the voices

Question: Institutional phone practices in 1973

Telephones feature heavily in Life on Mars but a detail that has eluded me (and which I didn't really need until now *g*) is how call transfers work within a large institution - like a hospital, or police station for that matter. My assumption has been that calls are made to a central switchboard within the building and then transferred to specific office extensions by a receptionist-type person; that much, to me at least, seems like sound common sense.

My main question, though, is whether any of these institutions - more specifically, hospitals - would have placed callers on hold while waiting to connect them to the person they want to speak with? And if they're on hold, would they be subjected to a sort of static-tinged silence? A beep? Muzak?

Any memories/insights on being on hold in 1973 Britain very warmly welcomed, thank you!
  • hmpf

Sam Tyler and the music of the 80s and 90s

Heh. Should have posted this here in the first place. (I first posted it to my own LJ, foolishly.)

Okay... I need help from people who are more in tune with Sam's likely taste in music, especially concerning stuff from the 80s and 90s. If the pop music of the 80s and the 90s that we know didn't exist - can you think of a few songs that Sam would be particularly likely to miss, in that case? And, in particular, one that would be reasonably easy to at least partly reconstruct from memory if one had some pretty basic guitar skills?

Several suggestions would be good, actually. Also, how about a song he'd love but which would definitely *not* be something a musical layperson could have any hope to 'reconstruct'?

(Sort of unrelated: I also have some David Bowie questions, for the same fic. Would prefer to discuss these in PMs, though, as they're more spoilery.)

ETA: This is the line I'm trying to fill in:

"[X] will forever be beyond his ability, but he makes some headway on [Y] and sometimes manages a decent rendition of [Z]." Edited to fix f***ed-up word order.

"The Hidden History of Manchester's Gay Music Culture"

This is a link to the Queer Noise exhibition, which is an online projects telling the history of Manchester's gay music scene. Check out the "timeline" page! Very awesome, and because of it, I am now including the historic gay pub "The Thompson Arms" in the next Undercover story. Wish I had known of it earlier!

"The Hidden History of Manchester's Gay Music Culture"

Gene Hunt Driving

Philip Glenister's Eyes and a Bored Art Student.

I was inspired a recent entry by 666_blackangel who asked what colour Philip Glenister's eyes really were. For some people this has always been a straightforward question but for me it's been a bit more complicated. I wasn't sure if this had been discussed in some detail earlier, and if it has I'll certainly remove this.

So what colour ARE his eyes? In an attempt to answer this, or at least open up debate, I decided to conduct some tests.

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Sam's transfer papers in 1.01?

As part of a larger project *ahem*, I've been trying to decipher Sam's transfer papers as fleetingly seen on the front seat of the mysterious blue Rover P6 in the pilot episode.

My first effort is at the bottom of this post, but it's tentative given how blurry some of the words are. I'm asking for your help in deciphering them - or at least, some educated guesses to fill in the blanks!

Sam's transfer papers - click to see full size

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  • fawsley

Getting into CID

I don't think this really adds anything to Loz's last post full of fabby info, but I thought I might be of interest.

It comes from a letter in the latest issue of 'The Job' which is the Met's staff magazine. Obviously it applies to the Met Police and presumably to a later time period than the 1970s although the author does say that he is approaching retirement. It might have some relevance to Sam's original career path.

I wonder why we are now in a situation where we cannot get recruits into CID and are suffering a lack of applicants, lack of experience, lack of enthusiasm and lack of morale. Traditionally, the path to detective constable was through proving yourself on a borough crime squad. Then you'd be brought into the "main office" as an aide, where you were shown the ropes by an experienced DC or DS. Once you proved your worth there, you were awarded a board for detective training and ten-week course at detective training school. You were tried and tested, and although there were some worries about favouritism or nepotism, the vast majority were fine officers.

The letter goes on to describe the current situation, something that the author finds a mess to say the least.

The answer states that over the past year there have been more applicants to becomes trainee detective constables than there are vacancies and paints a much rosier picture.
Life on Mars (Sam & Gene stand too close

Training to become a member of the Greater Manchester Police in the late 1980s...


I've recently been writing a story surrounding Sam first joining the force, and as such have been researching. Thinking that others may find this research useful, I present it here for you now.

The following information comes from wikipedia, google,, the documentary The Real Life on Mars, and a very kind couple of British Bobbies who answered my plea on Yahoo!Answers. I make no claims that it's 100% accurate in every instance, but I hope it's a good grounding for further research.

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