CONTAINS SPOILERS. DONT READ IF YOU AIN’T SEEN!
Being a clever dick, know-it-all I felt confident that I had sussed the ending to the superlative BBC1 fantasy drama “Life on Mars”, starring the incomparable John Simm.
My theory was thus; DC Sam Tyler (Simm) had suffered the accident in 2006 that we see in the opening sequence, but his experiences of 1973, Gene Hunt (Phil Glennister) especially, were the product of his coma induced imagination. There are no scenes that don’t feature Tyler for a start, and his knowledge of 2006 (“Hi, I’m Tony Blair, this is Cherie”, whilst under cover) precludes the idea that 1973 is real and that Sam has become psychotic in that era and imagines he is a time traveller as symptoms of some mental disorder.
So I reckoned that Gene was Sam’s alter ego, i.e. the sort of Cop that he may well have really wanted to be underneath all that New Touchy Feely Police veneer, and in order to come back to 2007 he had to defeat the Bad Guy in his head. The voice on the phone was his surgeon (Morgan) who then turns up as an anti corruption spook and sets Sam the task of destroying Gene.
All went to plan for my script as we see Supt. Morgan is indeed the good Doctor, 2007 Vintage, and that Sam does the business by collecting evidence against Gene to get him the old Spanish Archer in 1973 as an armed blagging that Hunt is trying to infiltrate against procedure, goes disastrously wrong.
At the climax of the shootout, Sam abandons his 1973 colleagues to their fate, returning to 2007.
This is where matters become complicated, and I’m not sure if this particular bear of the small brain understood the ending.
Tyler completes his rehab and leaves Hyde Ward to return to life as a DCI in the GMP. We see him at some tedious meeting where obscure ethical dilemmas are discussed in relation to procedure and Sam decide that this life is not for him, and he jumps off the roof of the station, returning just in time to save his crew, and get the girl.
But what are we dealing with here? Parallel Universes? Does Sam die in the fall? Is it another coma. Was the 2007 bit dreamt up?
I have no idea, but maybe that’s why it all worked so well.
Simm has wisely decided to jump ship, but the writers and the BEEB have been seduced by the ratings, and it is alleged that Gene and the gang are getting their own spin off show set in 1981. Hmm…..
But all credit (Brian) to the BBC for running with what seems on the face of it, a ludicrous plot line.
The scripts were pacy and crackling with humour, but the chemistry of Simm and Glenister held the key to the shows success and you wonder how it will work now Simm is out of the loop.
This is the kind of series that merits repeated watching, so roll on the BBC4 repeats.
Since the inspired decision to resurrect Dr. Who in 2005, the show has gone from strength to strength and has kicked on to the 21st Century level of expectation with no problems.
It was a move that could have easily backfired, but brilliant steering of the ship by Russell T. Davies, a big budget and a fantastic cast mean it is now must watch TV and proves the BBC are the best when they get it right.
I thought Christopher Ecclestone had usurped Tom Baker in the “Best Ever Doctor” stakes, but David Tennant has trumped him with his weird, manic and slightly dark persona. Tremendous