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John Simm reveals: Life On Mars sequel has ‘a lot of traveling in time and car chases’

The Big Issue
Adrian Lobb
7 May 2022

Fifteen years on from Life On Mars, John Simm tells The Big Issue about planned sequel Lazarus, which would reunite him with Philip Glenister.

Life On Mars
Photo: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

John Simm describes Life on Mars as being a “game changer” in his career.

The BBC drama was part police procedural drama, part science-fiction fantasy. It followed John Simm’s Sam Tyler who after an accident, wakes up in 1973.

In the past, he teams up with Gene Hunt, memorably played by Glenister, and the pair clash as they try to solve crime and the biggest mystery of all – what took Tyler back to the past.

Life on Mars ran for 16 episodes before Simm left. A sequel, teaming Gene Hunt with Keeley Hawes ran for a further three series but now plans are afoot to reunite the original team in a show called Lazarus.

Last week, creator and screenwriter Matthew Graham confirmed that he and Ashley Pharoah had finished a script for the pilot. “It contains the words – Hanging, Boogie, Creme Fraiche,” he tweeted via his production company’s account.

John Simm, currently starring in Sunday night detective drama Grace, revealed more details of those plans to The Big Issue. He said:

“I’m not allowed to say much but it’s the same characters. They’re writing the pilot and apparently it has been picked up so me and Phil, plus [writers] Ashley Pharoah and Matthew Graham are going to meet up and have a chat.

“The idea is really good – there’s a lot of traveling in time and car chases. So I think it is happening, fingers crossed. But in this business, you never know.”

Simm spoke about the fond memories he has of filming Life On Mars. He said:

“I adored the job, loved the part, loved playing Sam Tyler.

“I don’t regret only doing two – maybe there would have been a backlash – but I would have done another series if they’d set it in London. I had a small child and the workload was so intense.

“There was a point where [Life on Mars co-star] Phil Glenister and I did everything together. It was like it was in the contract. But we haven’t worked together for a while so we’ll see what happens with Lazarus.”

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