THANDIE SET FOR LIFE ON MARS SEQUEL
11:00 - 18 April 2007
Cornish film star Thandie Newton is the hot favourite for a lead role in the sequel to the television hit Life on Mars.
Speculation is rife over who will play opposite the character of hard-nosed Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt in the show Ashes to Ashes.
A shortlist had been drawn up to play Det Insp Alex Drake, and Ms Newton - who shot to fame in Mission Impossible II and ER - is at the top of it.
Ms Newton, 34, grew up in Penzance and during the late 1980s and early 1990s was a pupil at the town's St Mary's Roman Catholic School.
Life On Mars, set in a Manchester police station in 1973, saw more than seven million viewers tuning in for last week's final episode.
Filming on Ashes to Ashes starts in London in July.
The show will feature DI Drake as a single mother who has soared through the ranks of the Metropolitan Police force.
The officer uses psychological profiling to snare criminals.
The character finds reports that Sam Tyler, played by John Simm, made after coming out of his coma in Life on Mars.
DI Drake and daughter Molly are kidnapped before she suffers a terrible accident.
The officer wakes up in 1981 and finds herself working alongside the politically incorrect DCI Gene Hunt, played by Philip Glenister.
DCI Hunt has been transferred to London with sidekicks Detective Constable Chris Skelton and Detective Sergeant Ray Carling.
Jane Featherstone, executive producer for producers Kudos, said: "Ashes To Ashes is the next chapter in the life of Gene Hunt, as seen through the eyes of a modern,
"It is Moonlighting teamed with a measure of Miami Vice."