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This is a list of fictional characters that have appeared in BBC One's science fiction/police procedural drama, Life on Mars.

Main Characters

Sam Tyler

Gene Hunt

Annie Cartwright

Ray Carling

Chris Skelton

1973 Characters

Billy Kemble

Billy Kemble (Kevin Knapman) was arrested during episode seven for flashing his private parts in public and was investigated on suspicion drug dealing. While in police custody, Ray Carling assisted by Chris Skelton forced Kemble to eat cocaine, confusing it to be a drug which induces the compulsion to tell the truth, in the hope Kemble would reveal his supplier. The death in custody was covered up by Gene Hunt to save all concerned from certain dismissal, but as a result temporarily demoted Carling, stating that the incident was "shameful" and that it was never to be repeated.

Derek and Ted Bannister

Ted Bannister (John Henshaw) appeared in episode three as a trade union organiser who is displayed to be fighting for the factory he works at to stay open, despite it being on the brink of closing. The character is introduced when a body is found in the factor who is suspected to have been murdered, later transpiring that the person was killed by faulty machinery and was covered up by Ted on account it would make the factory look even worse.

Later in the episode, Ted's son Derek (Andrew Knott) was arrested for armed robbery, after organising a payroll snatch at the factory.

Dicky Fingers

Richard "Dicky Fingers" Hands (Steve Evets) appeared in episode two of the second series and is introduced when Chris, Ray and Sam are sent to escort him from prison back to Manchestermarker for questioning, while in the process of this they are forced off of the road and held at gunpoint releasing Dicky from prison. It later transpires that the rescue was organised by corrupt police officer, Harry Woolf.

Donald Sykes

Donald Sykes (Jack Deam) appears in episode eight of the second series, as a local criminal who is involved in a plot to rob a train with Leslie Johns. Sykes explains the plot after Ray and Gene's brutal interrogation.

Frank Miller

Frank Miller (Peter Wight) appears in episode three of the second series as an owner of a local building site. It later transpires that he planted bombs around Manchester which was previously thought to be by the Irish Republican Army to occupy the police allowing him to break into a bank.

Glenn Fletcher

Glen Fletcher (Ray Emmet Brown) appears in in episode two of the second series as a Detective Constable, as the first black officer in the division he is displayed to suffer racist jokes and bullying from Ray Carling, to which Fletcher responds by agreeing with and making light of the racism. In 2006, Sam Tyler has known Fletcher as his commanding officer and mentor, and encourages Fletcher as a young officer to assert himself and fight racism. He later becomes one of the first black chief police officers and is also the one who promoted Sam to DCI in 2006.

Harry Woolf

Harry Woolf (Kevin McNally) appears as a Detective Superintendent and He also was Gene Hunt's DCI when Gene Hunt was a Detective Inspector and finds Sam Tyler not that different from Gene and also has a lot of respect for Sams Policing. . Woolf advised Gene to go by the book during the muder of George Rills case in series 2 episode 1.Woolf is later revealed to have masterminded a robbery to gain enough money to live out his last year before he is predicted to die of cancer, Woolf planned to frame Arnold Malone for the robbery and had Dicky Fingers sprung from police escort and later had him executed.Despite Gene's loyalty to Woolf, Hunt arrests him and during the stand-off Woolf is shot in the leg.

Joni Newton

Joni Newton (Kelly Wenham) worked for local gangster Stephen Warren. She was a "honey trap" for Sam when he tried to go against Warren and take her into his care after a false act she was going to be killed by him. She ended up going against Warren but was killed and her body was found on the canal.

Leslie Johns

Leslie Johns (Sean Gilder) is a miner and an infamous cop killer. He organises the robbery of a train with a group of miners unaware Gene is undercover as one of the miners. The robbery seems to be going smoothly (Johns is unaware the train's staff are members of CID) but then Sam's radio goes off giving them up as police officers. When Annie, Chris, Ray and Gene run after Sam, Johns shoots Gene, Chris and Ray causing them to fall to the floor. When Sam returns from 2006 he shoots Johns dead as he is about to execute Gene.


DCI Litton (Lee Ross) is the DCI of the Regional Crime Squad. He and Gene have a hatred of each other. The two departments fight after Sam and Gene recover firearms stolen by factory workers, a job that falls under Litton's department. Later in a hostage situation Litton and Gene both have to work together to stop the hostages being killed. However, Litton's methods threaten Sam's and his own life, when Gene kicks him in the stomach and drops him out of the fire zone, proceeding to take a bullet which was blocked by one of his many hip flasks.


Nelson (Tony Marshall) is the barman at the Railways Arms where most of CID go to drink. Nelson gives much advice to Sam during his time in 1973, typically with double-meanings that seem to apply to both an issue at hand in 1973, and to Sam's over-arching problem of being trapped in a dystopic 1973. He usually affects a thick Jamaican accent, although Marshall is actually from Manchestermarker.

He has two counterparts in the U.S. remake: a bartender named Nelson (Mike Starr), and Sam's hippy (and possibly imaginary) neighbour, Windy (Tanya Fischer) who provides double-meaning insight to Sam.

Patrick O'Brien

Patrick O'Brien (Brendan Mackey) is an Irishman with a criminal record, who was arrested by Gene for armed robbery. When dynamite goes missing at O'Brien's workplace he becomes the prime suspect in a spate of suspected IRA bombings. Gene is prejudiced against him, as an ex-convict. This and his desire to avenge Ray cause Patrick to go on the run. Sam finds O'Brien and tells him he will find out who is really behind the bombs.

Terry Haslam

Terry Haslam is a boxing manager who as a history with Gene Hunt and he bashed up retired boxer Daie Mackie and blackmailed Hunt not to report it but Hunt did report and took him to court but Haslam was found innocent and Gene threatened to kill and the next he is found dead and it is revealed that he had betted on Davie Mackie's last boxing match and told Davie to throw the fight but Davie fought back and one, Davie Mackie killed Haslam.

Pete Bond

Pete Bond (Anthony Flanagan) is a Manchester United supporter and a usual at the Trafford Arms. He tried to beat up a fellow supporter and blame it on Manchester City fans to start a massive brawl between the two sides fans on derby day. Unfortunately the person he beat up accidentally died forcing Sam to track him down and arrest him.

Phyllis Dobbs

Test Card Girl

The Test Card Girl (Rafaella Hutchinson in series one and Harriet Rogers in series two) is a young girl resembling the girl (Carole Hersee) in Test Card F, who appears to Sam. She often tells him things related to his current life and is a vision to Sam. She often taunts Sam, and occasionally scares him greatly. An example of this seen when he struggles with the stress of a failed bomb disposal she appears to him showing her closed fists and chants "Red wire. Yellow wire. Red Wire. Yellow wire." When he fails to pick the correct hand she calmly says: "You're dead Sam. They're all dead because of you."

At the end of the show she runs down a street with other children and turns a switch, and the image disappears as in an old television set.

In an interview with the Radio Times, Matthew Graham revealed the Test Card girl is constantly teasing and torturing Sam because she represents the devil in him. "But," he said, "there is another factor to consider. In 1973, when television transmission ceased for the night, when the story is done and the characters have vanished into nothing, the BBC would switch to the Test Card girl. So she, if you want to be melodramatic, represents the apocalypse, the end."

She has no direct counterpart in the U.S. remake.

Stephen Warren

Stephen Warren (Tom Mannion) is a local gangster and owner of a nightclub, The Warren, who is paying the police, including Hunt, to turn a blind eye to his activities.He advises Sam Tyler not to try going against him and refers that others have tried unsuccessfully "others have tried to wear the white hat, and all have failed." After he murders one of his staff who helped out Sam, Gene Hunt decides to turn his back on corruption, and he and Sam come into his club and arrest him for murder.

His U.S. counterpart is Elliott Casso, portrayed by Robert Klein.

Vic Tyler

Victor "Vic" Tyler (Lee Ingleby) is the father of Sam Tyler. Sam becomes convinced if he gets his father to stay with his mother then he can get back to 2006. However, he finds his father is behind some brutal gangland killings.

Adult Sam discovers to his horror the fleeting image he has of a woman running in the woods in a red dress is his memory of WPC Annie Cartwright chasing Vic at a family wedding and being brutally beaten by Vic. Sam saves Annie from Vic but allows Vic to escape in order to protect his younger self from growing up the son of an imprisoned murderer.

His counterpart in the U.S. remake is Vic Tyler, portrayed by Dean Winters.

Arnold Malone

Arnald Malone is a long time rival of Superintendent Harry Woolf. According to Woolf, he was responsible for a large amount of the crime rate in Manchester from the 1950s to the period of the show. Harry Woolf tries to frame Malone for the robberies Woolf has been commiting but the evidence led to Sam and Gene to arrest Harry Woolf.

Superintendent Rathbone

Uniformed Superintendent Rathbone is the senior officer in overall command of both CID and uniform within the station. During episode 7 of the first series, Rathbone is seen to destroy the tape DI Sam Tyler presents to him proving that DS Ray Carling forced a prisoner to eat cocaine while in police custody in the hope that it would induce the urge to tell the truth.

2006 Characters

Maya Roy

Maya Roy (Archie Panjabi), born and raised in Manchester to Ugandan Asian immigrants, is Sam's girlfriend in 2006. She is abducted by the suspect they are hunting at the beginning of the first episode; Sam is attempting to find her when he is struck by a car and transported back to 1973. She escapes unharmed whilst he is comatose in 2006 and trapped in 1973.

Their relationship is already having difficulties before Sam's accident, and Maya ends it during the second series when it appears Sam will never recover. In the same episode, adult Sam meets Maya's pregnant mother in 1973 and, in a predestination paradox, inspires her to name her baby, Maya. Maya is, accordingly, approximately 4.5 years younger than Sam whose fourth birthday is celebrated at the end of the first series, also set in 1973.

Her counterpart in the US remake is Detective Maya Daniels, portrayed by Lisa Bonet.

2006 and 1973 Characters

Frank Morgan

Frank Morgan (Ralph Brown) is the acting DCI when Gene Hunt is accused of killing a man. Sam thinks Frank can send him home but in the end Frank tells him he is undercover to expose the corruption of Gene Hunt and his team in "Operation Countryman" and has amnesia. The character also appears as a surgeon in 2006, and operates on Sam bringing Sam out of a coma, in an example of dual-casting reminiscent of the 1939 MGM production of The Wizard of Oz. Frank Morgan was the name of the actor who played the wizard in that production. In the US version Frank Morgan is a FBI agent sent to the 125 to investigate a irish gangsters murder and tries to frame Sam Tyler but Sam finds out that he murdered the gangster because he hijacked a truck of smuggled goods that Morgan had owned and gets arrested by Gene.

Colin Raimes

Colin Raimes (Sam Hazeldine) is a suspected killer in 2006. Sam is convinced Colin was behind it but despite having written about killing in his diary he has a cast iron alibi. Maya suggests he might have known the killer. In 1973 when Sam finds the same murderer he discovers it was Colin's neighbour, who was arrested in 1973 for a similar crime but released thirty years later.

Eve Olawi

Eve Olawi (Yasmin Bannerman) was killed by Tony Crane prior to Sam's coma. She dismisses his warnings that she will have a terrible life with Crane.

Ruth Tyler

Ruth Tyler (Joanne Froggatt in 1973 & Judi Jones in 2006) is the mother of Sam Tyler. Sam meets her whilst in 1973, incognito, improvising the name "Detective Inspector Bolan" when asked his name. He meets her again when the CID deduces his father Vic might be involved with the Morton brothers.

In the "The Good Father", when the truth about Vic's involvement in violent crime is discovered, Ruth tells the four-year-old Sam Vic had to go away.

Sam also speaks to Ruth when he returns to 2006, leaving Hunt and his team in 1973 in a mail train under fire from railway bandits. Without telling her the details, he says he promised someone he would return. She tells him she knows he won't let them down, because he always keeps his promises. This clears the way for his return to 1973.

Her counterpart in the U.S. remake is Rose Tyler, portrayed by Jennifer Ferrin.

Tony Crane

Tony Crane (Marc Warren) was arrested by Sam in 2006 for the murder of his wife Eve. He manages to get to Sam's hospital room and attempts to kill him, but is arrested before he can do so. In the US version of Life on Mars Sam arrested him for murdering his wife Penny Margolise in 2008 and Sam quickly suspected him of murdering a news reporter who had visited his gallery in 1973.

In 1973 Crane runs a local casino and is Sam's prime suspect for the killing of a man on a bus. Gene doesn't believe Sam until Crane takes them both hostage. He is arrested after Annie uses a stinger on his car in a chase, but there is not enough evidence to charge him. However, when Crane starts to make accusations of Sam's instability, citing the policeman's belief that he is a time traveller, Sam turns the tables by using this as proof of Crane's insanity. As a result Crane is committed to a psychiatric hospital, where he remains for the next 33 years.

His U.S. counterpart is Tony Crane, portrayed by Chris Bowers.


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