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Ruth tyler.jpg
Ruth Tyler
Series: Life on Mars (UK)
Significant others: Vic Tyler
Actor: Joanne Froggatt (1973)
Judi Jones (2006)
US equivalent: Rose Tyler
Spanish equivalent: Rosa Santos

Ruth Tyler is a fictional character in BBC One's science fiction/police procedural drama, Life on Mars. The character is portrayed by Joanne Froggatt in 1973 and by Judi Jones (her last onscreen appearance to date (2016) in 2006.



Ruth Tyler was the wife of salesman Vic Tyler and the caring mother of Sam Tyler. After her husband left their family in 1973, it was Ruth who cared for Sam and encouraged him to become a police officer. During Sam's coma in 2006, she often visited him in the hospital and spoke to him.


Ruth lived in a small terrace house on a typical street in Manchester. She would live alone with Sam as Vic was usually travelling the country as a salesman. Ruth and Sam lived in a rented property and had troubles paying the collector who worked for Stephen Warren. Sam Tyler visits his old house during an investigation involving Warren and meets his young mother. After witnessing the problems with Warren’s men, Sam attempts to give Ruth the bribe money but Ruth gets insulted and refuses, presuming he has an ulterior motive.

Sam crosses paths with his mother again when an investigation into the Morton Brothers leads CID to Vic Tyler. During the family wedding where Vic leaves, Sam meets his mother again and explains to her how to let little Sam know that his father his gone but that he will return. As Ruth takes little Sam aside, Sam has a flashback of this exact same moment 33 years earlier, hearing her speaking the lines he just fed her to his child self. Ruth and little Sam live out their lives alone and are never seen again in the series.


In 2006, Ruth is in her sixties and possibly retired. After Sam's accident, Ruth would regularly sit by his bed and talk to him. At one point, Ruth gives the decision to turn off the life support system. At the last second (2:00pm), however, Sam smiles and Ruth declares that they will continue to keep him alive as there is still hope. During Sam’s awakening, Ruth is seen silently by his bed. Later on Sam talks about the place he went to, and how he made a promise to someone. Ruth explains that she has nothing to worry about because Sam always keeps his promises.