A long-running British TV series starring Alfred Burke as dour private-eye Frank Marker. Cynical and world-weary, Marker is frequently the unwitting stooge in bigger criminal wheels in his ... See full summary »
A long-running British TV series starring Alfred Burke as dour private-eye Frank Marker. Cynical and world-weary, Marker is frequently the unwitting stooge in bigger criminal wheels in his attempts to make a tenuous living on the outskirts of London. Fairly cheaply made on video, when the series went into colour in 1970, rather than re-making the evocative title sequence, the producers (Thames Television) merely put it through a sepia filter! Written by
First seen in "Well - There Was This Girl, You See...", the framed artwork given to Frank by Nell Holdsworth which decorates his offices thereafter, is an 1823 representation by John George Murray (after James Stephanoff), of 'The Trial of Queen Caroline', when the Pains and Penalties Bill 1820 was pushed through and passed in the House of Lords at the bequest of King George IV in an attempt to discredit his estranged wife. Its title is fully "View of the interior of the House of Lords, during the important investigation in 1820." See more »
At the start of the second season, Marker moves into new premises in Birmingham which overlook Kane's Timber Yard. Despite the busy sound effects added by the production team to convey the atmosphere of a hectic workplace, the view from his office window regularly depicts the same selection of long-untouched wooden planks, since the scene is a stationary backdrop. By the following series Kane's have been taken over and presumably demolished, as a view of tower blocks has replaced the yard. See more »
This is a quite exceptional, but sadly neglected, British series. There have been many detective series, most located squarely in a world of glamour or serious crime. "Public Eye" was exceptional in breaking this cliche. The programme centred upon private enquiry agent Frank Marker. Marker was a middle-aged man,of modest appearance, operating out of the most modest of offices. His cases were undertaken for minimal fees and usually centred upon mundane matters - missing persons, character checks, divorce, chasing debts. If crime was involved it was usually of a petty, often seedy, nature - no high-profile murder enquiries. The mundane nature of the investigations and the settings might make one think that this would be a very prosaic affair. Quite the opposite. It was refreshing to see stories set in the real world, with realistic people facing realistic problems. Superb acting, characterisation and clever story-telling made this a marvellously engaging series. The best example of this was the role of Marker, brilliantly played by Alfred Burke.
Marker was a thoroughly decent man, struggling to earn a crust, regularly disillusioned by the tales of misery, dirt and deception he engaged in. Like many detectives he was a loner but not in the confrontational sense of many others. He did not allow closeness, but was not aggressive. He was sharp and socially skilled but did not have unblemished success. He could make mistakes. The best example of this was in "The Man Who Said Sorry". In this extraordinary episode, which is almost entirely a two-hander, Marker has a frustrating dialogue with a man (Paul Rogers) who threatens both suicide and the murder of his estranged sons. The man, dogged by self-pity and indecision, does not convince Marker who gives him little sympathy. Later Marker has doubts and hears the sirens that confirm his error - the man has thrown himself under a train. Unlike many other detectives Marker is sometimes the victim, including taking a terrible beating from some gangsters in "Nobody Wants To Know". His painful, self-pitying recovery is superbly documented. Despite this he doesn't shirk a case. The show ended in 1975. As a video series it is unlikely to be repeated, certainly on terrestrial television. However it won new admirers when broadcast on "UK Gold" some years ago and just possibly it may return again.
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