While it's sad news that the Life on Mars revival series, Lazarus, hasn't be given the go-ahead, there is still some good news on the horizon.


In a newly announced event at the BFI, fans will still get to experience what could have been in the new series with an exclusive table reading.

Taking place at BFI Southbank on Sunday 19th November 2023, fans will be treated to a "dramatic table reading of the first episode".

According to the event's description: "Life on Mars chronicled the fish-out-of-water adventures of Sam Tyler, a Manchester policeman who is struck by a speeding car in 2006 and awakes to find himself in 1973, and part of a very different police force. A spin-off, Ashes to Ashes, followed. A third instalment, entitled Lazarus, was announced but was never made."

While we don't know exactly who will be in attendance for the special table reading, this is an unmissable opportunity for any avid Life on Mars fan.

Although development on Lazarus was announced back in 2020, this year it was revealed that the series had been cancelled due to financial issues. It was set to be the third entry into the Life on Mars saga after the original series and its sequel, Ashes to Ashes.

The creative team had previously revealed that the script for the pilot had been completed, but excitement for the new series quickly dissipated after a statement by series creator Matthew Graham.

Philip Glenister and John Simm in Life on Mars
Philip Glenister and John Simm in Life on Mars. BBC

Taking to Twitter (which has now rebranded as X), he said: "Some sad news folks. After many months of planning, we will now not be making Lazarus. I can't go into details but the hurdles were financial not creative.

"Naturally all who were involved are sick as a jungle full of parrots. Not least myself and Ashley Pharoah."

He continued: "It was a cracking concept - pertinent to our times. It had a whole new round of things to say about the relationship between the public and the police. And it was bloody funny too. But that as they say is showbiz baby.

"Forgive us if we don't take questions on the decision or on what happens next for Gene, Sam and the gang. But we wanted to let those who were interested know so that you could instead raise a pint of tan n bitter to the Guv."

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Fellow series creator Ashley Pharoah also added at the time: "Really disappointing news but we gave it a proper crack. We're still thinking of a way to either share the script with you or bring it out in another form. Until then... pub?"

While Lazarus may not ever come to fruition on our screens, this table reading event is the chance to experience the series for yourself with the total running time standing at just 90 minutes.

The original series followed fictional Manchester-based police officer Sam Tyler (John Simm) after he's mysteriously transported from the year 2006 to the 1970s, with spin-off Ashes to Ashes focusing on his superior at the force, Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister), in the 1980s.

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Tickets for the Lazarus table reading at BFI Southbank can be found here. Life on Mars is available to stream on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.

Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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