Chris Skelton
300marshall lancaster

Rank in Police

Detective Constable

Also Known As

Wonder Chris

Episode Count



Marshall Lancaster

Detective Constable Christopher Daniel Skelton, better known as Chris Skelton, is a fictional character in BBC1's science fiction/police procedural drama television series, Life on Mars, and its spinoff series, Ashes to Ashes. He is portrayed by Marshall Lancaster.



Detective Constable Chris Skelton was a detective in the A Division of the Manchester and Salford Police force throughout the 1970s, working under the command of DCI Gene Hunt. At some point in 1980, he with Hunt and close colleague DS Ray Carling transferred to the Metropolitan Police Service in Fenchurch East, London. He is romanticly involved with Shaz. He is "the nervous one" of the team, and is often the butt of Gene Hunt's cruel jibes. Was shot in the 1980's and taken to Gene's Kingdom. He is scared of whistles.

Life on MarsEdit

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 the show's Sam Tyler, and learns from his modern ways, such as tape-recording interviews before it was standard procedure.

Unlike Ray Carling, Skelton eventually comes to respect and tried to emulate Tyler. Along with this, Tyler also helps Skelton overcome his clumsiness, nervousness and naivety. During the finale of Life on Mars, Skelton informs Tyler: "I don't underestimate you Boss, I just don't understand you".

Ashes to AshesEdit

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 in 1981, eight years since that of Life on Mars set in in 1973, Chris' confidence, maturity and policing skills are displayed 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 Granger (Montserrat Lombard) and in the second episode of series two, he proposed to Granger, with her accepting the offer.

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 attemps 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. 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, of which the details are undisclosed.

However in episode 6 series 3, 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) he still loves her.

Along with this, Shaz, Ray and Chris all have visions of stars, as if looking up at the sky and hear strange voices, like that of in a pub, and described by Chris as 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.