The Singing Detective (1986)

TV Mini-Series  |   |  Drama, Musical, Mystery
8.8
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.8/10 from 3,398 users  
Reviews: 47 user | 11 critic

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

0Check in
0Share...

10 Best Back-to-School TV Shows

Dust off your varsity jacket and get excited for fall with our list of the 10 best back-to-school TV shows.

Visit our Family Entertainment Guide

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 19 Feb 2012
 
a list of 48 titles
created 17 Apr 2012
 
a list of 47 titles
created 08 Jun 2012
 
a list of 25 titles
created 29 May 2013
 
a list of 29 titles
created 05 Feb 2014
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Singing Detective (1986)

The Singing Detective (1986) on IMDb 8.8/10

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 8.4/10 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
Boys from the Blackstuff (TV Mini-Series 1982)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Five unemployed men would do anything just to have a job in Thatchers era Britain.

Stars: Michael Angelis, Bernard Hill, Alan Igbon
Edge of Darkness (TV Mini-Series 1985)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 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
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

During the Great Depression, a sheet music salesman seeks to escape his dreary life through popular music and a love affair with an innocent school teacher.

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Jessica Harper
Brimstone and Treacle (TV Movie 1987)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The Bates sadly care for their severely disabled daughter Pattie. Martin arrives at their door claiming to be her college friend. He charms them into accepting him as a lodger and carer for Pattie. But Martin is not all he seems.

Director: Barry Davis
Stars: Denholm Elliott, Michael Kitchen, Patricia Lawrence
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

During a train ride, an anxiety attack leads middle-aged illustrator John into an identity crisis. As his marital problems merge and blur into his fantasy life with prostitutes and call ... See full summary »

Director: Dennis Potter
Stars: Alan Bates, Gina Bellman, Frances Barber
Our Friends in the North (TV Mini-Series 1996)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A nine part series depicting the varying fortunes of four friends - Nicky, Geordie, Mary and Tosker - from the optimistic times of 1964 to the uncertainties of 1995. Taking nine pivotal ... See full summary »

Stars: Christopher Eccleston, Mark Strong, Gina McKee
Blackeyes (TV Mini-Series 1989)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 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 8.2/10 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
Midnight Movie (TV Movie 1994)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

American producer James Boyce and his airhead wife Amber rent an English country mansion where the British horror flick "Smoke Rings" was filmed twenty years previous. Amber's mother was ... See full summary »

Director: Renny Rye
Stars: Jim Carter, Louise Germaine, Brian Dennehy
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

The illustrations during the opening titles were done by comic book artist Mark Thomas. See more »

Quotes

Soldier: It's doing what we're told that makes us free.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Forever Ealing (2002) 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
better rating then godfather???? chutzpah210
Americans... hoistmypatard
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:
?