Life on Mars cast now – co-star wife, Emmerdale and career U-turn to plasterer

Time travelling crime drama Life on Mars, written by Ashley Pharoah and Matthew Graham, was broadcast on BBC One between 2006-2007.

The show starred John Simm as Detective Chief Inspector Sam Tyler, who after an accident, finds himself back in time in 1973.

In seventies Manchester, Simm is now a Detective Inspector under Philip Glenister's DCI Gene Hunt, and while solving crimes with his new team, tries to find his way back to 2006.

The popular series launched a spin-off, Ashes to Ashes, featuring Keeley Hawes who finds herself lost in eighties London alongside some of the characters from Life on Mars.

Over 15 years later, we look at where the cast of Life on Mars are now – from soaps, to career u-turns and being reunited on other tv shows.

John Simm

Actor John Simm played DI Sam Tyler in Life on Mars, who is trying to find a way back to 2006 following an accident that has sent him back in time.

Although Sam Tyler was referenced multiple times in the Ashes to Ashes storylines, Simm did not reprise the role in the follow up series.

After Life on Mars, Simm played The Master in Doctor Who opposite David Tennant's tenth doctor and in 2017, opposite Peter Capaldi's twelfth doctor.

He also starred in Mad Dogs, opposite his Life on Mars co-star Philip Glenister.

Most recently he has starred in ITV television series Grace in 2021 and mini series Strangers and Collateral in 2018.

He is married to actress Kate Magowan, who starred in hit Hollywood film Stardust before a stint in EastEnders. They share two kids together.

Philip Glenister

Philip Glenister played DCI Gene Hunt, who was often referred to as "the Gov" by his team.

He was also known for driving around in his Ford Cortina in Life on Mars, and later an Audi Quattro when he reprised the role in Ashes to Ashes, with one of his iconic catchphrases "Fire up the Quattro."

Glenister has since starred in programmes such as 2007's Cranford, 2009 mini series Demons, the tv movie Treasure Island as Captain Smollet in 2012, and reunited with his Life on Mars co-star John Simm in Mad Dogs from 2011-2013.

He most recently played James Trenchard in the 2020 tv series Belgravia.

He is married to Beth Goddard, with whom he shares two daughters.

She made an appearance on-screen next to Philip during the third series of Ashes to Ashes., appearing in just one episode as Elaine Downing.

Liz White

Liz White played Annie Cartwright, a psychology graduate who is later promoted and helps the team with a number of their investigations.

Similarly to Sam Tyler, Cartwright is referenced in Ashes to Ashes, but White does not reprise her role in the series.

After Life on Mars, White starred as Liz Mottershead in Our Zoo in 2014 and was reunited with fellow Life on Mars alumni Lee Ingleby, who starred as the founder of Chester Zoo in the series.

She also played Rhoda Mullucks from 2016-2017 in BBC's Call the Midwife, Emma Keane in Ackley Bridge from 2017-2019 and most recently, Fiona Grayson in the 2021 tv series Unforgotten.

Dean Andrews

Dean Andrews played DS Ray Carling in Life on Mars and in the follow up series Ashes to Ashes, with his character talking about Sam Tyler during a conversation with Keeley Hawes' character Alex Drake in the first series.

After Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, Andrews starred in programmes such New Tricks, Midsomer Murders and as Robbie in Last Tango in Halifax from 2012-2016.

Since 2019, he has played Will Taylor in the ITV soap Emmerdale.

Marshall Lancaster

Marshall Lancaster played DC Chris Skelton in Life on Mars, and reprised the character in the follow up series Ashes to Ashes.

Lancaster also starred in Doctor Who as Buzzer in episodes 'The Almost People' and 'The Rebel Flesh', as well as programmes including Coronation Street and in Casualty as characters Keith Parr and Perry Dans from 2007 – 2021.

In 2013, it is reported that he changed careers and started his own construction and plastering firm in Macclesfield.

Noreen Kershaw

Noreen Kershaw played Phyllis Dobbs in Life on Mars.

Prior to Life on Mars, Noreen had already had a long acting career that included roles in television programmes including Emmerdale, Heartbeat, Shameless and Coronation Street.

Like John Simm and Liz White, Kershaw did not reprise her role in Ashes to Ashes.

After Life on Mars, she starred in programmes including Our Girl in 2018 and tv series Moving on.

Kershaw has most recently starred in episodes of Call the Midwife between 2020 and 2021.

Tony Marshall

Tony Marshall played landlord of the Railway Arms, Nelson, who was always there to lend a friendly ear and give advice to Sam Tyler.

Although not a regular character in Ashes to Ashes, Marshall reprised the role of Nelson in the last episode of the final series.

Since Life on Mars, he has starred in programmes such as Still open all hours in 2018.

Marshall currently plays Noel Garcia in BBC hospital drama Casualty, a role that he has played since 2008.

In 2017 and 2019, he also played the role of Noel Garcia in two episodes of Holby City.

Joanne Froggatt

When Sam Tyler goes back to 1973, he comes face to face with a younger version of his mum Ruth Tyler, played by Joanna Frogatt.

In the episodes, Tyler is welcomed back into his childhood home and tries to help his mum when she encounters trouble.

Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominated Froggatt has since starred as Anna Bates in Downton Abbey, Laura Nielson in Liar from 2017-2020 and as Kate in the BBC television series Robin Hood in 2009.

She is due to star in the ITV series Angela Black later this year.

Lee Ingleby

Lee Ingleby played Sam Tyler's father Vic in the first series of Life on Mars.

Tyler's father left when he was four years old, and the final episode of the first series reveals what happened to him.

Prior to Life on Mars, Ingleby already had a career in Hollywood films including Ever After alongside Drew Barrymore and as Stan Shunpike in the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Since Life on Mars, he has starred as Ben in the tv mini series Crooked House in 2008, Our Zoo in 2014 as the founder of Chester Zoo and as Nick in Line of Duty in 2017.

From 2007-2017, Ingleby played John Bacchus in Inspector George Gently and as Paul Hughes in The A Word from 2016-2020.

Archie Panjabi

Emmy award winning actress Archie Panjabi starred in the first series of Life on Mars as Sam Tyler's girlfriend Maya Roy, who goes missing while investigating a crime.

Tyler can hear glimpses of Maya's voice in some episodes of the first series and in series two of Life on Mars, while on an investigation, Tyler meets Maya's mum.

Since Life on Mars, Panjabi has played Mona Harcourt in 2018 series Next of Kin, Simone Banarjee in 2014's Widower and Nas Kamal in tv series Blindspot from 2016-2020.

She most recently starred in tv series Departure as Kendra Malley from 2019 – 2021.

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