[11/09/07 - 01:42 PM]
Solving Crime Is Just a Matter of Time
BBC America will launch the second (and final) season of "Life on Mars" with a two-hour premiere on Tuesday, December 11 starting at 8:00/7:00c.

[via press release from BBC America]


Stuck-in-the-'70s series, Life on Mars, returns for a second and final season

John Simm returns as time-travelling detective, Sam Tyler, who, after a near fatal car crash in present day, wakes up dazed, confused and in 1973. Freaked out by his new and outdated surroundings, Sam tries to return to the present. Has he gone crazy, in a coma or travelled back in time? Winner of an International Emmy�, BAFTA and RTS Award, Life on Mars is the latest critically-acclaimed U.K. drama slated for a U.S. pilot, in this case by David E. Kelley for ABC. SPECIAL TWO-HOUR PREMIERE: Life on Mars, season two, premieres Tuesday, December 11, 8:00 p.m. ET/PT

In season one, while pursuing a gangland killer, Sam confronted deeply repressed memories of his murderous father. He managed to free himself from the guilt and fears of his childhood, but somehow still remained trapped in 1973 with diminishing hopes that he'd return to his former life.

Season two sees Sam clearly established in the upper echelons of Manchester's Police force but, it's still the '70s, so he's still at odds with his chain-smoking, bigoted, technologically-backward and corrupt boss, Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister). With classic music from David Bowie, Santana, T Rex, ELO, Roxy Music and Thin Lizzy, a guest role by Hustle's Marc Warren and an episode written by the creator of Torchwood, Chris Chibnall, the finale season promises a thrilling finish and, finally, the fans will learn the truth about Sam Tyler and how he came to be stuck in 1973.

Gene's maverick methods of policing continue and his desire to rid Manchester of criminal scum is stronger than ever, now that his mentor, Superintendent Woolf (Kevin McNally, Pirates of the Caribbean), is back at the precinct. However, Sam is astonished to find that his own mentor and inspiration from present day, Chief Inspector Glenn Fletcher (Emmet Brown, Outlaws) has also joined the team � although he's just a fresh-faced, new recruit in 1973, dealing with the extra pressure of the racist attitudes of his new colleagues. Marc Warren guest stars as Tony Crane - another ghost from Sam's 'future past' � who's a sleazy casino owner with a line in counterfeit cash. When Sam realizes the danger Crane's girlfriend, Eve (Yasmin Bannerman), will face in the future, he tries to put him away in a style that's more old-school than what he'd usually recommend.

As Sam continues to use his knowledge and the techniques of the future to solve crimes in the past, each case offers some key to the mystery of his life. And, as the series draws to a close, the messages and visions Sam habitually perceives start to link up, pointing in one direction. Perhaps the voices he hears aren't those of doctors by his comatose form in modern day. Perhaps Sam's journey has murkier origins than he imagined. Certainly, its destination will chill Sam to the core.

BBC AMERICA brings audiences a new generation of award-winning television featuring razor-sharp comedies, provocative dramas, life-changing makeovers and news with a uniquely global perspective. BBC AMERICA pushes the boundaries to deliver high quality, highly addictive and eminently watchable programming to viewers who demand more. BBC AMERICA is distributed by Discovery Networks. It is available on digital cable and satellite TV.

For more information about BBC AMERICA visit www.bbcamerica.com

Sam Tyler John Simm
Gene Hunt Philip Glenister
Annie Cartwright Liz White
Ray Carling Dean Andrews
Chris Skelton Marshall Lancaster
Phyllis Dobbs Noreen Kershaw
Nelson Tony Marshall
Supt Harry Woolf Kevin R McNally
Co-Creators Matthew Graham
Tony Jordan
Ashley Pharoah
Episodes 1, 5 & 8 Matthew Graham
Episode 2 Chris Chibnall
Episode 3 Julie Rutterford
Episode 4 Ashley Pharoah
Episode 6 Guy Jenkin
Episode 7 Mark Greig
Episodes 1, 2, 7 & 8 SJ Clarkson
Episodes 3 & 4 Richard Clark
Episodes 5 & 6 Andrew Gunn
Producer Cameron Roach
Executive Producers Jane Featherstone
Claire Parker
Matthew Graham


"I maintain that it is impossible to have a heartbeat and not love this show" Observer

"It seems as if Life on Mars, which was already pretty remarkable throughout its first run, is to become still richer and more interesting in its second and final series." Financial Times

"Funny, fresh, original, inventive, smart, nostalgic, intriguing, absorbing � it's easily my favourite show in years." Daily Star

"... one of the best TV shows of the last ten years." The Times

"Crisply scripted, funny, imaginative � why can't more telly be like this?" Guardian

"This bobby dazzler's still got wheels .... Just look at the lines, and relish the flair with which it does a handbrake turn." Independent


Track Title
Head In The Sky?
Atomic Rooster
Break Through
Atomic Rooster
Son Of My Father
Chicory Tip
Everybody Gets To Go To The Moon
3 Degrees
Dusty Springfield
Year Of Decision
3 Degrees
David Bowie

Track Title
Sweet Jane
Mott The Hoople
In The Summertime
Mungo Jerry
Ain't Got No
Derek Wadsworth
Love Machine
Uriah Heep
Bird Of Prey
Uriah Heep
Long Cool Woman in a black dress
The Hollies
Good Bye Yellow Brick Road
Elton John

Track Title
How Can I Be Sure
Cavaliere / Brigati
9 The Big Spell
Werth / Williams 3
Poor Old Ireland
Hell Raiser
Chinn / Chapman
Kevin Barry
Ward Terrance
When The City Sleeps

Track Title
Story In Your Eyes
The Moody Blues
I'm Ready
Frankie Miller
Court In The Act
Samba Pa Ti
When The City Sleeps
Barclay James Harvest
Coz I Love You
Aladdin Sane
David Bowie
Rock On
T Rex
Alone Again Naturally
Gilbert O'Sullivan

Track Title
You Shouldn't Do That
Just Like You
Roxy Music
10538 Overture
Ed Butt

Dance With The Devil
Cozy Powell
Atomic Rooster
Whisky In The Jar
Thin Lizzy
Rocket Man
Elton John
Snow Flower
Ananda Shanker
Rocket Man
Elton John
Traveller in Time
Uriah Heep

Track Title
Many A Mile To Freedom
Evening Blue
Virginia Plain
Roxy Music
Cindy Incidentally
The Faces
Done Me Wrong All Right
The Sweet
Rock & Roll Disgrace
The Sweet
One Of The Boys
Mott The Hoople

Track Title
My Coo Ca Choo
Alvin Stardust
Funeral For A Friend
Elton John
Decision / Indecision
Atomic Rooster
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Life On Mars
David Bowiev Changes
David Bowie
One Of The Boys
Mott The Hoople


SPOILER ALERT! If you'd rather watch the twists and turns revealed in the final season of Life on Mars, DON'T READ ANY FURTHER!

Episode one and episode two will run back-to-back in a special two-hour premiere

Episode one

Despite eerie visions that suggest a tantalizing proximity to modern day, DI Sam Tyler once again wakes up to find himself very much amongst the pale brown hues of the technologically prehistoric, politically incorrect world of '70s Manchester. And worse, he's got a murder to solve. Sam encounters the young incarnation of Tony Crane, a nasty villain he put away in his previous life. This is his chance to do what every cop dreams about�stopping the killer before he kills. Stepping outside of the law to make sure Crane is put away, Sam shocks even his brash colleagues in CID (Criminal Investigation Department). But what they can't understand is what Sam fears � that, since his car accident, Crane has been released and found his way to his hospital bedside where he is exacting his revenge on Sam's vulnerable body. Still desperate to discover how he got to 1973, why he remains there and how he may return to the present day, Sam has to race against the clock to capture a killer, who is trying to murder him in the future.

SPECIAL TWO-HOUR PREMIERE: Episode one premieres Tuesday, December 11, 8:00 p.m. ET/PT

Episode two

At a loss to discover the guilty party in a spate of armed robberies, A-Division goes to prison to escort notorious safe-cracker Dickie Fingers (Steve Evets) back to CID. However, as they transport him out of jail, they are set upon by a dangerous gang who will stop at nothing to get their hands on Fingers. As his mentor, Superintendent Harry Woolf, presides over the investigation, DCI Gene Hunt is keener than ever to show off his team's effectiveness, and they head straight for chief suspect Arnold Malone (Stephen Bent) who tips them off about the next robbery. Jaws drop in the CID unit when their first African American team member arrives, DC Glenn Fletcher. Sam is taken aback � not because Fletcher's black, but because Fletcher's his mentor from his old life. Glenn becomes the butt of Ray's shockingly racist jibes, and yet seems happy to put up with it � something the present-day, older Glenn Fletcher would never do.

SPECIAL TWO-HOUR PREMIERE: Episode two premieres Tuesday, December 11, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT

Episode three

When a bomb warning is reported, A-Division go on red alert. According to the caller, the IRA has brought their mainland bombing campaign to Manchester. DI Sam Tyler soon realises the bomb warning reported doesn't fit with his understanding of IRA methods. However, when Sam's modern know-how fails, they turn his back on him. As his own team's trust in him evaporates, Sam fights to prove that blaming the IRA is too obvious. Desperate to regain the faith of his colleagues, Sam realises he must also stop a fearful, bigoted CID going after the Irish community with typical "Gene Hunt" aggression. Sam begins to show his colleagues what testing times lie ahead for them and how forming genuine bonds of trust with their communities could be the only way to ensure peace in the city � a concept Gene finds hard to adopt!

Episode three premieres Tuesday, December 18, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT

Episode four

When the body of a beautiful young woman is found, DCI Gene Hunt fears a serial killer he thought he'd sent down in the late '60s may still be at large. For Sam, the victim, a beauty rep like his Aunt Heather, triggers vivid recollections of childhood. Utilizing his knowledge of modern surveillance techniques, Sam is led to middle class suburbia, where a local car dealer is throwing private parties employing the poorly paid make-up girls to "help out" when the lights go down and the wife-swapping begins. Sam and Annie go undercover as a young swinging couple to infiltrate the swinging world of Blue Nun and lava lamps.

Episode four premieres Tuesday, December 25, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT

Episode five

DCI Gene Hunt and the team are called to the scene where a young Ugandan Asian man, Dipack, has been shot. As usual, Gene jumps to conclusions and assumes it is drug-related after finding a suspicious bag of white powder on the body. Sam has to work to make sure the bigoted, knee-jerk attitude of the police doesn't condemn the new immigrant community before a fair hearing. The new drug turns out to be heroin, which has already claimed the life of one young user on the other side of town, and Gene is determined to put a stop to it spreading round the streets of Manchester. If there's one thing Gene hates more than anything, it's drug pushers. Local hard man Toolbox Terry isn't happy about the new drug arrival, either. Displaying a rare sense of community spirit, he decides to rid Manchester of this new poison the only way he knows how, by torturing a suspected dealer � something Gene is happy to let him to do. While Dipack lays ill in hospital, his girlfriend, Layla, is stuck in the middle of a highly charged situation and unsure who she can trust. She is surprised at Sam's acceptance of her mixed-race relationship, and the two forge a very close bond � especially when Sam discovers her secret.

Episode five premieres Tuesday, January 1, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT

Episode six

Sam Tyler has been on sick leave for a couple of days, but he still feels strange � at least, stranger than normal. While trying to work out why he's having vivid hallucinations about what his CID colleagues are doing, he also has to take command of an urgent investigation. Sam stumbles into A-division, dazed and confused, and sees a man about to hang himself from the canteen ceiling. He learns the man's wife and daughter have been kidnapped, and are being held hostage. Knowing that time is ticking away on the women's lives, Sam is determined to shake the demons from his head, focus on the investigation and help the desperate family. He starts by interviewing all of A-Division, gaining a privileged insight into their perspectives. Sam learns of the murder of a young girl in 1972, and the speedy, aggressive apprehension of her boyfriend for the crime. In unpicking the details he begins to work out who might be motivated to hold these two vulnerable women hostage. When a clearly worse-for-wear Sam slips, Annie is left exposed as she deduces for herself the true identity of the kidnapper. Meanwhile, Sam's overview of the investigation has brought unwelcome information to light about the initial murder and hurried conviction. Now Sam and the rest of CID may have to see two dangerous individuals are brought to justice.

Episode six premieres Tuesday, January 8, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT

Episode seven

Sick of trying to comfort a particularly self-pityingly drunk and angry Gene Hunt, Sam goes home only to be awoken in the middle of the night by Gene himself, explaining, "I appear to have killed someone." While Sam gets to work on proving his disorderly colleague's innocence in the shooting of a local underworld bookie, he's being monitored by the stand-in DCI, Frank Morgan, from Hyde division. Morgan is a man intent on doing the internal investigation by the book. So thoroughly, in fact, that Sam can't help but be impressed by his methods, and his appealingly modern approach. But at the same time, he can't help but accept that the evidence is stacking up against Gene. Sam starts to seriously question whether this boozing, ill-disciplined man could really be capable of committing murder. As Sam sees Gene's normally loyal colleagues, even Annie, turn coldly from their old boss to Morgan, Sam feels an acute sense of panic. If Gene is rotten, then what on earth is he doing in league with him? Why has he been cracking crimes and putting away bad guys if one of his own is among them? Indeed: why is he in 1973? As Sam redoubles his efforts to prove Gene's innocence, if only to preserve the fragile world Sam has existed in, the investigation comes to a shocking denouement, one that rocks the very foundations of his world. Episode seven premieres Tuesday, January 15, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT

Episode eight

At the start of the season finale, Sam gets some messages from the future. The first is from his mother at his bedside. The next, more nefarious message is, "It's time. You must destroy Gene Hunt." Hang on for a thrilling final episode. The Life on Mars season finale premieres Tuesday, January 22, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT


John Simm plays Detective Inspector Sam Tyler

How was it returning to the world of Sam Tyler?

"It was exciting to go back to the role and it was very nice to see everyone again � we slipped back into it very easily. We literally hit the ground running and it was just like before � in fact, it was almost like we were actually filming a ninth episode for series one rather than episode one of series two! I hadn't had time to do another job in between so the time off just went very quickly, and suddenly we were back in to it. It was great."

There continue to be lots of altercations between Sam and the rest of his team. Does Sam's bloody-mindedness and moral behavior still make life difficult for him?

"In episode three, the team are called out because of a threatened bomb blast. Obviously, Gene jumps to conclusions and assumes it's the IRA, but Sam knows that this can't be so. He is absolutely certain that he is right, but Sam thinks it must be a hoax. So, when he and Ray lock horns and Ray goes to investigate, Sam honestly doesn't think that there is any risk, but Ray takes the consequences. I don't think Sam would intentionally put anyone in danger � not even Ray!"

Is Sam getting increasingly frustrated with his situation � not knowing if he's in a coma or if he's going mad?

"I don't think Sam is frustrated, as such, I think he's resigned to the fact that he's there and he's waiting for something else to happen to give him a sign � which does happen, more or less, in every episode; he has a frightening dream or he's given the wrong drugs or he's hearing things from 2007 on the radio. I think he's just waiting for another chance to wake up and get out."

Is it true you and Philip wore Old Spice aftershave occasionally during filming to re-create that '70s feeling?

"Right at the very beginning of the series, Phil and I decided we'd wear Old Spice and Brut to try and get the '70s smell every morning � to get us in the mood. We did it once and we stank so much we never did it again! We both had these bottles of unused aftershave that we had been begging Emma (White), the make-up lady, to go out and buy, which she did, and we only used it once � it was a very bad idea!"

Will you miss Life on Mars?

"I'll miss the fact that I'm not working with these fantastic people. It was really hard work, almost like an endurance test in a lot of ways. I was in every scene so the days were really long. I was away from home for a year, and it was quite tough. I'll miss the leather jacket but, hopefully, I can keep it and put it in my wardrobe � it will live on even after Life on Mars!"

What are you up to next?

"I filmed a one-off drama for Channel 4 called The Yellow House. I play Vincent Van Gogh, and it's based around when he lived in Arles, South France, with Paul Gauguin, in 1888. It basically culminated in Van Gogh going mad and cutting his ear off. I enjoyed it immensely, and found it great to play someone else � especially alongside John Lynch who plays Gauguin. Sadly, I don't have any originals of Van Gogh's work. However, I do have a few prints at home. I had to paint when we were filming certain scenes, which was really weird, and I had to get in to the psyche of someone who was very mentally ill at the time. It was very different to playing Sam Tyler!"

Philip Glenister plays Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt

What was it like returning to series two of Life On Mars?

"Like Groundhog Day! It was like we had never been away!"

Was it good to get back into it?

"Yes. Sometimes, when you start a second series, it can feel different because you get a new set of crew members and, obviously, things change but we had a lot of the same crew, which was nice � it was like they hadn't even changed their clothes!"

How did you feel when you found out that this series would reveal a little more about Gene's background?

"I was quite reluctant about it initially, mainly because I'm very protective of Gene and I think one of the great things about him is that he's an enigma � and I think the audience like that a lot. I think the fact that Sam sees him like that is very important within their relationship, so I felt he needed to remain an enigma. But, of course, the writing is so good and when Gene talks about the details of what happened to his brother, he's quite dismissive and aloof. Gene doesn't do psychology."

Do you think he's proud of his team? He does occasionally dish out the odd compliment...

"This is why I always based him on a football [soccer] manager because it's a very similar thing. Brian Clough, for example, would never over-praise his players, but when they won the European Cup everyone knew he was the proudest man in the country and those were some of the proudest players on the pitch. It's still apparent in current football managers, Sir Alex Ferguson, for example, is training footballers who are paid �100,000 per week. Since they're been paid a hell of a lot of money, you know he thinks: 'you get out there and win the football match!' Gene's the same as Ferguson and Clough but, obviously, with him it's about catching criminals. Instead, Gene would say to his team: 'You bloody well get out there and catch criminals. And I don't care how you get them. There are some nasty bastards out there and I want them off the streets.' In that respect I agree with Gene, because if there are nasty bastards out there, I don't care how he gets them off the streets. As you get older you get less tolerant of these things."

Gene is very protective of his patch, isn't he?

"He's Wyatt Earp; he's the Sheriff who wears the badge. When I've been asked what genre you would put Life on Mars in, I say it's a Western. It's got everything that a great Western has: the frontier, the town, the characters and the Sheriff � and that Sheriff is Gene. Yes, he does cut corners and he does see things in black and white, but I still maintain that he keeps it in-house. You never see Gene really picking on someone who is the wrong person. The only time I think he goes over the top is with the suspected IRA bomber, in episode three."

Gene's insensitive humor definitely makes people laugh, even when they shouldn't...

"I love his subtlety! As an actor that stuff is great fun to play. However, we all do laugh at his lines. That's a metaphor for life, in some respects, the whole political correctness thing. I was talking to a friend the other day and we said I haven't heard a single person saying: 'Isn't it marvellous, that whole political correctness thing?' It's just red tape and bureaucracy that gets in the way."

How do you feel about Life on Mars coming to an end?

"Mixed feelings, in a way. It was a great, great show to do, and Gene was a wonderful character to play � probably the most fun I've ever had. It was a great team, and part of the thing I love about a job is the camaraderie of the crew and cast. When you're away from home they become your family. We were very fortunate we had a phenomenal crew who worked their backsides off."

  [november 2007]  


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