Ray Carling

Rank in Police

Detective Inspector

Also Known As


Episode Count



Dean Andrews

DS Ray Carling (later DI) is a fictional character in BBC One's science fiction/police procedural drama, Life on Mars and its spin-off Ashes to Ashes. The character is portrayed by Dean Andrews.



Detective Inspector (originally Detective Sergeant) Ray "Raymondo" Carling is a detective in the A Division of the Manchester and Salford Police force throughout the 1970s, working under the command of detective chief inspector Gene Hunt. He transfers to the Metropolitan Police Service in London alongside Hunt and Detective Constable Chris Skelton at some point around 1980.

Life on MarsEdit

In Life on Mars Ray Is a Detective in the A Divison of the Manchester and Salford Police force. He initionally takes a dislike to Sam Tyler, after he was meant to get the promotion of Detective Inspector, only to find out that Sam got the position instead. He often works closely with DCI Gene Hunt, and admires him greatly, not because of just the way he does things but also because as a sort of 'father figure' that he never had. Ray also works well with DC Chris Skelton, as thier friendship seems unseperable. In Ashes to Ashes, however, this friendship is tested after Chris takes his first backhander of doing a robbery in order to pay of the debts to a Loanshark he borrowed money off, to pay for his Girlfriends engagement ring.

In season one', episode seven', Ray is given the chance of proving his loyalty, after Gene Temporaly, offers him custody of the station and responsibilty of small time drug dealer, Billy Kemble. While Gene and Sam head to the local takeaway for a meal, Ray tries to get information out of Kemble by using Genes form of methods. When the two return to the station, Gene and Sam find Kemble dead. upon further investigation, Ray is found responsible for the death of this inmate, and realises that he can't be Gene or follow in his footsteps. He is disgraced and striped of his rank of Detective Sergeant. Although he later regains it in further episodes.

Ashes to AshesEdit

Ray is transfered along with Gene Hunt, and Chris Skelton to the South of the Country where they Join the Metropolitan Police Service in London. Each of them have have thier same ranks. The events of Ashes to Ashes, however, take place in 1981 with the arrival of Alex Drake and the death of Sam Tyler.

Along with Chris and Shaz, it is revealed that Ray Carling also died in the real world in 1976. As a young DC, he commits suicide by hanging himself in a bout of severe depression, self-doubt and alcohol abuse. Carling reveals it was primarily guilt caused by his accidental killing of a young man, which was whitewashed by his DCI. He also maintains feeling as though he'd failed his father and grandfathers, who were all army sergeants, after he flunked basic training for entry to the British Army - a theme which runs through the series. We know he died in 1976 as on the T.V. in the room he committed suicide, the 1976 FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Southampton is being shown live.