Life on Mars

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Life On Mars
Genre Who knows?
Starring: Graham Norton
Jason Donavon
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Language(s) English
Seasons: 2
Episodes: 16
Status: Fin
Executive Producer: Stephen Hawkins
Those know-it-alls over at Wikipedia also have an article about: Life on Mars.

...Although, frankly I've read funnier things on a packet of crisps.

Life on Mars is a BBC television series, based on the life of astronaut David Bowie.


Timmy Tyler (Graham Norton) wakes up on Mars, wearing the most horrendous blue hat.

Life on Mars tells the story of an Italian police officer, Timmy Tyler (played by Graham Norton), who is hit by a car and dies, only to wake up to find himself on an alien planet, where society is based entirely on old Earth 70's sitcoms.


The original concept for the programme was devised in 1973, when its creator accidentally ate some bad cheese and began having vivid and erotic hallucinations. Originally titled Carry on Space Ziggy, the series was initially rejected by the BBC, who felt that it was "just too silly". Reworked as a two-hour drama, and retitled Carry on Ford Granada, the series was again rejected for being "still a bit too silly". After several more changes, and lots more cheese, the show eventually aired, and received rave reviews from its production staff.


In spite of the title, no actual David Bowie songs are used in the series, primarily due to high licence fees. Instead, most songs are performed by the Bowie parody band, The Stardusters, who are really quite dreadful.

Episode Guide[edit]

Series One[edit]

Episode 1 When flatmates Chrissy and Jo find Tyler asleep in their bath, they convince their landlord that he's gay, so that he'll be allowed to move in with them.
Episode 2 Tyler's girlfriend, Rita, takes him home to meet her family, including her loud and bigoted father, who takes an immediate disliking to him.
Episode 3 In order to make ends meet, Tyler is forced to take a job at a local hotel, but finds it difficult to work with the eccentric owner.
Episode 4 After being evicted, Tyler moves in with his friend Gary, and begins spending most of his time drinking and watching television.
Episode 5 Tyler gets drunk and passes out, only to find out that he's been conscripted into service on a mining ship, and that his only companions are a hologram and a cat.
Episode 6 Tyler escapes from the mining ship and goes to work in a scrapyard with his friend Felix Jones.
Episode 7 Tyler's new girlfriend, Fran, gets him a job at a book shop, but he discovers that the owner is the most disagreeable employer he's worked for so far.
Episode 8 Tyler sees a mysterious blue box and meets a girl who claims to be his daughter from the future. He is struck by another car, and the first series ends on a cliffhanger as Tyler falls over the side of a cliff.

Series Two[edit]

Life on Mars, series 2, episode 7. Tyler gets a job at Grot.

Most of the ongoing plot threads were tied up in the final episode (although many of them were simply too silly and therefore completely ignored.) The central mystery, however, was intentionally left ambiguous, and thus it is left up to viewers to decide for themselves the answer to the biggest question: were the writers actually on drugs or simply insane?

Episode 1 Tyler finds he's been transported a further thirty years into the past, to the 1940s. He joins the Home Guard, and annoys Captain Mainwaring by humming the theme tune to Minder.
Episode 2 Still stuck in the Martian equivalent of the 1940s, Tyler joins an army concert party, and comes in to conflict with his violent, homophobic, racist, bad-tempered Sergeant-Major.
Episode 3 Tyler attempts to follow time-traveller Gary Sparrow back home, but takes a wrong turn, and ends up back in the wrong time.
Episode 4 Back in the Martian equivalent of the 70s, Tyler arrives in a Surbiton garden where Tom and Barbara's pig is giving birth.
Episode 5 Tyler comes over all queer, as he pops out of a music box in Camberwick Green. How will our hero escape this absurd plot twist?
Episode 6 Tyler gets caught up in an argument between Eddie and his West Indian neighbour Bill.
Episode 7 Tyler gets a new job selling junk in the Grot shop, but finds his boss Reggie to be a bit too eccentric for his liking.
Episode 8 Timmy Tyler finally gets back to Earth, and meets his mysterious daughter again at Canary Wharf, London. A Vogon Constructor Fleet arrives and demolishes Earth, but Tyler grabs his daughter and flees back to Mars just in the nick of time... to the year 3023!


The BBC has announced that there will be a number of spin-off series. So far, only Ashes to Ashes has received official confirmation.

Ashes to Ashes[edit]

Ashes to Ashes will be set in Wakefield Crematorium, it will follow the hilarious antics of its staff who do all sorts of amusing things like putting the manager in the oven because he didn't want to give them a pay rise.

Other proposed spin-offs[edit]

Life in Mars Bars

The Panorama team goes undercover to expose the shocking lack of hygiene control in chocolate factories. This is referred to as their "Hygiene Hunt" (or 'Gene Hunt' for short.)

Life on Veronica Mars

"My name is Veronica Mars. I had an accident and woke up in a different time slot. Have I been pre-empted, cancelled, or put on hiatus? Whatever's happened, it's like I'm on a different network. Now maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get renewed for another season."

Life on Mars (Northern Ireland)

"My name is Sean Tiernan. I'm a PSNI officer. I had an accident and woke up in the RUC in 1973. I'm totally screwed!!"


Marswood will follow the exploits of an ultra secret organization who will use all the technology of 1970s Britain to fight against the threat of balaclava-wearing bank robbers with sawn-off shotguns, skinny football hooligans in tight denim jeans and jackets and alien creatures who travel back to the 70s via a rift in space and time. Probably

Lies from Mars

Anne Robinson presents a special Watchdog investigation, revealing that the little robots weren't telling the truth when they said Smash was better than real potatoes.

Ides of March

"My name is Julius Caesar. I had an accident and woke up in 44BC. Am I insane, comatose, or back in time? Whatever's happened, it's like I'm in a different country. Now maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get home before Brutus stabs me."

Limes on Stars

Celebrities balance citrus fruits on their heads for charity. Despite the title, there are no actual stars, just the usual Z-list crowd.

Lights in Bars

"My name is Gene Hunt. I had an accident and woke up 1st July, 2009. Then I went into a bar and tried to light a fag, but some moaning Dorothy told me I wasn't allowed to do that any more. So I punched him in the face and kicked seven shades of shit out of the bastard."


"My name is Britney Spears. I used to be a pretty singer who had a reputation for cleanliness and virginity. I had an accident and woke up in 2009. Now maybe if I can work out the reason, I won't be Courtney Love."

Fake Plastic Plants


Diamond Dogs

"Hello my name is Bob the Builder. I had an accident and woke up in Marilyn Manson. Am I insane, drug-fucked, or homosexual. Whatever's happened, it's like I'm in a different rating. Now maybe if I can work out the reason, he'll stop gyrating."

Life on MRSA

Tyler returns to the hospital ward after having an accident and waking up with MRSA.

Life on Pluto

The only spin-off so far actually made, which, oddly enough, is actually set on Saturn.


Some observant viewers have noticed several minor anachronisms in episodes of Life on Mars.

These viewers clearly have far too much time on their hands.


“In Soviet Russia, Mars watches life on YOU!!”

~ Russian reversal on Life on Mars

“On this site, this repetitive Soviet Russia 'joke' is starting to annoy YOU!!”

~ Casual observer on whoever is over-using that sodding joke

“The only thing worse than being knocked down by a car, then waking to find yourself trapped, defenceless and alone on a Martian world based on old 1970's sitcoms is... no, that would be terrible, wouldn't it?”

~ Oscar Wilde on Life on Mars

“As soon as I find my agent I'm going to kick in his head.”

~ Philip Glenister on Life on Mars