Life On Mars / Ashes To Ashes Makes More Sense Now!

By Carl Harris

My favorite ever TV show is Life on Mars. Closely followed by Ashes To Ashes. I knew they were named after David Bowie songs (Derr) but the sad passing of David Bowie and the looking back at his work has given me a greater understanding of the series.


I want to confess that I never really got David Bowie and whilst I would never say i didn’t like his music I wasn’t a fan and have only ever bought one song, yes you guessed correct, Life On Mars. I think he was just too “out there” for me. I have always been fairly mainstream, although I did see Oasis in concert several times before they were famous, working in Manchester at the time. I also was a fan on The Verve before Urban Hymns, my fav album EVER! But Bowie fans, they were always further up the “out there” spectrum for me. So David Bowie sadly passed me by all these years.

I will hold my hands up now and admit that is a shame, because his music is brilliant. He is one of those artists your brain says you are not a fan of, then when you hear their hits you say, like that one, and that one, and that one, etc.

Years ago I lived in Huddersfield and my girlfriend at the time insisted I go to a concert at the football stadium where the Beautiful South were supported by The Lightning Seeds. I was a Verve and Oasis fan, I had no interest in either of these two bands, until I went and they played their hits, I liked them all. It was a great night. I should have learned my lesson.

I wish I had been a Bowie fan. I have missed out no question. Some of his songs are timeless. They are masterpieces, but they are here for eternity so I will make up for lost time.

Life On Mars, the TV show is simply superb, named after the Bowie song, absolutely amazing song, but there are so many Bowie references in both Life on Mars and Ashes To Ashes. Bowie fans will be reading this thinking what a div this man is! But I wasn’t at all a Bowie fan, so its new to me.

The Gene Genie! A Bowie song, which had passed me by, is why Gene Hunt is called Gene. I honestly only just connected the dots this week, I know very poor.

In Ashes to Ashes there is a clown theme that runs through it, Alex Drake’s father is dressed as a clown and it is only this week I saw the video to the Ashes to Ashes song where that costume appears. There are so many references. Ironically it is 10 years since Life on Mars was first shown, 2006, so over Christmas I watch all five series. It is timeless, a masterpiece of TV and very much echoes the Bowie ethos.

The influence of David Bowie has been spoken about on Artists but he was so creative, so innovative that his influence has spread beyond music, in to art and obviously TV. The makers of Life on Mars are obviously huge fans of Bowie and the brilliance of that show clearly comes from their formative creative influences, Mr David Bowie.

Without question David Bowie was a genius, if only I realized that 30 years ago, even 40!

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