The Singing Detective (1986– )

TV Series  -   -  Drama | Musical | Mystery
8.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.7/10 from 3,229 users  
Reviews: 47 user | 10 critic

Tormented and bedridden by a debilitating disease, a mystery writer relives his detective stories through his imagination and hallucinations.

0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 44 titles
created 10 May 2011
 
a list of 29 titles
created 26 May 2012
 
a list of 25 titles
created 15 Dec 2012
 
a list of 47 titles
created 16 May 2013
 
a list of 33 titles
created 1 month ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Singing Detective (1986– )

The Singing Detective (1986– ) on IMDb 8.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Singing Detective.

Episodes

Seasons


Years



1  
1986  
6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Pennies from Heaven (TV Mini-Series 1978)
Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Arthur, a sheet music salesman, has an ear for the hit tunes, but nobody will trust it. And his imagination often bursts into full song, building musical numbers around the greatest ... See full summary »

Stars: Cheryl Campbell, Bob Hoskins, Gemma Craven
Cream in My Coffee (TV Movie 1980)
Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Past and present intertwine: An elderly couple returns to the hotel where they became close when they were young and flashbacks to the earlier visit reveal the origins of both their ... See full summary »

Director: Gavin Millar
Stars: Peggy Ashcroft, Lionel Jeffries, Shelagh McLeod
Edge of Darkness (TV Mini-Series 1985)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

The mysterious murder of an environmental activist leads her straight-laced father, an Inspector of the local police force, through a haunting revelation of the murkiness of the British ... See full summary »

Stars: Bob Peck, Joe Don Baker, Charles Kay
Blade on the Feather (TV Movie 1980)
Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A reclusive, elderly author is visited by a young admirer...but both men are more than they claim to be.

Director: Richard Loncraine
Stars: Kika Markham, Phoebe Nicholls, Donald Pleasence
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A strange young man has a sinister effect on the family of a middle-aged writer.

Director: Richard Loncraine
Stars: Sting, Denholm Elliott, Joan Plowright
Boys from the Blackstuff (TV Mini-Series 1982)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Stars: Michael Angelis, Bernard Hill, Alan Igbon
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (TV Mini-Series 1979)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced out of semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6's echelons.

Stars: Alec Guinness, Michael Jayston, Anthony Bate
Smiley's People (TV Mini-Series 1982)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Called out of retirement to settle the affairs of a friend, Smiley finds his old organization, the Circus, so overwhelmed by political considerations that it doesn't want to know what ... See full summary »

Stars: Alec Guinness, Eileen Atkins, Bill Paterson
Blackeyes (TV Mini-Series 1989)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Blackeyes is an attempt to explore "what does go on between men and women in their heads, to show the possibilities of the ways that they see each other." Complex and multi-layered, the ... See full summary »

Stars: Michael Gough, Carol Royle, Nigel Planer
Lipstick on Your Collar (TV Mini-Series 1993)
Drama | Musical | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

During the Suez Crisis of 1956, two young clerks at the stuffy Foreign Office in Whitehall display little interest in the decline of the British Empire. To their eyes, it can hardly compete... See full summary »

Stars: Giles Thomas, Ewan McGregor, Louise Germaine
Karaoke (TV Mini-Series 1996)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Daniel Feeld is a screenwriter with pains in his gut and a new screenplay called "Karaoke", about a girl named Sandra who works in a seedy Karaoke bar and is murdered by a lowlife named ... See full summary »

Stars: Albert Finney, Roy Hudd, Richard E. Grant
Cold Lazarus (TV Mini-Series 1996)
Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Dr. Emma Porlock and her colleagues, attempting to unlock the secrets of human memory for the Masdon drug empire, get a cryogenically stored 400-year-old human head to project its memories ... See full summary »

Stars: Albert Finney, Ciarán Hinds, Frances de la Tour
Edit

Cast

Complete series cast summary:
...
 Philip Marlow (6 episodes, 1986)
...
 Mark Binney / ... (6 episodes, 1986)
...
 Nurse Mills (6 episodes, 1986)
...
 Mr. Hall (6 episodes, 1986)
Gerard Horan ...
 Reginald (6 episodes, 1986)
Leslie French ...
 Mr. Tomkey / ... (6 episodes, 1986)
...
 First Mysterious Man (6 episodes, 1986)
...
 Second Mysterious Man (6 episodes, 1986)
Sharon D. Clarke ...
 Night Nurse (6 episodes, 1986)
Lyndon Davies ...
 Philip (aged 10) (6 episodes, 1986)
Geff Francis ...
 Porter (6 episodes, 1986)
...
 Nicola (5 episodes, 1986)
...
 Mrs. Marlow / ... (5 episodes, 1986)
...
 Mr. Marlow (5 episodes, 1986)
...
 Staff Nurse White (5 episodes, 1986)
Janet Henfrey ...
 Schoolteacher (5 episodes, 1986)
...
 Dr. Gibbon (4 episodes, 1986)
William Speakman ...
 Mark Binney (aged 10) / ... (4 episodes, 1986)
...
 Dr. Finlay (4 episodes, 1986)
Charles Simon ...
 George Adams (4 episodes, 1986)
Wally Thomas ...
 Grandad Baxter (3 episodes, 1986)
Kate McKenzie ...
 Sonia (3 episodes, 1986)
Trevor Cooper ...
 Cloth Cap / ... (3 episodes, 1986)
Charon Bourke ...
 Amanda (2 episodes, 1986)
Mary MacLeod ...
 Sister Malone (2 episodes, 1986)
Thomas Wheatley ...
 Registrar (2 episodes, 1986)
...
 Uncle John (2 episodes, 1986)
...
 Aunt Emily (2 episodes, 1986)
Niven Boyd ...
 First Soldier (2 episodes, 1986)
Angela Curran ...
 Mary (2 episodes, 1986)
...
 Second Soldier (2 episodes, 1986)
Edit

Storyline

Reworking material from his first novel, "Hide and Seek" (1973), and folding this into a prismatic blend of autobiographical details, popular music and 1940s film noir, Dennis Potter delivered a drama now regarded as a 20th-century masterwork. Detective novelist Philip Marlow (Michael Gambon) suffers from the crippling disease of psoriatic arthritis. Confined to a hospital bed, Marlow mentally rewrites his early Chandleresque thriller, "The Singing Detective," with himself in the title role, drifting into a surreal 1945 fantasy of spies and criminals, along with vivid memories of a childhood in the Forest of Dean. As past events and 1940s songs surface in his subconscious, Marlow's voyage of self-discovery provides a key to conquering his illness, while his noir-styled hallucinations evoke the Philip Marlowe of Chandler's "Murder, My Sweet" (1944), starring Dick Powell, who later became a "singing detective" on radio's "Richard Diamond, Private Detective" (1949), crooning to ... Written by Bhob Stewart <bhob2@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

16 November 1986 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Az éneklő detektív  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(6 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

'Dennis Potter' originally wanted the hospital scenes to be shot on videotape, so they would look like a TV sitcom. Producer Kenith Trodd convinced him that they could get a better director if the whole thing were shot on film. See more »

Quotes

Doctor: I know it's an embarrassing question, even between husbands and wives, but what do you believe in?
Philip E. Marlow: Malthusianism.
Doctor: Come again?
Philip E. Marlow: Malthus, but mandatory. Compulsory depopulation by infanticide, suicide, genocide or whatever other means suggest themselves. AIDS, for example, that'll do. Why should queers be so special?
Doctor: I see.
Philip E. Marlow: I also believe in cigarettes, cholesterol, alcohol, carbon monoxide, masturbation, the Arts Council, nuclear weapons, the Daily Telegraph, and not properly labeling fatal ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Karaoke (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Peg o' My Heart
(uncredited)
Music by Fred Fisher
Performed by Max Harris & His Novelty Trio during the credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
One of the Greatest Things Ever Seen on Television
8 January 2005 | by (Scotland) – See all my reviews

The BBC television production of "The Singing Detective" caused a huge stir when it was first broadcast back in 1986, and now it is commonly acknowledged as a classic.

Hospitalised by a severe case of psoriasis, crime novelist Philip E Marlow, escapes the grim realities of ward life into a rich inner world where he imagines himself as the "singing detective", hero of his own novels. From these fantasies he drifts to memories of his grim childhood during World War Two, and paranoid fantasies about his estranged wife.

The script, by celebrated writer Dennis Potter, is truly remarkable. The acting is good, especially from Michael Gambon (as Philip Marlow) who is perfect in a very difficult role.

The series lasts nearly seven hours and yet never fails to entertain. The series has a rich vain of dark humour and features some hilariously surreal song-and-dance sequences.

This is a true masterpiece and, very possibly, the best TV series ever made. Don't miss any opportunity to catch it.


38 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Americans... hoistmypatard
better rating then godfather???? chutzpah210
Removing Vincent Schiavelli's photo pusterummet
What was BAFTA thinking?! melj
Soundtrack on CD? lironba
For those who have been wondering about a DVD release wordcraft
Discuss The Singing Detective (1986) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?