Telly for Anglophiles | Life on Mars
Life on Mars is a British television series broadcast on BBC One between January 2006 and April 2007. The series combines elements of science fiction and police procedural, featuring a police officer (played by John Simm) who travels back in time after being involved in a road accident. The title is a reference to David Bowie’s 1973 single “Life on Mars?”.
Life on Mars tells the fictional story of Sam Tyler (John Simm), a policeman in service with the Greater Manchester Police. After being hit by a car in 2006, Tyler awakes in 1973 and finds himself working for the predecessor of the GMP, the Manchester and Salford Police at the same station and location as in 2006. Early on in the series, it becomes apparent to Tyler that he awakes as a Detective Inspector, one rank lower than his 2006 rank of Detective Chief Inspector. As part of the Criminal Investigation Department, Tyler finds himself working under the command of Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister).
Throughout the two series, the central plot centres on the ambiguity concerning Tyler’s predicament of it being unclear to both the audience and the character whether he has died, gone mad, is in a coma or has actually travelled back in time.