Life On Mars: The Final Word

THE debate about the final episode of Life On Mars has certainly thrown up some interesting viewpoints.
Some fans continue to ask questions at The Railway Arms.
Named after Manchester CID’s 1973 local, it’s a brilliant fan site with some of the most passionate and intelligent comments to be found on the web.
It also demonstrates how a TV drama can spark creativity, humour, fun, serious debate, empathy and friendship via the world wide inter-web.
If you were a fan of the BBC1 series, then it’s a place you must seek out.
Members of the TV team, including John Simm and Dean Andrews, have also contributed their thoughts there from time to time.
And Life On Mars co-creator and lead writer Matthew Graham called in again this afternoon to “draw a line under a few points”.

It follows on from what he explained in Life On Mars: The Answers.
I highly recommend a visit to The Railway Arms – just click on the name to reach the site.
But for those who may not otherwise have found his comments, here’s part of what Matthew had to say to the regulars today:
“The Ending: Many of you liked it. Some of you loathed it. A lot of you were baffled.
“This struck me as an interesting irony. Because I have noticed that the deeper a person’s love of the show is, the more that emotion clouds their reasoning. ‘Ordinary’ folk (by that I simply mean people just sitting down and watching their telly of a night) tend to get the ending.
“Sam lived in 2006. He was stifled by red tape and modern life only he didn’t know it.
“He harboured secret fantasies about breaking out. He had an accident. He pitched up in a place of bigotry, narrow-mindedness but also of emotional liberation.
“He didn’t embrace this world but he loved to fight against it. The fight made him feel alive. And he fell in love. With Annie, not Gene.
“He fought to get home because he believed it was the right thing to do. But making it back to 2006 came at a price – leaving his ‘friends’ and the woman of his dreams to die.
”He told his mother as best he could and she, in her own way, endorsed his decision to return. ‘Then she has nothing to worry about because you always keep your promises.’
”He committed suicide. But it was a positive act because he could rescue CID and find peace.
“As the Cortina drives into the setting sun, Sam hears a doctor pronounce him dead. He doesn’t care. As the car drives away perhaps Sam now lives that last second of consciousness forever.
”And then the Test Card Girl appears. And her look is intended to say ‘That’s enough of that. It’s only a story and now it’s ended. Go and read a good book.’ And off goes the telly.
”Are there loose ends? A few. Is that deliberate? Of course. Loose ends are fun. Life has loose ends. No one has all the answers.
”Should Sam have ended up on Mars? Should Gene have been his dad? Should Chris have been the secret leader of a cult of Martian scientists investigating the human condition?
”Why? Because this isn’t an SF show. This is about a man’s emotional odyssey. The ending was always going to be this.
“I didn’t write the show to give it a wacky bizarro climax. I wrote about Us and what We were like Then. And then I left it open for debate – was 73 better? Should Sam have killed himself? Is Gene a good guy or a bad guy?
“Big questions but emotionally, this story hangs together. You don’t have to like what I did with it but don’t tell me it should have ended in deep space or with an elderly Annie or aged Gene.
”Does my opinion vary from Ashley’s or Tony’s or Chris’s or Mark’s or Julie’s or Guy’s? No it does not. Because Episode 8 existed as a concept before any of them started writing. They all knew where it was headed because Ash and I had told them.
”Is there more to learn?
”A2A will take you on a bigger journey. There is more to Gene Hunt than is dreamt of in our philosophies. But the journey takes time folks.
”Of course feel free to love or hate what has come so far but I just thought I could draw a line under a few points.”
The Railway Arms


Filed under Life On Mars

4 responses to “Life On Mars: The Final Word

  1. Christine

    As a long time poster at The Arms, I want to thank you for all the support you have given the site during the run of Life on Mars. I have been watching the sometimes heated discussions regarding the ending for the last few weeks and it pains me to think that Matthew, who has been so gracious with us, feels the need to justify himself because of a very small minority who may have taken those discussions a little too far. Love the ending or hate it, the majority of us have great respect for the cast and crew and the wonderful ride they took us on. Because even though we have a very deep love of the show, at the end of the day, most of us realize that that is what it was, a TV show. I hope he doesn’t let this taint the experience he has had with the fanbase.
    Bring on Ashes to Ashes, Matt!

  2. Diane

    I’ve posted regularly on the Arms for a while now too and also felt sad, like Christine, that Matthew had to justify his ending to this show. But having said that, whether members loved or hated the ending, the Arms has been a wonderful place to share all these ideas and many warm and long lasting friendships have formed, especially here in the US. (There’s going to be a US meetup of Arms members in June.) And we would have never met each other if it wasn’t for this great show that Matthew and Ashley have created and for that we owe you. That’s the real legacy that has been left behind by this show.

  3. Debbie

    As yet another member of the Arms, I just wanted to say that I very much appreciated that Matthew cared enough about what we think to take the time to come and post his thoughts. We wondered “aloud” about things, so to speak, and he was good enough to come in and address some of our questions. He didn’t have to, but he did. So kudos to him (pun intended) and to you, Mr. Wylie, for the respect you have shown us.

  4. kathy wells

    hi,my name is kathy I was there in 1973, I got married, got a proper job, had 2 kids, did I have an accident, am I in a coma, it”s 2008 if I can work out why I am here maybe I can go back!!!

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