John Simm's got a flair for the 70's


DON'T mention sideburns, flares or platform shoes to actor John Simm. He's spent the past six months stuck in a 1970s version of Manchester - thanks to new BBC series, Life On Mars - and is sick of the sight of the decade that taste forgot.

John, star of hit dramas State Of Play and The Lakes, plays modern-day police officer Sam Tyler in the new series, who, after a car accident wakes up back in 1973.

He spent a hectic six months filming the show, which airs on BBC1 in January, and which painstakingly recreated seventies costumes, sets and music in the city.

"I don't even want to mention the seventies after this. I'm sick to death of it," he laughs. "I've been living in the seventies for six months. I've been there for a while now and I want to go home. It's taken me a while to adjust to normality, I feel like I really have been to Mars.

"But I don't want to moan too much, because it was a great job. Everyone wants to play a seventies cop, zooming around in a Ford Cortina, which was great.

"It's filmed in a very seventies kind of way. There's always a chase or fight with full on seventies music playing behind it."

John even got his parents over from Blackpool to appear in the show as extras. "I got them there for a day's filming, which was very funny. My mum had a uniform on in a factory, but my dad had big hair at the time, so he didn't have to do too much."

But John got away without too many style nightmares - as a character from the future, he cunningly escaped having to have a "dodgy haircut or a dodgy moustache", as he puts it.


© Dianne Bourne,