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Life in Moscow


How will “You surrounded by a pack of armed b******s!” sound translated in Russian? I could easily Babelfish it. Why? It has been reported that the BBC hit drama Life on Mars, from where the line originates, is going to be remade in Russia.

It will be yet another example of a British TV export industry that now brings in more than £1.4 billion annually.

However, it is not known as of yet how the remake is going to make the transition from Manchester to Moscow. It is not the first time that Life on Mars has been remade in other countries. There have been similar remakes in Spain and America. The US version is, or I try to make it, easily forgettable. It is also uncertain how the forthcoming Russian version will handle the differences between modern day Russian and its Soviet past.

Other successful British TV formats have been exported around the globe such as Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor. Dramas such as Downton Abbey and Sherlock have led to a 13% rise in export revenues. For instance, Downton Abbey has been sold to more than 100 countries around the world.


Russian television contains a lot of programmes with a nostalgic feel. They tend to look back to the 1970s and 1980s, talking about that era and running the music from that time. Life on Mars slots in perfectly for their schedule.

I wonder if The Only Way is Essex will be made as The Only Way is Eskisehir for Turkish television. Now that’s a worrying thought.

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