Life on Mars Symposium


Location: ATRiuM, Cardiff

Audience: Public

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CCI researchers hosted a one-day research symposium on the ground-breaking and critically-acclaimed BBC Wales/Kudos drama series Life on Mars, which finished its second, and final, series earlier this year. The symposium attracted academics from across the UK for what was the first research event devoted to a drama series that has emerged as one of the most significant of the 21st century.

The conference opened with a keynote address by Professor Robin Nelson, whose book on ‘quality’ television drama (A State of Play, MUP, 2007) has recently been published. There was also a panel discussion with some of the leading figures behind the series, including Claire Parker and Jane Featherstone of Kudos and Julie Gardner, Head of Drama for BBC Wales who commissioned Life on Mars.

Papers were given on a range of topics, including the role of nostalgia in audiences’ responses to the series, the re-working of the iconography of the 1970s, the programme’s relationship to other police series and the role of the uncanny.

The symposium also marked the launched of two exciting new books on TV Drama, Robin Nelson’s A State of Play and Stephen Lacey’s Tony Garnett, both published by Manchester University Press.

The symposium was organised by Dr Ruth McElroy and Professor Stephen Lacey, and was one of the first research events to be held in the ATRiuM.