I started writing it and the world just sprung into my head. It felt so clear what we were trying to do.
“It’s going to feel like Life On Mars but bigger and with a real sexual chemistry between the two leads – Gene and Alex. She’s very different to Sam. We’ve opened up the universe without breaking the logic.
“There’s more to know about Gene Hunt, about what he represents and what he is. I think Ashes will take us on a bit of a journey.”

There was even a clue about the set up of the new series in last night’s farewell Life On Mars.
Which brings us to that ending.
It saw Sam (John Simm) waking up from his coma back in the modern day, where he struggled to feel alive.
Viewers later saw him jump from the roof of his Manchester police HQ, back into 1973, where he saved the lives of Gene and the rest of his A-Division colleagues.
He then finally agreed to stay forever with Annie (Liz White) – did you notice the rainbow in their “Meet Me On The Corner” moment? – before the CID team drove off into the distance.
As has been said several times, you can’t please everyone.
But judging by the online reaction across the web, the vast majority of LoM fans were both thrilled and satisfied by the conclusion.
It was the ending that Matthew and his co-creators had planned from the very start.
“We had to be strong and stay true to the line that we always intended.
“For me, it was much more important that there was a strong emotional closure to the story. That was more important than a massive twist, although I still think we managed to try and pull the rug out from under the audience a little bit.
“I have to say, it’s nice to be able to talk about it openly,” he laughed. “I’ve always had to be so coy in the past.
“To be honest with you, I was always slightly surprised that people thought there was a genuine mystery. To me, it was very obvious – he got hit by a car, the doctors and nurses were speaking to him over the radio and through the television and he was in a coma.
“The fact is that he just began to suspect that there seemed to be a way in which he could change his world and so, obviously, naturally once he’s there for quite a period of time, he begins to assimilate so much of that world into himself. He starts to question whether he was ever anywhere else.
“There was always a bit of that, but I never thought the audience would fall for that. And it was brilliant when they did, the first time around. But then we realised we had to start being a little bit more careful about saying definitively, on the record, that he was in a coma.
“We realised that that mystery was one of the things that gave the show some spice. So then we just kept that going.
“But I’d always intended for him to wake up.

“When it actually came to writing him waking up, I just couldn’t bear him staying in 2007. I just couldn’t stand it. It was horrible, even writing him waking up. I thought, ‘Oh God, I hate this, I don’t want him here.’
“And so, originally, we were going to end it on him waking up, but literally having him find some kind of resolution.
“I think we were going to have a scene where he went into a modern pub and the landlord was trying to kick some guys out – and they were just giving the landlord a load of gyp.
“And the landlord pushes one of the guys and the guy says, ‘Hey mate, you touch me and I can sue you for assault.’
“Sam just watches this moment and then imagines Gene Hunt bursting into the pub, beating the crap out of these guys.
“The idea was going to be that Sam had brought a little of Gene’s methodology into the modern world.
“It was all very intellectual and fine, but it was just so cold and I suddenly realised I didn’t care. I just wanted him to go back.
“So we all got together, talked about it and then we came up with this idea of having them trapped in the tunnel and having him say to Annie, ‘I promise I’ll be back for you,’ and playing it that way.
“But it was a tough one, because we had to persuade the BBC that the main character of this hit show should commit suicide – they asked some questions about it. There was a certain reservation, initially, because, obviously, Sam has a big following.”
The “false ending” where Sam jumps got a huge round of applause when the final episode was premiered at BAFTA in London last week. “That amazed me, that people saw it as such a positive act.
“I think that’s slightly a testament to John’s brilliant acting at that moment, as well.”
Matthew added: “It’s not supposed to be a searing indictment on modern society, but more a comment on Sam. He was clearly a deeply repressed human being – I don’t think 2006 or 2007 brought out the best in Sam Tyler.
“He was caught up in his emotional red tape. He couldn’t seem to do his job without feeling he needed to sign forms in triplicate.
“And clearly, when he went to sleep he wanted to be in a freer place, a place where his mother was a young, beautiful woman and his dad was his hero, and it was a world of fast cars – that was his liberation.
“So I think it was more about him personally than us trying to say, ‘It was all better then.’”

Whatever Matthew intended, fans have taken ownership of Life On Mars, and the ending, with Sam back in 1973, can still be viewed in different ways.
Simm, himself, believes his character may not even have returned to the modern day.
It depends on what you want to believe.
“I think it does,” agrees Matthew. “The truth is, when I wrote it, what I was trying to say is that’s he’s died, and that for however long that last second of life is going to be, it will stretch out for an age, as an eternity for him. And so when he drives off in that car, he’s really driving off into the afterlife.”
Life On Mars was more than just a hit drama. It made a real emotional connection with its audience.
What is it about the series that really stirred people?
“A lot’s made of the nostalgic aspect of it. But I don’t think it is that. I think if it was nostalgia, it would only hit one demographic, and it hasn’t hit just one at all.
“I think it’s purely the characters. People love to watch those characters. They feel a great affection for them and, ultimately, it’s not a cop show and it’s not a time travel show, it’s Alice In Wonderland, that’s what it is.
“And that template of a journeyman, going through the looking glass into a magical world is an archetypal story, and people respond to archetypal stories.
“I don’t think it’s the music or the car or the Seventies. I think that’s an added bonus.
“But I know kids who watch the show and love it, who don’t even know who David Bowie is, let alone who Mott The Hoople are.
“It’s something else. It’s the fantasy journey. Stranger in a strange land. I think that’s the thing that people are responding to.
John Simm made clear last year that he would not be appearing in the spin-off and there are no plans to involve him.
So is this the last we’ll see of Sam Tyler, happy in 1973 cop heaven?
Matthew’s not sure. “You shouldn’t write him off completely.
“You never know with Life On Mars.”
Update: Click here for more from Matthew and episode eight director SJ Clarkson on Sam’s leap from the rooftop.

Extras 1:
The final moments of Life On Mars featured the scary Test Card Girl – “none of this is real” – skipping down the alley to switch off our TVs.
“It was written in the full knowledge that the show, and that episode, would be analysed to pieces, because we obviously knew by then that it was a show that people liked to analyse,” revealed Matthew.
“And that last moment is really me saying, ‘Don’t worry about it. It’s just a piece of television, it’s just a story and it’s come to an end.’
“It is an in-joke, but it’s certainly not meant in any way disparagingly or arrogantly.
“It’s just supposed to be, ‘That’s enough of that, off you go, do something else now, we’ll turn the telly off.’
“I felt that was very much in the spirit of the show.”
Extras 2:
LIFE On Mars sent fans into a frenzy of speculation. But sometimes they read too much into certain “clues”.
The phone number Hyde 2612 turned out to be the number of Sam’s hospital room on Hyde Ward. “It had no greater reference than that.
“It just came out of nowhere, because it scanned,” added Matthew, who was fascinated to learn that some fans had spotted a biblical link.
“I love the fact that Life On Mars has inspired people. It’s absolutely wonderful.
“I sometimes get worried that they get so frustrated and very irate about things that they want to happen and haven’t happened, and they compare everything so closely.
“I always worry. I think – nothing can survive under this much scrutiny. It’s impossible.
“But as long as they’re enjoying it and getting huge pleasure from it, then that gives me a lot of satisfaction.
“In both series, though, we have put in a cheeky dig at Channel 4, who, of course, turned the show down a couple of years ago, said it was very stupid and no-one would want to watch it.
“In series one they’re watching porn films and Sam says, ‘I’ve seen a lot worse on Channel 4.’

“And then last night, the moment when Frank Morgan says, ‘If you need me,’ gives Sam the radio, and says, ‘You’ll find me on Channel 4.’ That’s just our cheeky little nothing. An innocent sideswipe at Channel 4.”
Many picked up on the name of the the incoming Acting DCI from Hyde – Frank Morgan. That was also the name of the actor who played the title role in the Wizard of Oz film.
There were also obvious references in the David Bowie song Life On Mars to the lawman beating up the wrong guy and a sunken dream.
“It’s just a nice way of resonating things. It doesn’t have a big meaning but for some reason it feels like we can make those little connections.”
He adds: “We found the phone ringing at the end of the Life On Mars track very haunting. Somebody pointed out that it sounded like we ended up in CID, because you hear a couple of people talking and a phone ringing.
“So in episode one of the first series, the director carried on the track – he allowed those effects to blend in from the end of the song into CID.
“And, yes, we’ve deliberately made sure the phone sounded like the phone at the end of the Life On Mars song.”
Matthew has already revealed the choice of Hyde was inspired by Sam and Gene as Jekyll and Hyde.- the classic good versus evil story.
“I thought people might pick up on that but no-one really did. Maybe it’s because I referenced it to Sam, rather than made it that Gene came from Hyde.
“We actually had to fight to get Hyde because Harold Shipman comes from Hyde, and there was a worry about it.
“I can’t remember why. It’s one of those strange things that sometimes happen in production, that people suddenly express a concern about a political reference or a connection to something in current affairs.
“It bugged people for a while, and we were going to have to change it. But I’m really glad we didn’t in the end.”
The “we filmed two endings” line was a white lie, designed to try and protect the one ending that was filmed.
“We can only just about afford to film one ending. We put that out because we had a couple of close calls with journalists trying to get on to the set.
“A couple of guys were threatening they were going to find out the ending and blow it.
“We thought, ‘We can’t really stop people getting access to ordinary streets and it’s really easy when you’re filming in the middle of Manchester to just come along, stand around and watch what’s going on.’
“So we thought we’d put out some disinformation about two endings. But I’m not sure if anyone really falls for it.”
Extras 3:
Matthew (pictured right) has the “Here Lies Sam Tyler. Born May 1831. Died Nov 1881” Victorian gravestone in pride of place at the top of the stairs in his house.

“The babysitter came round and it totally threw her. She walked in and said, ‘Hang on, it says Sam Tyler 1881? That’s impossible, there’s no way you can fit that into the show.’
“She simply couldn’t imagine how we could get a Victorian Sam Tyler into the show.”
It was just one of the script deflections designed to keep viewers on their toes.
“I was really pleased with that because I knew it would throw everybody.
“It’s a wonderful plasterboard gravestone that just looks totally real. I’ve kept the grass around it – at night it’s lit by one single light from above…Sam Tyler’s illuminated gravestone. It has freaked out a few people.”
Extras 4:
Many fans felt barman Nelson – Sam’s spirit guide in more ways than one – was underused in the second series.
“I feel we underserved Nelson, ultimately. I wanted more from him. I wanted to use the character more, always intended to use the character more,” said Matthew.
“I can’t really pinpoint exactly why we haven’t. I think it’s partly because the stories filled up a lot of the screen time and became very important.
“It actually became a level of introspection too much, if we had more scenes of Sam discussing with Nelson.
“I was originally going to have a scene where Sam, towards the end of series two, decided he was going to abandon the world and escape from it – literally just leave the city and keep walking until he fell off the edge.
“And Nelson warned him against it. And Sam said, ‘I don’t need you Nelson.’
“And at that moment he literally turns away and turns back, and Nelson’s not in the bar. He’s gone.
“It was supposed to fill the audience with dread that he’d actually got rid of his good spirit guide and that meant he was going to get into a lot of trouble.
“In the end, we decided not to overplay Nelson, and just keep him as a slightly enigmatic pub landlord.
“But I love the stuff he comes up with in episode eight, I like that scene where he says, ‘I see a darkness in you.’”
Was it just a co-incidence that Nelson was named after the Lancashire town where Simm was raised? Did John have any say in that?
“He may have done, because originally Nelson was called Xavier – saviour, and then he became Abraham. Maybe John did come up with Nelson.”
*Nelson’s pivotal last episode advice to Sam is in last night’s blog. Check out the Life On Mars: Ashes To Ashes link at the bottom of this blog.
Extras 5:
Did anyone ever try to hack into Matthew’s computer to discover the ending?
“I haven’t noticed anything, no. But I’ve had a few strange letters and a couple of bribes.
“One guy, who was anonymous, was basically offering me money – he wouldn’t say how much – to tell him how it ended.
“I was supposed to post the answer into his PO Box and then just presumably sit around twiddling my thumbs waiting for him to send me a cheque.
“So in the end I sent him a letter to the PO Box, saying that we knew who he was and we’d bugged his car. I reminded him I used to work on Spooks and I knew all about surveillence! I never heard from him again.”
Extras 6: The Official Ashes To Ashes Press Release
After a gripping finale to the critically acclaimed and multi award winning Life on Mars, Kudos, Monastic Productions and the BBC are delighted to announce the next chapter: Ashes to Ashes.
DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) is back but he’s no longer the self styled ‘Sheriff of Manchester’. Flanked by his faithful sidekicks, Ray Carling (Dean Andrews) and Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster), and drawn by the action and intrigue of the London Met, Gene’s turned his attentions to taking on the ‘southern nancy’ criminal scum. However, Gene did not expect to be thrown together with a sexy, intelligent, DCI Alex Drake.
Single mother to daughter Molly, Alex has rapidly risen through the ranks of the Met, and in the modern world of 2008, skilfully uses psychological profiling to capture suspects. When Alex and her daughter are kidnapped, she makes a daring attempt at escape, resulting in a horrific accident. Alex suddenly finds herself in 1981 interacting with familiar characters, not just from her own life-time, but also from the detailed reports logged by none other than Sam Tyler, which Alex has previously spent months pouring over.
Alex is ripped from her current world of sexual equality and respect in 2008, and finds herself opposite an arrogant fellow DCI, in a two tone, ‘New Romantic’ 80’s London with a soundtrack of Adam Ant, Roxy Music and The Human League ringing in her ears.
Alex finds some of Gene’s team has dispersed yet others, loyal as ever, are still in tow. Now a technological whiz kid in the squad’s surveillance team, DC Chris Skelton has clearly moved with the times, along with a tight-permed DS Ray Carling who’s keen to experience London’s nightlife.
Frustrated by each other’s stubbornness, the friction between Alex and Gene heats up. However, as the two titans collide, it becomes apparent there is more than just a professional tension emerging.
With the producers’ search to cast the strong willed, DCI Alex Drake currently underway, filming is due to begin in London this summer, for transmission on BBC ONE next year.
Jane Featherstone, executive producer for Kudos commented; “Ashes to Ashes is the next chapter in the life of Gene Hunt, as seen through the eyes of a modern, no nonsense woman. It’s a touch of Moonlighting teamed with a measure of Miami Vice! The search for Gene’s sexy side-kick is definitely on; she’ll hopefully give him a serious run for his money!”
BBC Wales Head of Drama, Julie Gardner continues; “Sam Tyler took us on an amazing journey with Life on Mars but his story always had a definite life span. However, fans will be excited to learn that Gene Hunt lives on through Ashes to Ashes and we’re certain they will love his eighties escapades.”
Ashes to Ashes is written and created by Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharaoh, two creators of the award winning Life on Mars. With additional writing credits for Mark Greig (Life on Mars), Mick Ford (William and Mary) and Julie Rutterford (Life on Mars). It is produced by Kudos, in association with Monastic Productions, the new production company of Graham and Pharaoh.
Graham also executive produces for Monastic Productions, alongside Jane Featherstone and Simon Crawford Collins for Kudos and BBC Wales Head of Drama, Julie Gardner, who has also commissioned the series. Ashes to Ashes is produced by Beth Willis.
*The Life On Mars Series Two DVD is released next Monday.
Update: Click here for more from both Matthew Graham and episode eight director SJ Clarkson about Sam’s leap from the rooftop.
Life On Mars: Ashes To Ashes
Life On Mars Blogs
Life On Mars MEN TV Stories
The Railway Arms
Vote for the BAFTA Pioneer Audience Award here.



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82 responses to “Life On Mars: The Answers

  1. Francesca W

    I really wasn’t sure whether Sam had died, not really woken up or actually been a slightly mad 70s cop who could see the future, so I’m slightly sad to have it resolved for me. The thing is, now we know it was all in Sam’s head, how can Gene Hunt and his sidekicks go on to another series? I suppose it doesn’t matter though, does it. Gene Hunt is probably the most popular character on British TV for a number of years (he certainly is in our house). Bizarre isn’t it, when in a certain light you can see him only as a violent thug.

  2. Mike Lowe

    Great blog and great to read that there wasn’t anything too complicated going on after all! He was in a coma where he experienced an existence that in the end made him feel more alive than in the real world. He chose the opposite to Tom Cruise’s character in Vanilla Sky with which there are a number of similarities. Nelson’s line about what’s real and what makes us alive is great for a philosophical discussion. I’m glad to have the very ending sorted out, that in fact he dies and you hear the last frantic attempts to save him on the radio before he flatlines. My gut reaction at the time was that it was too much of a ‘happy’ ending after the brilliant and emotionally desperate time Sam experienced in 2007. Sam’s death wasn’t obvious and you could read that he’d unrealistically returned to a coma state and carried on. But driving off into the afterlife is in fact a brilliant ending.
    Too much again will be read into how Gene could reappear in someone else’s coma, but let’s face it we’re after a well written entertaining piece of television. Gene is in fact an incarnation (or genie!) who is alive and well in most people’s heads, especially those old enough to remember the 70s and 80s!
    When you can suspend your disbelief and be immersed in a characters emotion you know you’re looking at great, thought provoking entertainment. Fantastic.

  3. Chris

    Firstly Ian thank you for the great blogs throughout the series. They have been a first class read and really enjoyable. And to the writers,cast and production team thank you. Am so sad thats its ended but it shall go down as one of the classic television dramas of all time.
    The finale itself was absolutly terrific. I always wanted Sam to stay, for him and Gene had become best friends not just colleagues! Am also glad Sam and Annie finally got together and admitted their feelings! It’s been obvious since the first espisode that there was a connection between them and throughout the series you seen them fall in love with one another. I loved the way they harked back a lot to the opening episode, with Sam on the roof and the camara going round him ( i thought they were going to be awful and end it there with him stuck in a time he no longer wanted to be in!), and Sam again putting his hand on Annies heart to feel it beat.
    People can interpet the ending in different ways but what i would say is just enjoy it. For me Sam had always been in a coma but his soul had somehow been knocked back to 1973. Just because he dies in 2007 i personally don’t think that means 1973 wasn’t real. It just simply means he chose to live in another time where he felt he belonged. Whatever way people chose to interupt the ending though just enjoy it and don’t get to worked up about it !Life on Mars has given us top writing, a quality cast and a huge amount of joy in the two years that its been on. Thank you to everyone involved in its production. It’s been pure class.

  4. Colin Harris

    The link to Alex’s story is clear – the press release says “Alex suddenly finds herself in 1981 interacting with familiar characters, not just from her own life-time, but also from the detailed reports logged by none other than Sam Tyler, which Alex has previously spent months pouring over.”
    We saw Sam making a tape of his thoughts in the final episode and it’s clear that Alex’s subconscious will push her imagination to use this source material when she has own accident.

  5. I won’t dilate on the superb comments posted above. But since they show I’m not alone in minor niggles, just to add one or two riders.
    Does the flat-lining at the end indicate that Sam was in a second operation after he’d jumped in a real ‘2006/7’? This could have been underlined with a couple of very brief voice-overs during the black-out interval, very faint. If he’s still in the same op that he’s been in throughout the two series, and decides to fade off into eternity, then wasn’t the ‘2006/7’ recovery, unreal as it was to him, any more than a false waking? It simply couldn’t be the same op if he’d really woken from his coma; but there’s no distinction made here. It’s a small fault, but crucial to our understanding. Still, we now have the promise of his notes read by a ‘real 2008’ DI Alex from ‘Ashes to Ashes’…. Will some mention be made of a real suicide?
    The Frank Morgan red herrings with the gravestones and 1973 ‘Sam Williams’ version of his coma seem to indicate one set of these hallucinatory solutions, and (as I posted earlier about Christopher Priest’s novel ‘The Wessex Project’) it’s possible to read into this that Sam never really woke at all, that 2006/7 was a level above the deep coma, but not quite the waking world with its real feeling, which he decides to relinquish for ever by jumping back from the lighter coma to the deeper one, relapse into that deeper coma, and die – in that last eternal second speeding off into eternity.
    I agree with previous bloggers who hope there’s some mention of Sam and Annie’s happy (Hyde?) home life in ‘Ashes to Ashes’ – why not? It’s no less ‘real’. It’d contrast with DI Alex’s version (if she gives one) of Sam Tyler’s suicide, if such it was, and not a relapse into coma. One red herring for everyone was that, knowing Gene genie returns in ‘Ashes to Ashes’ , some of us assumed that he wasn’t a projection of Sam’s after all. Now it seems Sam’s 2006/7 notes carry the most most powerful auto-suggestion to another person in the history of the unconscious! Please tie up the threads, guys, however obliquely.
    I loved the Channel 4 jokes – but enumerating felicities would last longer than the test-card girl’s switch-off and the little white pin-point of the old TVs fading forever.

  6. Arthur Dorman

    You say “…the vast majority of LoM fans were both thrilled and satisfied by the conclusion.”
    But according to the Beeb’s own poll asking “did LoM have a satisfying conclusion”, the results are currently 60:40 for yes:no. So not exactly a “vast” majority! I think the ending wasn’t very good. Not rubbish mind, just not very good.

  7. Emmie

    Thanks again for this Ian. It’s great to hear from Matthew and the writers what was behind the finale. And great that you are such a fan and truly love the show as much as the rest of us! I’m very happy with how it ended. Sam stayed where he was truly happy. I think with some time, the fans who may disappointed will see that. I’m excited for Ashes to Ashes. More Gene Hunt is always a good thing!

  8. Jamie Gollings

    I’m 16 years old, so dont know much about the 70s, but after LoM I wish I was there. Man, I couldnt stop my spine tingling throughout last night’s ep. “Life on Mars” is now my favourite song, especially when it’s being played over some intense moment in the show. I was a little confused over the ending last night, although the 70s-is-coma 00s-is real-but-didnt-feel-real scenario did feel more likely. I’m happier with that one to be honest, but feeling a bit sorry for his mum in the real world though lol.
    About Ashes to Ashes, I really hope the don’t do what the Joey spinoff did to Friends. I’m sure they won’t, and who cares why Gene Hunt pops ups in everyone’s coma!

  9. Derek Carpenter

    I have heard that 2 endings were filmed for the conclusion of the final episode?!
    Does anyone know if this is true?
    I also found the outcome disappointing and feel they (writers/producers) used this ending purely to leave it open for the follow up series!
    In my opinion it is a shame they chose this option.
    The writers should have remained true to the original idea!

  10. John

    Thanks for the great blog.
    My own personal view was that he was mad, he had gone back in time and he was in a coma…all three!
    In a Quantum Leap type way after the crash that 2006 Sam had his soul (for want of a better word) was sent back in time took hold of the 1973 Sam Williams who was just about to start his undercover work. Perhaps this done by some higher power to both save Tyler’s brain, save Williams’ body and save Gene and the rest of the team. If this is the case Gene did and possibly still does, exist and always did. Maybe the way that the audience see’s the Sam as 2006 Sam would see himself but to everyone else he looks nothing like this and actually looks like Sam Williams.
    What do you reckon?

  11. Ian Wylie

    Derek – scroll to “Extras 2” in the interview on this page, where Matthew explains about the “two endings”.

  12. Ian Wylie

    John – one of the joys of the ending is that you can see it several different ways. I tend to side with Matthew’s explanation but can also see other outcomes which also provide a satisfactory conclusion. It’s a fantasy which we all see in different ways – so who’s to say that you’re not right?

  13. ashley

    just a question, if 1973 was in sams head while he was in a coma, then how come decisions/actions made there affected the real world.
    like in the first episode of series 1, where sam caught the serial killer, that killed his girlfriend in 2006, how did that happen?

  14. MAB Stockport

    Makes a change to watch something that really stirs the thought, and holds a plot right to the end. Aftermath reminds me of the big debates that followed the screening of “Donnie Darko”, only less complicated. Looking forward to the next series of Ashes to Ashes, hopefully with it’s own twists and turns. Quality TV, top stuff.

  15. Simon

    Emotionally satisfying ending! Fantastic!
    The Oz/Kansas effect that we’d been heading towards was undoubtedly the focal influence both conceptually, and visually. But it was more like a reversal than a parallel.
    For Dorothy, despite the colourful fantasy of Oz, Kansas was where she belonged. Her sepia awakening, though monochrome, was reassuringly real and served to reinforce that she was home.
    For Sam it was the opposite. ‘1973’ appeared to be Oz but by the end it evolved into the equivalent of Kansas. By contrast, ‘2006’ at first appeared to be his Kansas only to become nothing.
    Ultimately it was ‘1973’ that provided everything Sam needed. It had the colour of a powerful dream as well as the substantial sepia of reality. ‘2006’ – whether real or not – turned out to have neither colour or substance.
    I spotted something else. The last episode was also influenced by the film “The Thirteenth Floor” – with it’s blue filtered 1999 and sepia filtered 1937. This came very much to the surface visually when the tv was switched off. This was precisley how “The Thirteenth Floor” ended.

  16. Ted Barlow

    The way I see it is that Sam Tyler/Williams never went back in time and that it was OUR world which was the delusion and the world of 1973 which was the reality, for example, all the characters in the ‘Real world’ were unlikable and one-dimensional (most were little more than blobs in two-piece suits) , ao I have come to the conclusion that the explanation Frank Morgan offered is the correct one. I see the appearence of the Test Card girl at the end as a way of saying “It’s all turned out nice again, Sam Williams is back where he belongs, Goodbye!”

  17. TRA

    Wonderful series and a fantastic blog. It has been a pleasure to read your articles Ian, thanks again for all your good wishes.
    Everyone at The Railway Arms

  18. Mike, Middleton

    I liked that they used Middleton Parish Church for the graveyard scene. For a brief moment i thought about checking if the gravestones were real.
    {Not really 😉 }

  19. Ploppy

    Has anyone spoken to John Simm about the ending and why he wouldn’t be appearing in ashes to ashes?

  20. TQ

    One of the best TV series ever, up there with Between the Lines. I’m a Brit living in the USA and watching Life of Mars (don’t ask how) every week is something to really look forward to. My greatest fear though has come true………..LoM to be remade by US TV network ABC. I feel protective of LoM and just can’t see it working here. Many of the references won’t work. Plus Americans are a very PC sensitive bunch so the whole ‘suicide’ ending will never fly. And without John Simm and Phil Glenister and the rest of the brilliant cast. As Gene would say: “Ponce off bloody nancy boy hotdog chomping yanks!”

  21. Ian Wylie

    Ploppy – check out the link above to “MEN Life On Mars TV Stories”. I interviewed John Simm about the end of the series and why he wouldn’t be in the spin-off. His view of the ending is also contained in the above blog. You’ll also find interviews via that link with Philip Glenister, Liz White and Marshall Lancaster.

  22. William Hugo

    As a viewer living in the Netherlands (where they aired Series 1 some time ago) I’m glad to be receiving the BBC over here so I didn’t have to wait until Dutch Television will finally put Series 2 on!
    The question as to “how real is the reality which we experience” has always fascinated me and perhaps that’s one of the reasons I love LoM so much. Besides, for me this represents the best television drama imaginable. Superb storytelling, superb acting and everything just as it should be to keep you poised on the edge of your seat.
    I look forward to Ashes to Ashes!

  23. Sarah

    Ian , just as Ashley said, it would have been nice to have the situation regarding Maya clarified.
    If the things that happened in 1973 were simply in Sam’s head events in 2006 would not have been altered.
    It would be nice to hear from Matthew Graham about that.

  24. Helen

    This is the most fantastic piece of Television I have seen in my life. The whole two series had me guessing all along the way. I was in the camp of ‘Sam has gone back in time’. But I love Matthews explanation of the show, and as a fan I am happy to accept that Sam was in a coma. The ending blew my mind. I never saw that one coming. I am so happy he ended up staying in 1973, even though it meant him committing sucide to stay there. I hadn’t actually realised until I read Matthew’s interview that Sam had died. I thought that he had jumped off the building to put himself back into a coma and that when he switched the radio to a different channel, it was because Sam was saying, ‘I want to stay in this coma’. But hey, even though he is in the afterlife, I am glad he his with Annie. I am really looking forward to Ashes to Ashes, just sad that John Simm and Liz White won’t be there.
    Thanks to all the cast and crew for making Life On Mars, THE best TV programme of my life

  25. Amber Clifton Green

    In the Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode called Normal Again (on BBC2 about 4 years ago and frequently on Sky, FX and C6 since) a poison causes Buffy to believe she is really a psychiatric patient and that her friends and their adventures are really an escapist delusion. Her psychiatrist persuades her that she must release a demon to kill her “imaginary” friends if she is to recover. At the climax Buffy decides to rescue her friends and the final scene is the doctor telling her parents “we’ve lost her” leaving it ambiguous which is the “real” world. Or both? The episode was discussed in some detail on a recent BBC2/4 documentary about alternate / parallel worlds. I was struck by the similarities with the finale of LOM. The way in which the “real” world of the hospital seeped through was also similar in previous LOM episodes. Was this by coincidence, influence (after all, Russell T Davies has credited Buffy and Angel with influencing his Dr Who and inspiring Torchwood) or generic convention?

  26. Jay

    I thought the ending was less than satifactory. It left me not wanting to rewatch it because it was too upsetting so I set myself the task of interpreting it differently I came up with this:
    LIFE ON MARS – A proper ending.
    We’re talking string theory here I think; two universes/realities/dimensions, call them what you will. Two Sams. In one reality he is in 1973 in the other he’s in 2006. Both Sams simultaneously have accidents; they are even listening to the same song when these accidents happen. They both suffer severe head trauma and they somehow establish a link. There are some similarities between them, the Hyde thing, people they know, so they think they are the same person – but they are not. The one in 1973 gets flashes of what is happening to the one in 2006, who remains unconscious until the last episode. The unconscious Sam dreams about the life of the 1973 Sam, mixed up with his own memories of himself as a child. Sometimes the two become confused. 1973 Sam is also confused and mixes dreams and reality to some extent. Such as when he thinks Ruth and Vic are his mum and dad. After all his name is not really “Tyler” in 1973. When 2006 Sam has problems, like overdoses near death experiences etc. he communicates this to 1973 Sam who feels his suffering and thinks it is his own.
    When the cases are solved in 1973 it doesn’t change the future in the other Sam’s world, there are two futures and in 2006 Sam’s universe the crimes remained unsolved, therefore the accident still happens. The “Raimes” murder/kidnap would have been solved whilst he slept. We could assume that it was the kidnapper who ran him down and was himself injured, they would have identified him and found out where he lived and Mia would have been rescued. The Marc Warren character was still at large. The mental patient wasn’t him it was just a coincidence. 1973 Sam’s future will be different.
    In the last episode the story about the 1973 Sam being under cover is all true. He is really in the tunnel looking for his boss from Hyde. However he never leaves the tunnel. His boss goes away, hoping they’ll all be killed, so solving his problem. He goes out of the tunnel and Sam turns back and helps his friends. He doesn’t know what happens to 2006 Sam from that point because now the other Sam is awake, the link is cut. He is unaware now of the other Sam and his future and his own life continues as it had before in his own time. (The white light in the tunnel is just us being taken to watch the other future, or even just the sun shining down the tunnel so he can’t see his boss leaving.) Meanwhile in 2006 the other Sam wakes and remembers what he thinks are his own experiences, but in reality they are not. He cannot live in his own present after experiencing the comradeship of 1973 Sam’s life, his girlfriend has left him, also he has the brain tumour which, although benign, is affecting him, altering his personality, making him depressed. He leaps off the roof ending his life in that reality. We shouldn’t be too sad about it though, we never really knew that Sam. The Sam we know and love is carrying on with life in his own world.
    We rejoin him when he has transferred permanently from Hyde, Hyde Division not being too pleased that he failed to take down Gene. Gene and his team have forgiven him and have accepted him as one of the lads. (He is still Sam but no longer “Tyler”.) Hatchets have been buried and wounds have healed. The boys are back at work.
    As they get into the car Sam hears a hospital conversation over the radio. This is not real, the other Sam is dead now, and it’s just an echo. He changes the channel and the last vestiges of his memories of 2006 Sam slip away. However he keeps with him some of the thoughts and ideas he got from the other Sam. In effect, two become one and 2006 Sam lives on in 1973 Sam. Happy ending. Not a dry eye in the house.

  27. TickleontheTum

    I was massively disappointed by the end of the series. I felt betrayed, all these wonderful characters were part of a coma induced dream. It also means the ones in the sequel will be dream characters to and so what’s the point in getting to know them?
    I also felt disgusted that they were somehow showing suicide in a positive light, as answer to problems. It’s not.
    I won’t be buying this series on DVD and won’t bother watching “Ashes To Ashes”.

  28. Joann

    I loved this series. For me it was a lot to do with nostalgia as that was the era I grew up in and everything was so familiar. I think the best part about “Am I mad, in a coma or back in time,” – was that it gave everyone the chance to choose what they wanted him to be.
    When he leapt over the edge of the roof top in the final episode I was so pleased! Not because I thought he was going to die but because I thought yes, ‘he’s going back’
    (…and who wouldn’t go back to the 70’s if you had a choice?!)
    So looking forward to Series 3 – but I do hope at some stage John Simm makes an appearance.
    I know it will be good anyway but it would be nice to see Sam once again! (and Annie!)

  29. Pyroliske

    I loved the ending of Life on Mars. I only started watching it a few weeks ago, at which point I decided I had better catch up a bit sharpish and downloaded all the episodes from start to end. I was worried that the decision wouldn’t be Sam’s to make and we’d have a bit of a Quantum Leap ending whereby Sam was stuck in the past forever, so it was nice that he got to go back to the present and decide from there. The final episode did feel a little jerky and rushed at times I felt – don’t really think that an hour was long enough to clarify everything. Understanding that 1973 was a kind of ‘limbo’ world goes some way to explaining how Sam’s chief who died in 2007 showed up in 1973, as he came from ‘Hyde’ so may have been on Hyde ward before he died. Can’t get my head around how Frank Morgan showed up so clearly in 1973 if he was just some doctor in 2007, and why did he try so hard to convince Sam that he was undercover? I know it was meant to throw the viewers off the scent a bit but doesn’t make sense at all really.
    Going back to previous episodes, such as the one with Crane where he was trying to hurt Sam in 2007, how did Sam manage to effect a change in 2007 by having Crane committed in 1973? He was originally just a released prisoner, but at the end a nurse on the radio is heard to say that Crane had escaped from a mental hospital where he’d been since 1973. What about the episode with Sam’s dad? Obviously his mum never told him what happened so how could he have known all those things to have ‘created’ them? Who are Gene, Chris, Ray and Annie? And just what was the deal with the Telly Test Card Girl (who BTW looks nothing like the actual TTCG) nothing was explained about her.
    I’m not completely sure that Sam did actually wake up from his coma now, because he didn’t have any of the people around him that were supposedly by his bedside all that time talking to him. When he woke up Frank Morgan was there and said that the they couldn’t remove the tumour but it was benign and the swelling had gone down, but Sam had no bandages on, no breathing apparatus or monitors and he recovered very quickly, walking out of hospital almost immediately. He had just undergone brain surgery, as well as being shattered by the car that put him in the coma, and whilst in a coma for an extended length of time your ligaments shorten so you have to undergo physio . It felt a bit dreamlike, so i think he didn’t really wake up, he just remembered how crap modern life is and chose to go back. To the person who is confused about the people on the radio at the end – obviously if he had jumped off a roof then paramedics/A & E staff would make some attempt to try to save him so that’s where he would have flatlined. However, in keeping with my theory that Sam didn’t awake from his coma, it’s possible that the operation on the tumour was unsuccessful and afterwards he had a turn in the hospital from which this time they couldn’t bring him back, and that’s where he flatlined.

  30. TGWTMH

    Goodness, thanks everyone – wonderful imaginative theories and interpretations of the ending – eg. those of Joann, Jay and Pyroliske. I just want to add my congratulations to the team which put this programme together. It was like great music, the makers set up something, a great chord sequence (like David Bowie did with THAT song, back in 72) and then just watched the fireworks.
    The structure let incredible things happen. All those other endings and readings are equally valid, I reckon.
    The acting was brilliant in LOM. And the other technical stuff, the sound, they way they shot it… There were a serious number of major memorable moments in the show, small moments, but nailed. The way Gene Hunt slams down the cigarettes and matches, the way Annie moved and spoke… This show has captivated my Tuesdays for what seems ages now…!!
    All the levels… The programme says something to me about history and time and perception… Ian Hodder, think, once said ‘the past is unfamiliar.’
    But the other thing is.. Annie is so beautiful and she believes him, but is she also death? She doesn’t do one-night stands? He is going to die, and Sam is trying to persuade her to let his leave…
    With a show like LOM, the parts I enjoyed most were in the middle, in the 70’s world, when they were not tying it up yet… There were some moments, some effects with sound & vision and acting that the whole thing just blew you away…
    It crossed the line where it being art or entertainment or a cop show or sci-fi didn’t matter. We were involved, as an audience. Congratulations again to the makers and to the BBC for having the guts to go full-on with the programme! Great to hear Gene Hunt will return… But we must have another series with Sam… and Annie… And it has to be as brilliant as the last 2. It’s not asking a lot, really.
    You got style, folks.

  31. Australian viewer who shouldn't have seen it yet

    Sam’s brain is clearly capable of inventing either 2006 or 1973, and has certainly invented one of them (there’s nothing to explain real time travel).
    So the conclusion I came to as to what the ending meant (that he kills himself at the end in 2006 to get back to the fantasy world of 1973 just for a moment) is apparently what was intended – but I think it’s even more interesting if the 1973 world is real, and the series has been teasing us by testing our assumption that in a TV series the world we’re used to has to be “the real world”. In the reality of the show, our 2006 could easily be a fantasy world… it’s not that Sam has predicted ipods, it’s that he’s invented ipods and who knows if they’ll ever exist in the world that develops from LoM 1973 Manchester.
    Or something like that.
    Other possibility, equally valid (you can’t rule any of these out of course) – he never wakes up in 2006, he just sinks slightly deeper into the coma, and then jumping off the building wakes him back up to the 1973 level of his coma, and the 2006 world has lost him again…

  32. antonia

    Great show. I didn’t get into it until Series 2 started. The next day I rushed out to buy Series 1 on DVD and had watched the lot before S2 episode 2 came on.
    I have a couple of comments to add:
    1. Wouldn’t Sam2006 have rushed straight to the Human Resources dept and looked up Gene Hunt et al? If his Chief from 2006 could show up as a young man in 1973, surely the Genie would need to be looked up in 2006?
    2. Could it all have been scary Frank Morgan, the doctor, secretly telling Sam crazy tales of time travel as he lay captive in his coma, as some mad-doctor research into communication with coma victims?
    3. Did the spooky Test Card Girl switching off the TV at the end mean Sam’s 1973 world was also switched off at that point because he’d died in 2006?
    Jeez, TV shows like this are a rare treat. The license fee has never been better spent.

  33. Andrew P

    I enjoyed both series tremendously. I do feel as a fervent seventies-ite being 46 currently that this evoked such stirring memories in the viewing public of this era. That aside, I considered the end to have been skilfully considered & carefully constructed. Personally, I felt emotionally affected by the conclusion, which I would explain as follows : Sam Tyler was a fantasist with virtually paranoid fear of most of his existence within 2007. He therefore retreated to a time which he had a passing knowledge of & perceived to be a far more contented & simpler/less intense environment. In one way he felt far more warmth from his virtual `imagined`reality while feeling an assumed paternal sympathy for his fantasised colleagues with their lack of awareness regarding sexism, homophobia & racist views. The conclusion was that though he was coaxed back to his real existence in 2007, he quickly retreated within himself & shut down any contact with the real world in favour of his personal paternal Utopian reality. He was sadly a psychologically confused patient within his `private Heaven`. This is probably why so many people felt such a profound affinity with the character.

  34. john197014

    The writer saying that Sam had died made sense,a bit sad nonetheless!
    The only way that the 70s cops can be real would be if Sam had read about them in old crime reports (as in series 1 where during an investigation he reads notes that he had previously seen in 2006!)
    That would for me tie it all up,but I dont think we are supposed to!
    Lastly,when he came out of the coma in the last episode, I would have liked it if he chose to look up what had happened to all of the others.

  35. David S

    I was blown away with this show, and I think I “get it”
    Anyone who believes in “ghosts” as I do – logically must believe in an afterlife.
    Therefore 1973 was Sam’s next life and hence all the characters are real – He is experiancing an out of body state, but when he takes his life in 07 he can go and live his “new life” in 1973.
    It is no less real than 2007 in which he has just died. The show hangs between the two Until he makes up his mind.
    He can live in either Time and both Are Real But he cannot Live in them both forever.
    When you die, it does not make the next life and the people in it any less real.

  36. Jo Hancox

    I always felt that Sam was somehow both in a coma and in 1973 simultaneously (don’t ask me about the physics of this, I don’t have a clue!) A friend of mine is insisting that Sam never actually came round from the coma, but I felt that he was so desperate to come back, he would have had to have some experience of 2006 in order to decide that he would really rather be in 1973 after all. Hence the contrast between 1973 (imaginary but feeling alive) and 2006 (real, but feeling nothing). The “suicide” solution was a very brave storyline, and I felt it leaves you with two possibilities – either he dies a few minutes after hearing the voice on the radio, and everything stops (hence TC Girl turning TV off) or they stabilise him and he returns to the coma indefinitely. Whatever it was, the “false ending” was brilliantly convincing – and overall we were left with both a happy (1973) and very sad and poignant (2006) ending. Couldn’t have been better!

  37. David Roscoe

    I joined the Manchester Police in 1969. My police collar number was 212 – the same number on the registration plate of the Ford Cortina used in the series. When on plain clothes duty I wore a leather jacket. I moved to Hyde in 1976 and worked there as a Sergeant and then Inspector. In 1986 I transferred to the A Division (City Centre). When I was younger I looked a lot like Sam – and my wife bears a close resemblance to Annie. I now work for Stockport Council next to then building (Stopford House) used for the exterior police station shots. I was hoping that on Wednesday the time warp would be reversed and I would be back in 1973 as a young copper pounding the streets of Longsight. Shucks – it didn’t happen.
    My own interpretation of the ending was that Sam was in a coma in the 70s but had a vision of the future. After entering the light in the tunnel and realising that the afterlfe was an emotion-free zone without ‘feeling’ – he decided to return to his own time. I was wrong – but it doesn’t matter. A great series.

  38. Matt M

    Wonderful show. Why can’t they make TV like this here in the states? We already miss the show.

  39. Neilesh

    Brilliant series. Thought the ending was sad because he left real people like his mum behind. Plus he chose fantasy over reality- like watching TV all day. Obviously it’s going to be more fun because he controls everything and will always win / come out looking cool. I was expecting him to wake up happy in modern life with all the 70’s team around him Wizard of Oz style- e.g. Hunt as patient next bed dying of cancer, Annie as psychiatrist etc.

  40. Chris

    What an amazing series. I loved every minute of it and wish it did not have to end, or at least continue for another series.
    My view of the ending is much the same as others but I thought I’d make my point to see what other feel. My View is that Sam was from the year 2006/2007 as there were a lot of one liners that related to the future – the Robocop speech in the final episode and the episode where he and Annie pretend to be Tony and Cherie Blair. Yes Sam was listening to the David Bowie track Life On Mars before he was knocked down in the 2006/2007 (Cue images of the 1970’s in his head) so as he “awoke”, in a coma state I may add, in 1973 the music would have still been playing in 2006, so Sam would of heard it subconsciously.
    In 1973, Sam is in his own heaven and Morgan is in the end Sam’s subconscious making the decision of whether or not to choose the “Life” he has in 1973 and remain in the Coma and die or recover and go “Back” to 2006/2007.
    When Sam goes “back” to 2006/2007 he is still in the Coma as previously stated in another Blog, he has just has major surgery and there are no bandages marks in his head (Shaven hair) to state that this has occurred. Also he has the same clothes on through the entire 2006/2007 shoot, which to me has covered a number of days. He is released from Hospital (Without and physio or medical help????) visits his Mum (Not Girlfiend???) and then is back at work?
    Sam jumping off the building is in a way accepting his own death and remain in his idea of heaven i.e 1973
    But if this is the Case series three will be tricky as the tapes Sam has made of this “Life” in 1973 have to be real in order for DCI Alex Drake to have seen, read and listened to the documents to have the same characters in her Coma state. This may blow my theory out of the window, but it may also help us understand if Sam did wake back up in 2006/2007 and decide to commit Suicide

  41. Just to agree with Chris (1.19pm 14th) – who referred to my earlier point about both states being comas – and agree with all the telling details he and others raised about the ‘unreal’ feel of the 2006/7 state.
    On balance, I do think we should take Matthew Graham seriously when he says Sam really was in 2006 to begin with! We’re all beginning to own the story… But conversely I do wonder if the incredibly strong narrative pull back to 1973 made the team – especially in the last episode – elide their own logic. The suicide couldn’t have returned us to the same brain operation or post-op unless it was a hopeless second op (I’ve dilated on this one so won’t again here).
    Clearly the deliberate lack of detail when Sam gets back to 2006/7 contributed to the alientation effect, and was probably flowing from a production decision not to get too embedded in the grunge reality of 2006, too much visual information, too much anchoring to a time that we find Sam’s going to leave. The audience need to be alienated from 2006/7 too, and it’s all done very quickly.
    LoM is a classic, but…. I was really surprised that we didn’t get some staking out of these ideas in Episode 7 – doing it all in 8 was really a slightly flustered gambit. Yes, it brought in Morgan, but like Episode 5 where Sam hyperventilates, some of the flurry could have been just a bit better prepared for.
    But its excellence does raise some stakes too. With a high-concept series like this, the logic, however bendy, has to be consistent and work out, and Series 3 should reflect this a bit more tightly. It is entertainment but Graham et al have set their own superb precedents and cats-cradle standards.
    Most of you have picked up on things I missed from the outset. I missed the first ever episode where Sam’s girlfriend is killed (I didn’t even know that) and then saved. It mirrors the man whom Sam gets sectioned in 1973 to prevent his murdering in 2006. This was very dodgy by the way, and in these days of mental health awareness one ought to add that even 1973 wasn’t quite as ready to section people that quickly, especially for 33 years.
    OK, but the logic here is causality, as several people have pointed out. 1973 affected 2006, like Back to the Future.
    By the way, it’s always summer in 1973 but we’re told with the wife-swapping episode that 1973 is ending, with the miners’ strike etc. It never happens; this side isn’t developed and it never gets drizzly because they were shooting in August last year!
    Annie seeming to be a lot younger than Sam, I did wonder if he’d wake up and find an older Annie, mid-late 40s in the original 1998 concept, or by tracking her down. A bit of judicious ageing could have worked here, someone early-mid 50s, to his 37/38… But we’re till an ageist society. This lack of Sam’s researching – something DI Alex Drake doesn’t avoid – is something that really surprised me too.
    Another possibility I indulged is that the four members of the ’73 team are also in a coma from 1973 and react in some kind of limbo with Sam. Perhaps some eventually die. When he wakes Sam makes contact with the 2006 Annie who’s had the same experience. I knew this was too neat. And it would have raised interesting questions over the causality of the two epidsodes where 1973 influneces 2006… But that happened anyway.
    One last thing. Annie answers, when Sam asks how long he should stay. ‘For ever.’ That sort of tells you where she’s coming from, as it were; she knows at some level. And Eternity with Annie (a title for Series 4, 5, 6…?) is about as enticing as it gets. They don’t even get older to face ageism together. Or switched off.

  42. Jesse

    We are all Sam’s dream. This was my interpretation of the ending. That Frank Morgan was right: Sam was from 1973 and had amnesia. He had an accident and dreamed up the world of 2006 based on what him and Morgan were trying to accomplish with their undercover operation. The Test Card girl shutting off the TV at the end is Sam’s world shutting us off, because we’re not real.
    For instance: Sam wakes from brain surgery but his head is not bandaged. Wouldn’t you be bald with a bandaged head? Second, when he is on the roof in the first episode he says to Annie that he going to take “the definitive step” to return home. In the final episode he takes that step.
    So in my mind, Sam is alive and well in 1973 and we’re all just his rather elaborate dream of a possible future.

  43. Trevor Gensch

    I don’t want to be smug or anything, but I too have always been bemused by peoples assertions that it wasn’t a coma situation.
    There isn’t ONE SHRED OF EVIDENCE in the entire two seasons that can’t be explained by the coma/mind tricks thing.

  44. Koshka

    I liked the ambiguity of the ending, you’re left still wondering where he really is.
    My personal opinion: he really does belong in 1973, did come from Hyde, and everything Frank Morgan said was true – he hit his head and forgot stuff – BUT he’s also somewhat psychic (yeah, I know, so what?) so he keeps having these ideas about the future, which fuel his belief that he’s from there.
    Problem is, by starting the second show (which I do look forward to, don’t get me wrong), they’re taking that ambiguity away. Unless, of course, the reports that she’s listening to/reading aren’t the reports Sam made when he came out of his coma, but are reports he’s made to his caseworker in 1973 (I don’t doubt he’d go for some help after realizing he’s been thinking he’s from the future all this time, and maybe he tells the caseworker everything he thought was going on, and this falls into the hands of the girl ten years later, etc etc…)

  45. ksd

    LoM was so good precisely because it left open a number of equally valid interpretations. This is the hallmark of great art.
    It is interesting to note that the song itself was written and released in 1971. It first appeared on Hunky Dory. The album was not a success and it was only with the release of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in 1972 that Bowie really made it big. Up till then he was seen as a bit of a joke and barely credible – note the Laughing Gnome and the many similar pieces he had accumulated from 1966 onwards. Life on Mars was released as a single in 1973 to cash in on the Ziggy inspired success. Given that history wouldn’t Starman have been a more appropriate soundtrack to this series? It famously plagiarises Somewhere Over the Rainbow in its chorus, thus providing a direct link to The Wizard of Oz. And the radio like waves at the the end of verse, just before the chorus kick in, fit very nicely into the story of a man liying in a coma whose reality is being sustained by electronic means in hospital.
    Ashes to Ashes is an excellent choice precisely because it’s a song about a man being stuck in space who cannot go back. He is stranded and a junkie. But even he (Major Tom) is a reference back to Bowie’s Space Oddity, a song he released in 1969.
    Let’s hope the brilliance of LoM continues into Ashes.

  46. martin

    I havent read every comment here, but my interpretation of Life on Mars, is that it served as an illustration of how removed from reality we have become in our current society. That it is we who are on Mars, and the people with their feet on the ground are those in the 1970s. I kind of got this feeling a few episodes ago, but felt it was confirmed in the last episode. We are now so preoccupied with political correctness, with following a formula to achieve a goal, with covering our own backs thats we have lost touch with reality and no longer feel. “They” want to erradicate Gene Hunt from history in case the memory of him ever upsets the staus quo. Nobody should ever be reminded that there is a different way of doing things other than our currently satitised, normalised existance.

  47. Chloe

    The ending was absolutely perfect! Sam chose to go back, instead of being stuck there, I think that was amazing! 🙂

  48. Ronnie

    Great article for a great show. Just one thing in the interview bothers me though – “And, yes, we’ve deliberately made sure the phone sounded like the phone at the end of the Life On Mars song.”
    Sorry folks, but the phone in the song is the British style. Hardly surprising since the song was recorded at Trident in Soho, London! (The piano / phone / talking outro being an out-take when the phone interrupted recording)

  49. Ian Wylie

    Thanks Ronnie. As far as the phone quote goes, perhaps I’ve misunderstood your comment. The phones in Sam’s bedsit, CID office etc rang with the old fashioned “British” ring. Or am I missing something?

  50. George Sweetnam

    I loved the ending. Annie answers, when Sam asks her to tell him what he should do “Stay. Here. Forever.” to remind Sam he said to her in his room “I can’t stay here forever.” On the other hand, his question is to remind her of when he asked her the same question on the roof of the police building in the pilot episode when she answered “Stay.”
    Funny how most all romantic couples remember as significant different stages of their relationship.
    Looking forward to Ashes to Ashes

  51. leighton voyle

    recently retired and being a serving officer in the 70s i agree with everything that martin (above) says, great viewing …..

  52. Chris Coleman

    In the US with a region free player, just finished series 2 last night, loved every frame of it. I think the ending can be viewed two ways (at least). The official version, where Sam commits suicide and returns to his dream/afterlife of 1973, gets the girl, and rides off into the sunset with his mates. (A happy ending where the hero kills himself? Yeah, that’ll make it thru to the American remake…) But I think it also works if you take what the Wizard (sorry, Frank Morgan) says as truth; Sam is from 1973, is really in 1973, and the “future” scenes are his delusion, not the other way around, the final one coming when he betrays his friends and leaves them, throwing him into a fugue state which is only broken by a metaphoric “leap of faith”, waking him up and returning him to the real world of 1973. (Like Annie’s friend tried to trick him into back in series 1.) I have a feeling this finale is deep enough and complex enough that people will still be debating it and writing about it for years. You could fill an entire book about this one episode. Best thing I’ve seen on my tv this year, can’t wait to see how the Gene Genie tackles the ’80’s!

  53. Ian Morgan

    I’ve really enjoyed both series and its a damn shame that John Simm has ruled himself out of any further involvement. Although Hunt,Carling and Skelton make a good trio – Sam Tyler made Life on Mars and I worry that Ashes to Ashes will be a weaker version .
    I hope I’m proved wrong as I’ll watch with great interest !
    PS Shame Annie isn’t heading to London too as she’s lovely !

  54. ap greaves

    My interpretation of the last few seconds was that the testcard girl turned of ‘our view’ into 1973 because the link between now and then had been broken when Sam finally decided he was going to commit to 1973 as opposed to the current time.

  55. phil jones

    It was an amazing series for me. I came to Canada about that time. Some people asked me what my home town was like in England. I used to say, living in England is like being on MARS, you just can’t understand that, unless you experience it. You people are living in paradise here in Canada. Being a big Bowie fan, every time i hear that song, i think of my life on MARS. I’m from Blackley, Manchester. I’d trade all the wealth i have worked for,for thirty odd years, for my 1973 life on Mars. You fooled me with the ending my idea was – SAM wakes up, he’s all upset bcause he left them in the tunnel, but he decides it’s all a dream,.but he goes to get smashed in a pub to shake himself out of it. When he is good and drunk two blokes start a fight with him. A police women comes in, pulls Sam off and calls for help to contain him. when he turns around it’s his old mates from 1973. It turns out they met in Blackpool a year before .He suddenly remembers, it was all just a dream. NO ONE DIES every one gets to go home. TV off people go to bed, cursing the writers. I knew they’d pull a stunt like that at the end. I like my ending better than yours.

  56. Marc Porter

    The basic idea of ashes to ashes is wonderful. but i would have liked to have some sort of conclusion or even on going development here – meaning sam should have stuck around. a series based in the 70s or 80s with sam and the rest of the team – now integral parts of the past – would have been a lot better in my eyes.
    ashes to ashes will surely be interesting, but the main idea was exploited in life already. i will miss sam for sure and the idea of him having died after all is a bit sad.
    thats why a continuation would have been nicer, maybe even more romantic in a certain sense. i have to say i am very sceptical of ashes, it has a lot to live up to and the story doesnt grab me as much as life. the mystery flair of life has gone, we all know what is going on now. gene is a frigmant of imagination? well we suspected it all along, but why make is so obvious, it spills the charm and makes it so much more clinical. i very much doubt ashes will grab me as much as life did 😦 a real pity…

  57. Phillip Curwood

    I must say that LoM is an amazing series,my hat goes off to the producers,directors and most importantly the actors that bought this fantasy drama to life.
    I think the whole ideology of LoM was cleverly concieved and had many of us scratching our heads as to what year was real and what was not?
    It will be interesting to see whether or not DCI Gene (Genie) Hunt and his tag-alongs do actually age those 8 years from 1973 to 1981 Ashes to Ashes series,if not,then we can all assume that his persona is either a ghost like his counterparts or the whole thing is made up by the subconcious.
    It would be an interesting twist to the story if we found out that Gene and his collegues had all died years ago in some terrible accident and they were just acting out their lives to sensitive people whose lives hang in the balance between life and death…..i.e A coma?
    I do love this programme though and to me it has the flavour of the iconic well thought out programmes we used to find on our televisions,(when their wasn’t too many channels)way back when.

  58. I thought that when Sam woke up in 2007 it wasn’t real and jumping off the building was just a dream. I thought he was still in the coma and was about to die in real life when the car drove off into the sunset.

  59. Juli kring

    Living in the US, I have only recently had the opportunity to see the climax of LOM. Right off, I have to say that I love John Simm and think he did an excellent job. Matter of fact, he was the initial and main reason I continued to watch the series.
    That said, it disturbs me that the show’s writers and producers have chosen to use the show as a vehicle to depict torture as heroic, macho, & necessary to protect society. It’s what “real men” do get the job done. That the writers view any and all concern with simple human/civil rights with flagrant contempt is made continuously apparent throughout the show and whenever the issues of racism/sexism/police brutality are brought up at all, it is seen as suspect or ridiculous.
    The character of Sam Tyler is frequently disparaged for being a “fairy” for voicing his concerns.
    I am so sorry that an otherwise brilliant and engrossing show was undermined by such attitudes.

  60. keiran

    To Julie Kring
    It was a cop show based in the seventies! sorry to disillusion you,but back then we werent all so pc!
    you should stick to hill street blues if you want to see “gritty” inoffensive cop shows-Gene wouldnt have been half as convincing if he hadnt called people “nancys” and “ponces” its what made the series great! Take all that away and you have a big fat nothing,do ya self a favour and watch seventies cop show “the sweeney” then you may just GET IT! cheers.

  61. JK

    First of all, we’re not talking about “PC” here, we’re talking about a cop who “tortures” people to get what he wants (or more likely because he enjoys it) Sadly, it’s obvious that dinosaurs like Hunt didn’t become extinct in the ’70s. If they had, you would be right, & my visceral reaction to his antics (handcuffing people to a chair & then graphically torturing them) would be as ridiculous as Dan Quale’s reaction to Murphy Brown becoming an unwed mother.
    But, unfortunately, Hunt’s kind aren’t extinct. Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, he’s alive and doing well. So it’s difficult for me to just detach and enjoy the show without reacting to it as if those thing weren’t going on today. Because they are. Please don’t say that they were all just part of that decade. There were those *very* concerned with these same issues long before the ’70s. There have always been good, decent people who knew the difference between right & wrong & on the other end of the spectrum, thugs & bullies. Living in Texas, I guess it bothers me more than it might others. Believe me, where I live, Hunt would fit right in.
    If Hunt lived here, he would be just another “good ole boy, redneck”. Probably out lynching people or whatever. Sorry if I offended you, please understand that Hunt’s character just hits too close to home for me. If where you live, you aren’t surrounded by people like that, then I’m happy for you.

  62. JK

    On second thought, you know what ? You’re right. It’s just a TV show. I need to chill.

  63. keiran

    Hey,dont sweat it,we all have our opinions,yes its good tv,but i can also see it may offend some people?
    Im sorry it did that to you,but as you said ,its all just tv! some of the real life stuff that is portrayed in CSI,for instance ,is far more disturbing,ther are people killing each other out there,it aint pretty,but its the truth-Hitler was a complete monster,but it didnt stop them making shindlers list?
    I didnt want to upset anyone,but lets just get a reality check!
    peace ok?

  64. Kate

    Maybe the Gene Genie is God and that’s why he keeps popping up?!!
    The other detectives could be angels!!!!
    hehehe… I’m an aussie (so we haven’t gotten the last episode yet – booooo) but I have a feeling it’s going to be a beauty! I’m a sneaky bitch and needed to find out how it ended! It sounds pretty good to me and I can’t wait to see it – 3 or 4 more episodes to go!
    PLEASE PLEASE PLEAAAAAAAAAAASE tell me we’re going to be getting Ashes to Ashes over here. Gene is a champ!

  65. Lawrence

    Any reason for not publishing my letter of 3 weeks back – long before 7 March…….?

  66. Ian Wylie

    Lawrence – can you clarify? Are you talking about a posted “letter” or a blog comment?
    Your last blog comment was on Mar 3 under Life On Mars: The Series Two DVD:

  67. Lawrence

    Sorry – my mistake! I remain really puzzled about the ending of LoM; surely his reality was the 1970s, as explained when he cut himself in 2006 and there was no pain. Clever ending with a good twist but it introduced new questions.

  68. Hannah

    I absolutely LOVED “Life on Mars” and I can’t wait for the next of “Ashes to Ashes”. British entertainment has never been this good in a long time. The series’ had me completely engrossed and I’ve learnt so much as a younger viewer which is so inspiring. Thank you for delivering brilliance to remember!!

  69. Mark

    The final episode finally aired on ABC in Australia last night. I have really enjoyed the script writing in this show.
    I was a bit bemused by the ambiguous ending, but it makes you think, at least it made me think – “what is real, anyway?” and that was the beauty of the ending.
    But then perhaps I’m thinking about it too much and should just chill out and enjoy it for the entertainment it is.
    I’m a bit skeptical about the Ashes to Ashes spinoff, as the writers will have a lot to live up to, but will watch it with interest.

  70. katie marlo

    loved every minute of it. Did not necessarily take the whole analysis too seriously but having said that I held my breath as Sam stood on top of the building – knowing full well he was going to jump. I cried for an hour. Beautifully constructed ending!!!

  71. Carolyn

    Just saw the final ep on ABC Australia — before LoM, I’d got bored with TV drama, but this blew me away. The writers of LoM are brilliant, and the actors, especially John Simm and Philip Glenister, equally superb. I loved everything about the series — the references to post-1973 events that Sam’s colleagues didn’t ‘get’, Sam’s clumsy attempts to introduce modern policing, Gene’s colourful turn of phrase, the battered old police cars racing down the Manchester lanes, the obligatory group fights, and above all the fact that the series had a brain and a heart.
    It had a real spirit. I’d sit there transfixed, every week, laughing, but also sympathising with the frustrating situations Sam would find himself in.
    The ending was satisfying. My only whinge is that it will probably take another eternity for an equally brilliant series to come to TV.

  72. jerri

    I thought Sam had not woken up and his “suicide” was a dream. At the end he dies for real, hearing the doctor saying he was slipping away.

  73. Alex

    I was very disappointed with the series finale because I felt like I was being deliberately jerked around and patronized by the writers.
    Frankly, I think Matthew Graham didn’t really have an ending in mind when he started writing the series. I think that when the time came to write one, he just panicked and wrote something so deliberately ambiguous that he could hide behind it.
    His interpretation of the show finale seems very inconsistent with the events described in the show, not to mention illogical. Consider this for a second:
    Sam’s a detective, yet he hardly does any detective work in 1973 or 2006 (after “waking up” from the coma) to figure out what’s happened to him. He doesn’t explore 1973 at all. Hell, he doesn’t even leave Manchaster at all! And why is it that Sam is only able to “predict” the future in one-liners?
    If you awoke one day to find yourself in 1973, wouldn’t you be more curious about this new world around you? If you tried to explain to people that you were from the future and they laughed at you, wouldn’t you try to prove them wrong by telling them every detail you can possibly remember about your past and their near-term future? But Sam does none of that. If he were truly from 2006, he could so easily prove to himself and others that he really is from the future – yet he doesn’t even bother.
    The show is full of evidence that Sam is mad – suffering from amnesia and delusions. But for some reason the writers decided that such an ending wouldn’t be good enough, so they gave us a completely implausable ending.

  74. Jaabi - NZ Viewer

    Great series, but an ending that was maybe a little flimsy on its own.
    It’s a constantly spinning coin. 1973, or 2006?
    Lets see, everything Sam believed was real, was looking to become more real thanks to the call from Frank Morgan. However then when he meets Frank privately only to find that he is wrong, he breaks down.
    Things only become worse when those he has worked along side for so long are under fire, he turns away unable to look. He doesn’t want to face the idea of his friends dying after thinking for so long they were never alive at all.
    He turns away, and sees a light? Or a train? I certainly saw it as a train at first. He “runs away” back to the future – only to feel less real, and sorry for Annie, so commits suicide to return to the past.
    This is why the ending is flimsy. IMO it just doesn’t seem right that Sam was all along “mad”. It doesn’t seem like an ending – more like a catalyst to prove it wrong. That’s just what happens, just when it looks like we know what’s up with Sam, things change. Then they change again. (And if you’re perceptive of the last minute or two – it changes again.)
    Oh, and they change again? Yep, from what I’ve heard about AtA – and can’t wait to see, it seems evidence that Sam’s future self was real gets reinforced. Ashes to Ashes reinforces the idea of him being from 2006, because of the file about his suicide.
    One thing that might be interesting to see from AtA is if there is evidence of Gene and co. in the present. Maybe the world that Sam and Alex call the past isn’t directly the past at all, but rather a manifestation of it that exists between life and death. The reason Sam (apparently) has this stretched out after (or before/during) his suicide is because … well it’s nice. Romantic. Dues Ex Machina. (Or whatever it’s called.) It wouldn’t be fair to give him say half an hour of a dream before suddenly dying.
    Although what about that radio message at the end? Is our medical technology so advanced we can (try to) save people who leap off sky-scrapers? That, or the message was simply metaphorical – just like the Test Card Girl.
    I’m ranting about this too much. I’ll stop here. 😉

  75. Harold Philbin

    I was a police officer, in Manchester 1958 to 1973 and the series Life of Mars is exactly how it was, I still have the handcuffs that held over a thousand prisoners, including two murderers, the uniform and White Gloves for Royal Visits, ie The Investiture of the Prince of Wales, and on the other side of the coin I escorted the Kray twins round Piccadilly when they came to Manchester in a failed attempt to take over the night clubs, I still have quite
    a lot of official arrest reports, and I have recorded hundreds of real life Police Dog arrests, now thanks to the programme I realise that many Detectives in Manchester were real life Genes and some of them were actually on the take, many of us were educated to take short cuts to apprehend and convict criminals.
    And in 1969 I arrested eleven thieves in one day, and prosecuted them all the day after, no solicitors involved at all and thanks to the dog all guilty pleas, it is a fact that after being arrested by a good dog once, they never came back for seconds.
    Looking at the situation now, I realise that I couldn’t do the paperwork for half that number today, and they wouldn’t be dealt with for at least three months.
    My eleven prosecutions cost £5 in overtime in total, but the cost of prosecuting them today would probably be thousands of pounds.
    In addition I finished up in hospital twice, once unconcious and once with a broken hand, the sprained ankle etc
    didn’t count.

  76. Harold Philbin

    Script writers, how about a police series, in the time of life on Mars, revolving around the City Life itself, London Road Station Waiting Rooms were a mine of unused real life stories.
    No matter what, if it happened at all, it happened on a main line railway station, the world famous Carnforth Station had nothing on the Manchester Stations and every real celebrity of note, villain or hero passed through at some time or other,usually to or from London.

  77. LOM fan

    hi, I just finished watching the BBC’s Life on Mars on DVD….I was inspired to rent the DVD’s because the American version is now showing on TV, and I couldn’t be stuffed to follow that series, and might as well watch the original british one, which i missed when they were showing it on ABC here in Australia.
    I think I agree with Derek Carpenter’s theory. I, too, agree that in the series, 1973 and 2006 are 2 parallel world’s occuring at the “same time” as we know it. What happens in 1973, does and will affect the outcome in 2006, and that’s how the two parallel worlds connect. And sam tyler is the link to these two worlds…
    what I reckon is the story starts off with Sam Tyler, son of Vic and Ruth Tyler in 2006. This 2006 Sam is real. At this point his dad really ran away when he was 4, and possibly killed Annie prior to that, but Sam has blocked out the memories…until of course he gets hit by a car and gets amnesia.
    Then at the SAME time, in parallel 1973, there exists a separate Sam Williams who is just about to working undercover, and coincidentally assuming the fake name of Sam Tyler. he is just as real as the Sam Tyler of 2006 at this point. Meanwhile in 1973, the real Sam Tyler, is a still little boy of age 4 who grows up to be 2006’s Sam Tyler in that parallel universe.
    Then you have the car accidents occuring in both 1973 and 2006, which forms the merger of both parallel worlds… where 1973 Sam Williams dies, and 2006 Sam Tyler enters a coma in 2006, and time travels to 1973, and takes over 1973 Sam Williams’ life…and the story goes from there. That’s when he gets to see “himself” as a little boy…prevents Annie’s murder, prevents Maya’s kidnap, stops Maya’s mom from aborting Maya in her womb, prevents Eve’s murder from the Crane guy.
    Towards the end of the series, 2006 Sam Tyler, must make a decision whehter to remain as 2006 Sam Tyler in the 2006 real-time which he modified through going back in time in 1973. or return to 1973 and permanently take over Sam William’s life. He chooses the latter.
    I think this theory makes a lot of sense…if Sam Tyler travelled to 1973 in Sam Tyler’s body, (and not Sam Williams)…the 4 year Sam Tyler’s body and adult Sam Tyler’s body would not be able to co-exist in 1973.
    But then, if Sam Tyler’s 2006 spirit enters the body of Sam Williams who happens to be undercover under the same name, it would make much more sense….that’s why I must applaud the writers for coming up with the undercover it eliminated potential ‘loopholes’.
    Because throughout the series, i was wondering how can a Sam Tyler’s 2006 body, co-exist with his 4- year old in 1973. But the writers seem to have answered my question implying that Sam returned to 1973 as Sam Williams…doesn’t that make sense?
    Whehter or not the writers were implying the above theory, I still think the whole story was cleverly written. not a single loophole.
    However, i wish he had spent more time in 2006 post-comatose, and actually dug up past records of whehter 1973 characters existed and how they fared in 2006, if they did exist.
    For example, after waking up from the coma in 2006, maybe he could have found records that Gene Hunt, Ray, Chris and Annie all had bad endings (possibly tragic deaths) as a result of 1973’s Sam Williams walking out on them. Or who knows, for a more interesting and creative subplot, maybe he even gets to track down and meet the ageing Gene, Ray, Chris and Annie in 2006, all faring badly…perhaps, a senile alcoholic Gene noticing the ‘resemblance’ between 2006 Sam Tyler and 1973’s Sam Williams who walked out on them…or an insane unmarried Annie mistaking “sam tyler” for her “old lover that got away in 1973 and betrayed her”….other possibilities would be Ray and chris got killed as a result of Sam Williams walking out on them, as the records show…etc
    All of which will lead 2006 Sam Tyler to stick to his moral obligation to time travel to 1973 as Sam Williams for good, to change the yucky 2006 future for all these characters. Hence, the inability to ‘feel’ in 2006, and the decision to jump down the building and return to 1973 as Sam Williams, possibly telling Frank Morgan to fuck off, and quit his undercover duties, and permanently transfer to work with Gene et al.
    So yeah…that’s my take on the plot. Hope it’s not too confusing for those reading. But on the whole I was extremely satisfied with the Series endings as shown in the DVD’s…I just thought a few details (God is in the details) would have made it a bit more interesting, that’s all…lookin forward to read more…
    P/S Another possible sub-plot could be that Frank Morgan in 2006 is the same Frank Morgan in 1973, but obviously 33 years older and switched careers. it could be that Sam Williams’ undercover act destroyed so many lives, causing Frank Morgan to suddenly feel remorse over his deeds, and therefore switching to a medical career in 2006….Ok OK….I guess my imagination is getting a bit too colourful here…LOL.yeah, i know it sounds far fetched, but this is just TV, right?.

  78. Anon

    Wow…interesting views.
    I am also watching the American remake of the series showing in Aus. But i of course remembered the ending of the BBC series which I watched years ago.
    I have another “metaphysical” interpretation to add on to the theories of those who mentioned the Quantum Leap/Donnie Darko parallel universe concepts…which I agree with wholeheartedly.
    I actually think that the gravestones of Sam, Vic and Ruth Tyler in the 19th century, which were the inspiration for Sam William’s undercover identity could represent something else too.
    Metaphysically, it could also give us the idea (for all New Agers out there), that 20th-21stcentury Sam Tyler, and his parents Ruth and Vic, were the reincarnation of Sam, Ruth and Vic in the 1800’s…
    Just an afterthought. I guess that’s not what the writers intended…but this metaphysical theory seems to fit nonetheless.
    I must say the ending is great though, and leaves so much room for interpretation, and is yet, so complete in itself….

  79. Claire Muncaster

    Before this, my TV was gathering dust in my bedroom.
    Dad tried to get me to watch this, I was a bit hesitant but came round eventually; to this day he says it’s the only time I’ve actually *listened* to him !!
    What a series! I fell in luv with Gene Hunt & was riveted throughout. When it finished I was shaking & crying. I was out of sorts for days. It doesn’t half make you appreciate what you’ve got.

  80. Pete

    Loved the series I watched every episode with my wife. Shame it ended since it was a really good show. I thought the ending was well done all except the scene about OBama’s daughter as President which was just another Hollywood plug for a no load.

  81. Claire Muncaster

    When you’ve guessed some of the outcome to something (what my Gene was) you’d think you’d find it boring & want to switch off. When I realised what had happened I felt pretty much the same as he did.
    & I have got people to care about me, gorgeous dog, etc.
    It does seem a bit silly when you know it’s only a TV show, but there you go. People get obsessed with soaps don’t they ?? (I was very scornful about that before seeing LoM.) If I’m having a crap day I always think of the end & feel relieved I’m not Sam ……

  82. Pingback: Exile: John Simm | Life of Wylie

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