Characters / Life on Mars (2006)

DI Sam Tyler

Played by: John Simm

Originally a DCI in 2006, Sam was hit by a car and woke in 1973 Manchester with a new makeover, a new motor, and a new rank: DI. Although under a lot of stress from the bizarre situation, he remains the same straight-laced, by-the-book officer he was in 2006.

Manchester CID

For tropes from Ashes to Ashes, see the respective character page

DCI Gene Hunt

Sam Tyler: An overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline-alcoholic homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding.
Gene: You make that sound like a bad thing!

Played by: Philip Glenister

Also known as 'the Gene Genie', the boozing, womanizing, rough-housing, politically incorrect DCI. His role models are John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, probably why he describes himself as 'the Sheriff'. Gene is of the belief that you do whatever you must to put the baddies away, and is rather ruthless in his pursuit of that rule. However, he does have a softer side, one that very few have seen (mostly because he'd rather take cyanide then show it).

WPC (and later WDC) Annie Cartwright

Played by: Liz White

Sam's love interest and confidante. She's the only one that Sam has told his theories to, and wavers between loyalty to her superior, and her desire to heal/help him. As a modern woman in a department full of chauvinists, Annie can still hold her own.

DC Chris Skelton

Played by: Marshall Lancaster

A slightly nervous, slightly bumbling member of the team. Often the comic relief or the coward, he still has his moments, like his own Crowning Moment of Awesome near the end of the series. Has a case of hero worship for both Sam and Gene, but isn't sure which one to pick. He is often found in the company of Ray Carling, his best mate.

DS Ray Carling

Played by: Dean Andrews

A rough character who seems to live most of his life with little to no control over his impulses. If he wants to hit a suspect, he hits him, if he wants to snog a woman, he snogs her. Has nothing but contempt for minorities, women, and anyone who isn't a 'man's man'. He and Gene think a lot alike, but where Gene wants The Law to protect people from criminals, Ray believes that everyone should respect and obey The Law, period (It would be more accurate to say that Carling adores Gene and uses him as his role model, but unlike Gene he really has no real sense of where the limits are). He hates paperwork, and prefers to use his fists instead of his brains, and listen to orders rather then think for himself. But Ray is not without redeeming qualities, having a crooked streak of chivalry running through him. Best mates with Chris Skelton, although he is sometimes a bad influence.


Played by: Tony Marshall

The barman at the Railway Arms where most of CID goes to drink. He takes a keen interest in Sam's troubles, and there may be more to him than meets the eye.

WPC Phyllis Dobbs

Played by: Noreen Kershaw

Phyllis mans the front desk at Manchester CID, and also oversees the welfare of the prisoners. Probably the only woman in the department whom Gene and his cronies can't intimidate. Bears a slight resemblance to Rosa Klebb, though this doesn't seem to hamper her dating life.

DCI Litton

The Test Card Girl