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Life on Mars 

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After being involved in a car accident in 2006, DCI Sam Tyler wakes up to find himself in 1973, the era of 'Sweeney' type policing, Mark III Cortinas, and flared trousers.
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Series cast summary:
Noreen Kershaw ...
 Phyllis Dobbs 16 episodes, 2006-2007
Tony Marshall ...


After being involved in a car accident in 2006, DCI Sam Tyler wakes up to find himself in 1973, the era of 'Sweeney' type policing, Mark III Cortinas, and flared trousers.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Two cops in the same town at the same time... 33 years apart


Crime | Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



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Release Date:

24 July 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Život na Marsu  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(16 episodes) (cut) | (16 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


In one scene, an ultrasound monitor is shown for a woman who is expecting a baby. The building used as the hospital was in fact one of the five places that had introduced ultrasound trials by July 1973. However, ultrasound scanning was extremely rare until it was officially released for public use in 1975. See more »


The bar scene: No beers cost 22p in 1973. Also, as the UK were still changing the money over, use and handing over of decimals would have been a lot slower than as shown in the film. Beer in Manchester would have been between 10np and 15np (or 2-3 shillings).

It was revealed in Ashes to Ashes that this era inhabited is a kind of police purgatory: Heavy artistic license can be used with these details, as it's not the real living world/ reality being portrayed. See more »


Sam Tyler: [credits introduction] My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident, and I woke up in 1973. Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? Whatever's happened, it's like I've landed on a different planet. Now, maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get home.
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Referenced in The End of 'Life on Mars' (2007) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Witty, Subtle, and Compelling
4 October 2006 | by See all my reviews

Stumbled on this series on BBC America and miss it terribly now that the first season is over.

Great over-arching conflict (Is Sam imagining he's from the future? Is he living inside his coma-induced reality? Or did he really travel back in time?) intermingles well within each episodes crime to solve. Loved when promises a witness complete anonymity if the guy will agree to finger the perpetrator in a line up; handled in a way that recognized the humor without diminishing the seriousness.

Plus, even though it's promoted as Sam's story, the series would suffer greatly without the Guv (DCI Gene Hunt). In the US, Philip Glenister's character would too easily be a cardboard-flat, corrupt, irredeemable cop. Here he's written and played with many shades letting you cheer for him at times, loathe him at others, pity his neanderthal ways, respect his desire to be a "good cop" while shaking your head at his twisted definition of a "good cop." He's a smart and unpredictable foil for Sam. They're each a better man for having to deal with the other even as they resent the complication and will never fully agree on their methods. There's a grudging respect building between them.

It's Sam's and Hunt's push me-pull you relationship that makes this must-see for me.

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