There is no life under bonnet for Sam


WATCH out for BBC1's excellent new drama series Life On Mars tonight at nine o'clock.

The programme sees a modern-day police detective, Sam Tyler, hit by a car. When he comes to he finds he's been transported back to 1973. Is he in a coma? Is he going mad? Or has he really gone back in time?

One of the best things about the show is its authentic depiction of 70s fashions and cars. Sam Tyler spends a lot of time in the gold Ford Cortina driven by his boss, which brought back memories for one of Reiver's colleagues.

Several years ago a journalist friend interviewed John Simm, the actor who plays Sam Tyler, at Glenridding on the set of another BBC drama, The Lakes.

He recalls that it was not one of his easiest interviews, largely because Simm spent much of his time berating the Carlisle garage which had just sold him his new car.

The interview went something like this: 'So, John, how do you get into character for this role?'

'The electric windows don't work! I've rung the garage and they're just messing me about.'

'Right... and can you identify with the role of a stranger trying to adapt to a new environment?'

'It wouldn't start yesterday morning - a brand new car and it wouldn't even start!'

If tonight's episode of Life On Mars sees Sam Tyler trying to push-start his car, you'll know he's been buying his cars in Cumbria again.