Richard Littlejohn wrote this great article
Life on Mars? No, pet, it's Life on Venus
09:57am 13th April 2007 Comments (40)
The second series of the BBC’s time-travel cop show, Life On Mars, ended this week, watched by seven million viewers. For the uninitiated, it featured a modern policeman, DI Sam Tyler, who fell into a coma and woke up in 1973. He was horrified by the crude racism, sexism and casual brutality of Seventies DCI Gene Hunt, of the Manchester CID, who stole the series.
But what if a 1970s copper was transported forward in time? What would he make of New Scotland Yard 2007?
Teachers blame Life On Mars for homophobic bullying
(SCENE ONE: Hunt wakes with a raging hangover to find himself slumped over a desk. He reaches into his pocket, pulls out a packet of Kensitas and lights up.)
Where the hell am I?
Put that out.
This is a designated no-smoking facility.
What are you bloody talking about?
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I ask the questions.
Who are you, darling?
Detective Inspector Suzi Obafemwi. And this is my squad room.
YOUR squad room? Stop messing about, petal, and get us a drink, there’s a good girl. My gob feels as if a rabid badger has crawled in there and died.
Don’t you ‘good girl’ me, you patronising bastard.
Come on, luv, stop playing games. You’re not a bloody DI. For a start, you’re a tart. And you’re coloured, unless this hangover is playing havoc with my eyesight.
How dare you call me a prostitute, you racist pig?
Don’t get your hotpants in a twist, sweetheart. When I said ‘tart’, I didn’t mean, er, it’s a term of endearment, like.
Not round here it isn’t. And I’m not ‘coloured’, I’m black.
Only trying to be polite. It took me five years to learn to say ‘coloured’.
Who are you?
DCI Gene Hunt, from Manchester.
You must be the new guv’nor. We’ve been expecting you.
Sorry, luv, I don’t mean to be rude. It’s just that where I come from, we haven’t got any black, female, detective inspectors.
What, in Manchester? In 2007?
Two thousand and what?
You make ‘sir’ sound like a toe-end in the goolies, luv. You think I’m who?
Our new boss.
But I only came down here for a leavingdo at The Feathers. Old Barlow, firstclass thief-taker.
Chief Superintendent Charlie Barlow.
Never heard of him.
He’s a bloody legend, flower. Cracked the 1971 diamond vaults job.
I wouldn’t know. I wasn’t born then.
This is 2007, remember?
Bloody Nora, I know this weak Southern beer doesn’t agree with me, but someone must have spiked my drinks.
You certainly stink of booze.
My head’s banging like a bloody Lambeg drum in an Orange Lodge parade. Pour us a scotch, there’s a luv.
This is also an alcohol-free working environment. You don’t want to let the Commissioner catch you smelling like that.
I thought he liked a drink.
That was the last one, Captain Beaujolais.
No, Beaujolais. He went off to run the Diana inquiry.
Diana Dors? She hangs around with some pretty dodgy characters. That Alan Lake, he’s a wrong-un.
Who’s she? If this really is 2007, I must have fallen into a coma.
You were certainly comatose when I found you.
Anyway, seeing as I’m here, we might as well get on with it. What are you working on at the moment?
Cash for ermine.
Someone fencing stolen fur coats?
No, the Prime Minister’s been selling seats in the House of Lords in exchange for political donations.
They’ve always done that, flower. You might as well try to stop dogs licking their wossnames. What else?
There’s been a spate of homophobic crime.
Phobic. A writer went on Radio 4 and said she thought gay marriages were abhorrent.
So what? There’s no law against it.
There is, guv. It’s a hate crime.
I hate crime, too. Anyway, who ever heard of two poofs getting married?
It’s all the rage. Civil partnerships, they call it. And I wouldn’t let anyone in this building hear you using language like that.
Derogatory terms to describe members of the gay community, sir. Some might find it offensive.
Come off it. There aren’t any woofters in Scotland Yard.
Oh, yes there are, guv, at the very highest level. There’s even a Gay Police Association.
You’ll be telling me next that there’s a Black Police Association, as well.
Correct. I’m the vice-chair.
Bloody hell. Anyway, where is everyone - down the pub? I could do with a large one myself.
Out on inquiries, or attending diversity training. At least, those who aren’t off sick.
Sick? What, sleeping off a session, you mean?
Stress, mainly. Half the Met took at least three weeks off sick last year. Cost £36 million.
Jeesus. I’ve never missed a day in my life. I’d sack the lot of them.
You can’t do that, they’d sue for wrongful dismissal on the grounds of racial or sexual discrimination.
You’re kidding. What about those who aren’t throwing a sickie?
A couple of officers are interviewing a ten-year-old boy who called another kid ‘gay’. We’ve also launched a major crackdown on hopscotch. And Simpkins has been seconded to the golliwog squad.
It’s a special unit set up to prosecute shopkeepers found to be selling racially-inflammatory soft toys.
Aren’t we nicking any real villains?
DS Harper arrested a man on the Underground for carrying an offensive weapon.
A knife or something?
No, a cricket ball. And we felt the collar of a man reading out the names of war dead next to the Cenotaph.
That’s what it’s bloody there for.
It’s inside the exclusion zone, to prevent terrorism.
Haven’t you heard, guv, that’s all over.
Don’t tell me - Gerry Adams is the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.
Of course not. He’s deputy to Ian Paisley.
Are you sure you haven’t got any scotch?
’Fraid not. I can offer you a tea.
Milk and three sugars, please, treacle.
No treacle, just camomile and ylang-ylang.
If not the bog-trotters, then who?
Who’s this Al geezer when he’s at home.
International Islamic jihadists. They’ve already let off four suicide bombs on London Transport.
We should shoot them on sight. We did, guv, only we killed the wrong man. He was a Brazilian.
So what are we doing?
We’re gathering all the intelligence we can. Some of the lads are staking out a suspected bomb factory.
Why don’t we just surround the place with a couple of hundred armed officers, steam in and take the place apart.
Tried that, too. In Forest Gate. Pulled it apart brick by brick. One of the suspects got shot.
You make that sound like a bad thing. I’d drive them to the nearest multi-storey car park and dangle them off the side by their ankles until they confessed.
Don’t quote me, guv, so would I. But the Commissioner would never allow that. You really are quite a throwback.
Isn’t there anyone at the Yard like me?
Well, there’s one officer who seems to be able to do what the hell he likes, harass women, that sort of thing.
Who is he?
Name of Ali Dizaei. He’s written a book.
A book? The only thing I’ve ever written is a bent confession. Come on, Suzi, sod this for a game of soldiers, you can buy me a drink and then we’ll go out and see who we can fit up.
You’ve been watching too much Life On Mars, guv’nor.
Life on Mars, petal? This is more like Life on Venus.