La chica de ayer.jpg

La chica de ayer (literally "The girl from yesterday" or "Yesterday Girl") is an 8 part Spanish science fiction and police procedural television series that first aired on Antena3 in 2009. It is the second remake of the British television series Life on Mars following the US remake by ABC.

In February 2008, the Spanish television network Antena 3 bought the rights from the BBC and announced it would recreate the story into 1977 post-Franco Spain. The title originiates from a 1980 Spanish song "La Chica de Ayer" by Nacha Pop (similar to "Life on Mars?" by David Bowie). First transmitted on Antenna 3, Sundays at 10pm, from 26 April to 14 June 2009.

Background[edit | edit source]

The story revolves around Samuel Santos: a very ambitious and determined Chief Inspector of Police in Madrid in the year 2009. After being involved in a car accident, Santos awakes in 1977 Spain which was transforming following the rule of the dictator Francisco Franco. Samuel also discovers that he is now working as an Inspector under the pompous Chief Inspector Joaquín Gallardo with a team of sexist and homophobic colleagues. In a clash of old versus new, Samuel has to work out how to return home whilst working for Gallardo.

Characters[edit | edit source]

The main characters of La chica de ayer (From left to right: José Santos, Rosa, Joaquín Gallardo, Samuel Santos, Raimundo García, Ana Valverde and Jose Cristóbal Mateo).

  • Ernesto Alterio as Samuel Santos: The protagonist of the series. Santos was a loyal and respectable police officer in 2009 before being hit by a car and awaking in 1977. In 1977, he attempts to introduce newer ideas to replace the old brutal ideas of the police. He is based on DI Sam Tyler played by John Simm.
  • Manuela Velasco as Ana Valverde: One of the few people to whom Sam reveals his 2009 origin. She is an intelligent woman with a hard exterior who has to face the sexist attitudes of her male peers and the new idea of women in the police department. She is based on WPC Annie Cartwright played by Liz White.
  • Mariano Llorente as Raimundo "Raymond" García: One of Gallardo's loyal "deputies". Raimundo is a man who acts before he thinks and follows his instincts. When Santos comes on the scene, he develops a distaste towards him. He is based on DS Ray Carling played by Dean Andrews.
  • Javier Rey as Jose Cristóbal "Cris" Matteo: The other "deputy" of Gallado. He is the rookie and the innocent member of the team who looks up to Santos with respect. He is based on DC Chris Skelton played by Marshall Lancaster.
  • Biel Durán as José Santos: The father of Santos who abandoned him as a child. While in 1977, Samuel aims to find out the reason why. The character is based on Vic Tyler.
  • Manuela Vellés as Rosa: The caring and tender mother of Samuel and the wife of José Santos. When Samuel was in 1977, he met his mother who was unaware who he really was. She is based on Ruth Tyler.

Episodes[edit | edit source]

Episodes vary in length from 70 to 80 minutes, there are no on-screen episode titles.

  • 1:Regreso al pasado (Back to the past) (adaptation of LoM series 1 ep 1)
  • 2:La mujer del vestido rojo (The woman in the red dress) (adaptation of LoM series 1 ep 4)
  • 3:Llega el inspector Quintana (Inspector Quintana arrives) (adaptation of LoM series 1 ep 3)
  • 4:El padre de Samuel, en peligro (The father of Samuel, in danger)(adaptation of LoM series 1 ep 2)
  • 5:Vicente, el travestido (Vincent, the transvestite) (original story)
  • 6:El caso de las feministas (The case of the feminists) (original story)
  • 7:El abandono (Abandonment) (adaptation of LoM series 1 ep 5)
  • 8:La luz al final del túnel (The light at the end of the tunnel) (adaptation of LoM series 1 ep 8)

Behind the Scenes[edit | edit source]

Development[edit | edit source]

The commercial logo of La chica de ayer

Mercedes Gamero, Antena3's head of acquisitions, spoke to The Times about the changes in the Spanish show: “We need to move the series forward to 1978 to recreate the characters. For example, no women were allowed in the police force under Franco. Under Franco, the police were seen as an important arm of the political regime. By 1978 there was a new openness in Spain which would have been challenging to some members of the police. There was a culture of machismo among Spanish men which has changed a lot.”

Differences to Life on Mars[edit | edit source]

  • Both the British and American series of Life on Mars are set in 1973 but La chica de ayer is set four years later in 1977.
  • Ironically, neither the song "La chica de ayer" by Nacha Pop nor "Life on Mars?" by David Bowie is playing when Santos is hit by the car and awakens in 1977. "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen is playing instead.
  • In the British Life on Mars, DCI Gene Hunt drives a Ford Cortina TC Mark III GXL. Joaquín Gallardo drives an Alfa Romeo 1750 GT Veloce.
  • Unlike the UK version where Sam stops and gets out of his car because of feelings of grief for his girlfriend Maya and is knocked down in broad daylight, in this version Samuel Santos is driving through a road tunnel when his car's electronics go haywire causing him to stop in the tunnel to fix it and, when he steps back from the car, he is hit and is seen to be thrown backward into a bright white light before awakening in 1977 outside a road tunnel.
  • Unlike the UK series, from episode 4 on, Samuel Santos Mother and Father both appear as regular characters.
  • In the final episode, Samuel Santos is presented with the opportunity to return to 2009, which he rejects. In the British Life on Mars, Tyler involuntary leaves 1973 by an operation in the future but returns to the past by suicide.

External Links[edit | edit source]

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