“YOU can never be sure how it’s going to go down,” said Life On Mars co-creator Matthew Graham.
“You always know that with this show, there’s such a high level of expectation as to what it should be.
“Everyone has their own theories.”
We were talking just a few days before Tuesday night’s BBC1 screening of the last ever episode.
As it goes, the final 60 minutes has provoked a reaction, I suspect, beyond even the wildest dreams of Matthew and the rest of the TV team.
And it has sparked its own legacy – an explosion of debate which looks set to go on for weeks, months and even years to come.
Over at The Railway Arms, a poll shows that more than 81 per cent of fans have given the farewell episode a maximum rating, voting it one of the best.
And a further 11.8 per cent said it was very good.
A Digital Spy poll has some 61 per cent of people voting the episode “excellent” with 20 per cent rating it as “very good” and six per cent “good”.
Taken together, along with the eight million people who watched the climax, those are approval ratings to warm the heart of any programme maker.
It’s no comfort, of course, to the minority who didn’t like the ending.
But there’s still plenty of room to debate those “theories”.
Can I say thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to post comments – please keep them coming.
Life On Mars: The Answers has received a staggering number of hits from all over the globe.
Matthew agreed in that interview that, whatever he intended in writing the final episode, you can still view the ending in different ways.
I’ll say it again – it depends on what you want to believe.
I’ve scanned hundreds, if not thousands, of online posts about the last episode over the last three days.
I know I’ve not been alone.
Are we mad, in a coma or back in time?
No, we’re just totally lost in Life On Mars and can’t stop thinking about it.
Can you name the last British TV drama to achieve that sort of effect?
One that springs to mind is The Prisoner.
And, yes, at least one clever soul thought they saw a clear homage to that classic ITV series in the scenes at Fairfield Street rail depot.
Another keen-eyed viewer spotted the fact that one of the little girls skipping down the alley at the very end was wearing ruby red slippers.
While someone else realised that Sam didn’t return to 1973 just for Annie.
He went back, of course, for The Jacket.
I loved the ending from the very first time I saw it. And eight subsequent viewings over the last month or so have done nothing to change that view.
Some people want to know if 1973 was real – or were Gene, Ray, Chris and Annie all in Sam’s head?
My own view is that this is a fantasy drama and, of course, they were real. They were on my TV every week.
I could pick dozens of quotes from the perceptive regulars at The Railway Arms.
But here are just two:
*“I think the ending could be whatever you, personally, choose to make it.”
*“We can argue over many interpretations of what happened and what it was about, but to me that is what great drama should be: exciting, shocking, entertaining and thought-provoking. In the end we did not get all the answers, but that’s life, isn’t it?”
Even the Scary Test Card Girl has been in touch – young actress Harriet Rogers, who took over the role for the second series.
I hope Harriet won’t mind if I quote what she said, just to ease the fears of anyone still hiding behind the sofa – and also to add some perspective.
“It has been really exciting for me being in Life On Mars.
“My first episode, number three, was shown on my 10th birthday, which was very cool!!”
See, not so scary after all. I wish her all the best for the future.
Harriet has earned herself a place in TV history in those very final moments of Life On Mars.
Matthew has already explained what he intended in that “closedown” scene, when the Scary Test Card Girl switched off our TVs.
But was it also symbolic of Sam’s death?
It depends on what you want to believe…
Matthew also said that he thought Sam’s 1973 “afterlife” would stretch out as an eternity.
Somehow, I suspect that will also apply to the debate about Life On Mars.
Life On Mars: The Answers
Life On Mars: Ashes To Ashes
Life On Mars MEN Blogs
Life On Mars MEN TV Stories
The Railway Arms
Digital Spy Forums