Philip Glenister: Life On Mars tag forever in my Genes


Philip Glenister says playing tough-talking fictional detective Gene Hunt has been "more a help than a hindrance" to his career - but he is not sure it would be "wise" to resurrect the character.

The British actor said portraying the foul-mouthed inspector in Life On Mars was similar to James Bond stars who will "always be associated" with the role.

Philip, 52, starred as DCI Hunt in the BBC One drama which ran from 2006 to 2007, before playing the same character in the follow-up Ashes To Ashes from 2008 to 2010.

Keeley Hawes and Philip Glenister in Ashes To Ashes (PA/BBC)
Keeley Hawes and Philip Glenister in Ashes To Ashes (PA/BBC)

Asked whether playing Hunt had been a help or a hindrance to his career, Philip told the Press Association: "You could say a bit of both. More a help than a hindrance. It gets your name around.

"I think everyone has it at some stage. Whether you're playing James Bond, you'll always be associated with James Bond, or whether you're Doctor Who. It's not a bad tag to have to carry around.

"I've always done other things since I stopped playing him."

Philip Glenister on the red carpet
Philip Glenister (Ian West / PA)

Philip had previously told the Radio Times he was open to making a Life On Mars movie "in some form" after he discussed the idea with his former co-star John Simm.

But he told the Press Association: "I can't really see it happening.

"I was speaking with John about a month ago. We had lunch together and we said if the opportunity came up and someone said; 'Hey, let's do a movie of Life On Mars', then you'd have a look at the script for sure.

Philip Glenister stars in ITV drama Prey
Philip Glenister in ITV drama Prey (ITV)

"I don't know whether that would be a wise thing to do. It's the agnostic answer. Never say never."

Philip's latest alter-ego is a hard-bitten West Virginian clergyman in the American television series Outcast, written by The Walking Dead comic book creator Robert Kirkman.

The series follows a troubled young man who, along with the Reverend, battles demonic possession.

Prey Philip Glenister
(Ben Blackall/ITV)

Speaking at the premiere of the show in a cemetery in Los Angeles, Philip joked that the success of British actors in the US - including Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead - was because they were "cheap".

"The Americans are very embracing of us," Philip said. "They think we're all highly trained and very well behaved and turn up and learn our lines, and know our lines, and we go to bed on time. It's so not true.

"While we can keep that idea going, hopefully we'll be working. We have Americans coming over as well so it's a nice reciprocal thing.

"TV, particularly in America, is going through a really strong stage. The best writing is definitely coming out of television so everyone wants to be making it."

:: The opening episode of Outcast airs on Fox UK on Tuesday at 10pm.