The Real Life On Mars

THE brilliance of Life On Mars does not diminish.
Re-watching old episodes is a reminder of just how good the series was.
And of John Simm’s superb performance as Sam Tyler.
Much of the focus since the series ended has fallen on Gene Hunt, played by Philip Glenister.
That continues in The Real Life On Mars, a new documentary on BBC4 this Monday night.
There’s a feature on the film – part of the Britcop season – in that day’s MEN.
Update: The online version is here.
Co-producers Simon Brown and Steve Bradshaw say: “We talk to ex-cops, criminals, academics and writers to discover the truth behind Seventies’ policing – and how much we’ve gained and lost.”
Life On Mars co-creator Matthew Graham is one of the contributors.
He explains how he discovered the character of Gene had been underwritten.

There’s also some background to the portrayal of sexism and racism in the series, including the moment when Annie was promoted to Detective Constable.
“It was supposed to feel like a bright sixth former going into the teachers’ staff room,” Matthew says of the scene where she walked into the all male CID office.
“In other words, they did like her and they did respect her and they did know that she was good.
“But basically they thought they were far superior to her and ultimately she was just a child.”
He adds: “We decided that Gene wasn’t an overt racist but that he was racially lazy, so that he would generalise about people.”
The documentary also asks who would be more effective in solving crime – Gene or Sam?
“I’d like both of them,” replies Matthew.
“I’d like Sam to do all the forensic work in my house because he’d be throrough.
“And once he’s ascertained a forensic link to the subject, I’d like Gene to arrest them and talk to them quietly in the police station and get a confession.”
Gene, of course, lives on in a second series of Ashes To Ashes which begins filming early next month.
*The Real Life On Mars: BBC4, Monday, 9pm.
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