Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Farewell to Life on Mars

I'm lamenting the demise of LIFE ON MARS this evening. I've enjoyed very minute of it. For the uninitiated the main character is a policeman who goes back in time to 1973. It's a sort of SWEENEY throwback.

I do have one slight niggle though. [pedant alert] The gold Ford Cortina driven by Chief Inspector Gene Hunt wasn't actually available in 1973. It has a vertical dashboard which were only introduced in late 1974 models. The high rear seats were also not available in the 1973 model. The 1973 models also never had GXL headlights. The whole interior is of a 2000E, yet it is badged GXL[/pedant alert]
But who cares? A brilliant series. What they should do now is to transport Gene Hunt into 2007. Now THAT would be fun...

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

You need to get another life mate! And I dont reckon I'm the first to say that either....

Guthrum said...

It was great everything brown and orange just like it was then- as to the car perhaps it was like huggy bear in the remake of Starsky & Hutch, 'this car is not available until next year, but I know some people who know some people, who steal things' !

Anonymous said...

He'd be in his seventies.

I suppose he could be leader of the Lib Dems.

The Empty Suit said...

Iain, when they sold the car on Ebay recently for Comic Relief it was clearly labelled as a rebadged 2000E. I'll get me coat.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

A record shop called "vinyls"
- a term created AFTER the invention of CDs?

+ the squads' office - far too "open plan" for 1973 surely?

Old BE said...

I missed the final episode, I hope it's repeated!

Gene Hunt in 2007 would be a classic!

Anonymous said...

The rumour I've heard about the future of the series is that there will be a follow up with Gene Hunt in 1981 during the Ashes.

Rush-is-Right said...

As a possessor of The Sweeney series 1-4 DVDs I feel no need for this stuff. It's passable entertainment, but no more. "The Sweeney" on the other hand.....

Anonymous said...

How come you were writing your blog about this at 9.20pm when the programme was on between 9 and 10pm? And why weren't you watching MU scoring 7 goals against Roma?

Anonymous said...

Help ma boab. I agree with anon at 9.43. x

Unknown said...

I think Iain that the Radio Times did a feature on the car last year pointing out that it was the wrong model for 1973.

There are numoerous Life On Mars sites also that cover that car, and the Allegros (which are also from the wrong year).

Ryan, the follow up one off special is subtitled "Ashes to Ashes", which I think was a Bowie hit in 1980.

Iain Dale said...

Nich, I don't know about those sites. All I know is that my car obsessed partner keeps on about it and what a disgrace it is!

Anonymous said...

Isn't Gene Hunt alive and well in 2007 - and posting as "the Hitch"?

Anonymous said...

I've just watched the recording of it (out chairing a selection meeting before that) - loved it, but not sure I understand the ending:

Sam really was in a coma, he came out of it, didn't like 2007, committed suicide and went back to 1973 - have I got that right?

ian said...

Ed

Repeat is Thursday, 9pm, BBC4.

ian said...

Ed - stop reading now...

Judith - my interpretation was that the future stuff was all in his imagination, hence him feeling the slap, but not the cut, and everything Morgan told him was true.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Iain, a spin-off starring Gene Hunt is in the works, called Ashes to Ashes. The BBC should apparently be formally announcing its commission today (Wednesday).

Anonymous said...

No, don't buy that Ian, do you remember in the first episode, he came into the CID room and said 'where are the PCs?' and someone said 'in the canteen!'?

How would Sam have known about personal computers, human rights legislation, etc etc, if the 1973 reality was the real reality (as it were!)?

I think I need some sleep. Good night.

Anonymous said...

Ed - another spoiler

My take was that he never left the coma (hence the radio right at the end in the car). He on the verge of coming back, imagined what it would be like, and chose to stay living in his head (with the delectable Annie). Could be wrong though!

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, that 1974 vertical dashboard moment.

Summed up a whole era, really. Wiped out all memories of rampant decimal currency inflation after 'joining' the EEC; the Coal and Power Station Strikes, the 3-day week, studying by candlelight, the pathetic Heath government, the Angry Brigade, unemployment and emigration.

Yup, let's have those golden Cortina days again!

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, that 1974 vertical dashboard moment.

Summed up a whole era, really. Wiped out all memories of rampant decimal currency inflation after 'joining' the EEC; the Coal and Power Station Strikes, the 3-day week, studying by candlelight, the pathetic Heath government, the Angry Brigade, unemployment and emigration.

Yup, let's have those golden Cortina days again!

Anonymous said...

A future version would be life on Venus - Which the beeb would never allow because it would show the flip side of decades of loony left politics becoming todays 'centre ground'..............

Anonymous said...

Brilliant. I definately wasn't crying like a girl at the end, honest!

The American version will never be able to top this.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Test Card girl turning off the TV at the end was Sam dying. Just a theory. Excellent ending, whatever.

Anonymous said...

Still trying to work out what happened there...?

Anonymous said...

There appears to be some good news for you in The Times today

Toughest cop on Mars gets a transfer to 1980s London

Anonymous said...

It has started showing on German TV...mind you they have Inspector Lynley and Dalziel & Pascoe too

Anonymous said...

"The rumour I've heard about the future of the series is that there will be a follow up with Gene Hunt in 1981 during the Ashes"

Classic Chinese whispers! The working title for the new series is Ashes to Ashes, which was released in 1980. Only Gene though, no Sam. And in London.

Anonymous said...

Best show ever, sad to see it go and the David bowie theme hangs round like a ghost, makes me feel like I just came back from the 70's...

Damn, i miss them lot already.

Anonymous said...

Jesus, Iain. That defines Too Much Information.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was the most sickening politically correct program I had ever seen.

It came across as a grant application for a left wing PC think tank.

Nemonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

OK so the follow up has been confirmed - apparently "Gene turns his attentions to taking on the "southern nancy" criminal scum with the London Met."

He will be joined by a single mother DCI from 2007.

LMO said...

Javelin,you are right.Most BBC drama has lefty commentary running through it;sometimes subtle, sometimes not.

ian said...

An interview with the writer.

Anonymous said...

Totally off-topic, but that's sort of appropriate in this thread, car nerds will love the movie My Cousin Vinny. Much to pick apart there. Also the Viggo Mortensen remake of Vanishing Point.

Mat said...

There are 2 people on this thread who are complete right-wing thickos who feel obliged to bring politics into something as joyously dumb but fun as Life on Mars. See if you can spot them. They stick together like a pair of Flat Earthers at a Copernicus convention. Not the kind of blokes you'd want to be stuck on a long train journey with.

Roger Thornhill said...

I think the followup should be them coming back on Yates' team in 2006...

Anonymous said...

"There are 2 people on this thread who are complete right-wing thickos who feel obliged to bring politics into something as joyously dumb but fun as Life on Mars"
Yeah, just something we picked up from the left-wing media and using against the loony left establishment and the twats that hurl insults but have no arguments.........

David Lindsay said...

It was superb!

But they kept calling Gene Hunt by the Cockney term "Guv", instead of "Boss".

Apart from that, sublime!

Grendel said...

There will certainly be a very large Mars shaped hole in my viewing schedule now. I remember watching the trailers prior to the start of the first series and thought that it would probably be worth a watch but never thought it would surpass Spooks or Hustle. However of the three ‘quality’ dramas I think that (possibly like Sam) being killed off in its prime will leave the most beautiful body.

The end was superb. According to an interview with the writer (sorry can’t remember his name) Sam was in a coma and was awoken in 2007 only to find that after all he preferred his unconscious fantasy. Having spent time watching the episodes and as much as one can caring about the characters it was odd to feel happy that Sam would commit suicide to spend a few moments with his ‘real’ friends before the test card girl called time at the very end.

Dumb fun and actually quite touching. I hope that Ashes to Ashes has the same thought and care taken over it.

Anonymous said...

But they are making another series in which he is in the 80s, he drives an Audi Quattro, and is visited by a cop from around 2007 - who is a woman !

Nemonymous said...

I am sorry I neededd to remove my own earlier comment above. In retrospect, it was too definite, too spur-of-the-moment. Iam trying to be more considered below.

I really enjoyed the series, but the main concept re the 'time travel' conundrum, however, was, I feel, heavily derivative of Christopher Priest's novel entitled 'The Affirmation'. This novel explains much that at first appears mysterious in the TV series.


(i) Did one of the writers read this in the past with it staying latent in his unconscious (subconscious)?
(ii) Or was it coincidence, with nobody involved being directly aware of this novel?
(iii) Or was it a deliberate rip-off?

There are several parallel factors, including treatment of 'amnesia and immortality', 'alternate memories' etc.

As an aside-in-retrospection, I suppose another book that interests me vis a vis 'Life on Mars' is Marcel Proust's 'Remembrance of Things Past' (aka 'In Search Of Lost Time') with its treatment of memory, separate 'selves' of the same person and a narrative of a narrative etc.