Life on Mars Wiki
Chris Skelton
Series: Life on Mars (UK)
Ashes to Ashes
Rank: Detective Constable
Police Constable (formerly)
Aliases: Wonder Chris
Significant others: Sharon Granger
Actor: Marshall Lancaster
US equivalent: Det. Chris Skelton
Spanish equivalent: Jose Cristóbal Matteo

Detective Constable Christopher Daniel Skelton, simply known as Chris Skelton, is a fictional character in Life on Mars, and its spinoff series, Ashes to Ashes. He is portrayed by Marshall Lancaster.



Detective Constable (DC) Chris Skelton was a detective in the 'A' Division of the Manchester and Salford Police force throughout the 1970s, working under DCI Gene Hunt. At some point in 1980, he, along with Hunt and close colleague DS Ray Carling, transferred to the Metropolitan Police Service in Fenchurch East, London. He becomes romantically involved with Sharon Granger. Chris is "the nervous one" of the team, and is often the butt of Hunt's cruel jibes. In the real world, he was shot on 14 February 1975 and appeared in Gene Hunt's World. He is known to be scared of whistles, possibly a lingering memory from his real-world death.

Life on Mars[]

The character of Chris Skelton has been described as a "dogsbody" who is a "cheeky, but likeable character" by the BBC's Life on Mars website. Throughout both series of Life on Mars, Skelton finds himself torn between the "old and the new ways policing" of Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) and Sam Tyler. Also, Skelton eventually becomes close to Sam Tyler, and learns from his modern ways, such as tape-recording interviews before it was standard procedure.

Unlike Ray Carling, who is an acolyte of Gene Hunt through and through, Skelton eventually comes to respect and to try to emulate Tyler. Along with this, Tyler also helps Skelton overcome his clumsiness, nervousness, and naivety. During the first season finale of Life on Mars, Skelton informs Tyler, "I don't underestimate you, Boss, I just don't understand you".

Ashes to Ashes[]

Alongside Gene Hunt and Ray Carling, Skelton moved from Manchester to London and joined the Metropolitan Police shortly after the "death" of Sam Tyler in 1980.

By the time in which Ashes to Ashes is set (1981, eight years after Life on Mars), Chris's confidence, maturity, and policing skills are seen to have improved. During one episode, he described himself as "cautious rather than nervous" (as opposed to his demeanour in Life on Mars).

During the programme, Skelton enters into a relationship with fellow officer, Sharon (Shaz) Granger (Montserrat Lombard), and in the second episode of series two, he proposed to her and she accepted.

During series two of Ashes to Ashes, the main storyline follows Gene Hunt and Alex Drake battling to put an end to police corruption and searching for an officer who is fabricating and disposing of evidence within Fenchurch East CID. During the penultimate episode of the second series, Chris is revealed to be the mole in CID, explaining that to pay for an engagement ring for Granger he accepted money from corrupt officers. Chris initially thought that he could infiltrate the group and learn who was involved, but the more tasks he performed, the more involved he became, and he found it impossible to tell either Hunt or Drake about what was happening to him.

Ashamed, Chris quietly attempts to resign from CID. A disgusted Hunt views the resignation as cowardice and refuses, telling him that although he won't go to prison, he has no choice but to stay on and bear the consequences of his betrayal.

The revelation of his betrayal ostracizes him within CID and casts serious doubts on his relationship with Shaz (Sharon). In the final episode of the second series, however, Chris puts himself in danger by agreeing to go along with the corrupt officers' robbery plan; this eases tensions between Chris and the other characters and his relationship with Shaz recovers, as she admits that she still loves him because "he cares when he gets it wrong".

During episode one of the third series, it is revealed that Skelton and Granger have split up, the details and causes of which are undisclosed.

However in Series 3: Episode 6, when he and Ray are in a situation where they believe they are about to die, Chris tells Ray to tell Shaz (if he doesn't make it) that he still loves her.

Near the end of the series, Shaz, Ray, and Chris all have visions of stars, as if looking up at the sky, and hear strange voices, like in a pub. Chris describes it as sounding like Nelson (Tony Marshall), the publican from Life on Mars, asking him what is he having to drink.


During the finale it is revealed that Chris Skelton had been dead the whole time, killed during a firearms incident in which his Sergeant told him to "do as he is told" which was for Chris to move out into the open, where he is gunned down. Able to accept his death, Chris goes to 'the pub' along with Shaz and Ray who also accept their deaths. The trio enter as a unit, still bickering.

Key Life Events[]

  • Born in an unknown year (possibly 1950s)
  • Joins the Police force
  • Promoted to PC
  • Shot and sent to Gene Hunt's World
  • Promoted to DC
  • Engaged to Shaz Granger
  • Engagement to Shaz Granger broken off
  • Enters the pub
Characters of Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes
Sam tyler thumb.jpg  Gene hunt thumb.jpg  Cartwright thumb.jpg  Ray carling thumb.jpg  Skelton thumb.jpg   Alex drake thumb.jpg   Sharon granger thumb.jpg
Sam Tyler / Gene Hunt / Annie Cartwright / Ray Carling / Chris Skelton / Alex Drake / Sharon Granger