IT looked like yet another quiet evening in with a tin of ‘oops and a Life On Mars DVD.
Then the postman delivered an invite to a night out with Gene Hunt.
“There’s no dress code,” the DCI explained on mug-stained North West District Police headed paper, “but try and make an effort, eh?
“The place will be packed with birds, so unless you’re a Catholic priest you might want to try and impress them.”
The occasion was tonight’s London cast and crew premiere of Life On Mars – The Finale.
(Don’t worry about having your enjoyment of next week’s final episode ruined. This blog remains spoiler free and you’ll find no clues below)

“SAM. I appear to have killed a man…”
The penultimate episode of Life On Mars highlights a cast and crew working together as a team at the very top of their form.
Screened on BBC1 at 9pm this Tuesday, the mystery of why modern day detective Sam Tyler is in 1973 Manchester continues to unfold.
DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) is arrested for murder and asks Sam (John Simm) for help.
Is the arrival from Hyde of acting DCI Frank Morgan, played by Ralph Brown, significant?
Does this spell the end of the Gene Genie?
And why is the CID office so tidy?
One thing is certain – the final moments will have fans counting down the minutes to the last ever episode on April 10.

IT has been a real joy to write about Life On Mars.
We all see things in different ways. But, for me, it’s one of the greatest TV dramas ever to grace the small screen.
There are now just three episodes left on BBC1 before fans finally discover how the series ends.
I’ve been lucky enough to see all three – including episode eight of this second and final series.
I can’t, of course, reveal anything about the fate of Sam, Gene. Annie, Chris, Ray and co.
But I can say that I absolutely loved the ending.

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

THE stars of top TV dramas get all the limelight. But they’re usually among the first to credit the production teams who bring them to the screen.
Read the closing titles for Life On Mars and you’ll realise just what a team effort the BBC1 hit is.
So there was much sadness when stunt co-ordinator Peter Brayham died in December.
One of the world’s top stuntmen over the last 40 years, he worked on five episodes in the first series of Life On Mars and a number in the second.
John Simm told me: “He was a lovely guy who worked on both series and was brilliant at stunts. He was also a stunt guy for The Sweeney. It’s a tragedy.”

A man walked up to Liz White when she was on location filming Life On Mars in Manchester.
“Tell that Gene Hunt he’s got it spot on,” the bystander informed her. “I was a policeman in Manchester in 1973 and that’s exactly what it was like.”
I met up with Liz , who plays WDC Annie Cartwright in the BBC1 drama, twice last year.
Once was on set with John Simm and Philip Glenister in Manchester. The other time was in London for the launch of Jimmy McGovern’s The Street, in which she also appeared.
Filming Life On Mars was a long slog for the cast and crew, who also had to contend with a studio filled with dry ice for many of the scenes at the police HQ.

THAT would be the Camberwick Green episode in the new series of Life On Mars.
The freeze frame button on my remote is worn out after watching episode five, which sees Sam Tyler tripping the light fantastic.
Among Sam’s white light visions is a mystery face, possibly from his 1973 future. And wouldn’t you just know it, there’s something strange on the TV.
There are also plenty of potential clues for fans searching for the answer to the central mystery at the heart of the BBC1 series.

OBSESSED? Never. OK, I’ll confess to watching the first episode in the new series five times, and the next three at least twice each.
And where will I be at 9pm next Tuesday? Do you even need to ask? Is there a Life On Mars counselling line?
There’s another news story on the series in today’s MEN. You can read the online version here, along with yesterday’s latest features here and here, plus a longer chat to John Simm here.
Not all of the copy made it into today’s paper. For example:
Copies of a spoof booklet from North West District CID – The Rules Of Modern Policing 1973 Edition – are also being traded on eBay, after thousands of free copies were snapped up at cinemas across the country.

LIFE on Mars star Philip Glenister wanted to take it home to speed up the weekly shop.
John Simm was frustrated he never got to play with it.
A bottle of Old Spice in the glove box, David Bowie playing on the radio and a screeching sound coming from the tyres?
Yes, we’re talking about the real star of the award-winning Manchester drama, which is to be auctioned for charity.

IT’S the best-selling show heading for a heart-stopping climax.
The return of Life On Mars is now just a matter of weeks away, with eight hotly-anticipated episodes ready to roll.
A viral marketing campaign has already begun and TV trails start on BBC1 this Saturday.
Fans will know how Sam Tyler (John Simm) and Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) were transformed into puppets for a surreal sequence in episode five.