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 ...
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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
Frank is given a display case of 15 pinned butterflies by a grateful client as part-payment for his fee. He has this in his Birmingham office and takes it to his short-lived Brighton premises. It then hangs in his Windsor home (as seen in "The Beater and the Game") before being displayed in his High Street office in "John VII. Verse 24". A nice piece of visual continuity, the box does actually differ slightly between the ABC and Thames episodes. 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 »
I would thoroughly recommend this series to anyone who is tired of the trend in British TV for murder in middle England, conspiracy and terrorism stories and the excess of melodrama in the soaps.
Public Eye brings the viewer down to earth with a bump, no glamour, gentility or sensational plots here just the daily grind of trying to earn an honest crust. Frank Marker, marvellously portrayed by Alfred Burke, is a private enquiry agent who investigates the most routine cases imaginable. He may be checking on unfaithful husbands, looking at minor fraud or petty theft. Occasionally he is used by clients who have ulterior motives and he gets involved in cases he wishes he hadn't. The story lines are thoroughly believable so that viewers quickly identify with the situation. The characters are well developed, sympathetic and demand your attention, but it is Marker who always draws the viewers eye. A loner, he does not make friends easily (at all!) yet we find ourselves identifying with him and caring about him. Add to this Public Eye was made 35 years ago and it is fascinating to see how values and attitudes have changed in the intervening years.
The 1969 series concentrates more on Marker himself following his release from prison for a crime he did not commit. While the 1971 series sees him going about his normal enquiry business. My only regret is that most of the early series (1-3) are lost forever and of the other 4 series only the two mentioned above have so far been released on DVD.
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