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Trust the Gene Genie

January 28, 2022

Circumstances conspire to prompt me to write about the joys of the Gene Genie, otherwise known as Gene Hunt, one of the most popular characters ever created for British television. 

Back in November I spotted an ad for a special offer on BritBox for $1.99 a month for three months. Who could say no to that? I let my friend Donna and her husband know about this and they signed up, too. Since then we’ve all been bingeing British mysteries. Early on I told them to watch out for Life on Mars. Yesterday I got an email from her telling me they’d finally got around to checking it out and absolutely loved it – especially the Gene Genie. Hardly surprising.

Played by Phil Glenister, first in Life on Mars (set in the 1970s), then in Ashes to Ashes (set in the 1980s)the character posed the question (filling many column inches) of why women, offered in the first series, sensitive new age guy Sam Tyler, vastly preferred the neanderthal Hunt.

Here’s a taster.

I can now never think of this song without thinking of Gene Hunt.

And then today a friend posted this on Facebook.

Fanfuckingtastic. Still made me think of Gene Hunt before thinking of David Bowie. 

After the second series of Life on Mars there was a hiatus before Gene Hunt returned in Ashes to Ashes, this time with a new, female DI, Alex Drake, who was somewhat annoying (unlike Sam Tyler) in many ways, not least the fashion department.

I lived in London in the 1980s and trust me when I say I never wore a fall-off-the-shoulder-bra-strap-revealing jumper, with or without a 10 inch belt. Yet this was what the costume department put Alex in week after week. 

In Life on Mars, owing to the premise (which I won’t go into – you really should watch the show if you can) Sam Tyler, played by John Simm, appeared in every scene. Not so Ashes to Ashes, by which time the creators had figured out that viewers wanted as much Gene Hunt as possible.

The second series did feature one of my all time favourite moments, this opening scene from the third season. 

I was pretty sure when I started writing this that it couldn’t be the first time Gene Hunt aka Phil Glenister appeared here and I was right. A quick search confirmed that just last year I wrote about the time we met. It’s a pretty good story, so, if you haven’t read it, you should click on the link. 

From → Blog

4 Comments
  1. janeshead permalink

    I 100% did wear fall-off-the-shoulder bra-stra-revealing jumpers with broad belts (maybe not THAT broad, but still) in the early 80s. Back when I had a waist. Also, probably time to rewatch Life on Mars!

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