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 3,372 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...

On Disc

at Amazon

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 26 Dec 2010
 
a list of 47 titles
created 08 Jun 2012
 
a list of 25 titles
created 10 Apr 2014
 
a list of 45 titles
created 20 Apr 2014
 
a list of 25 titles
created 3 months ago
 

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 8.5/10 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 8.6/10 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 | 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
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
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (TV Mini-Series 1979)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 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
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 8.2/10 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
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
Karaoke (TV Mini-Series 1996)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 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
Midnight Movie (TV Movie 1994)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 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

According to director Jon Amiel in the audio commentary, Janet Henfrey, who plays the cruel school teacher, is in reality "a very deeply gentle woman", and she had to go through a lot of painful rehearsing to muster the kind of cruelty towards children that the part required of her. See more »

Quotes

Doctor: [Doctors and nurses have been clustered round, discussing Marlow's condition while ignoring him] How do you feel about trying one of the new retinoids? Hmm?
[pauses]
Doctor: Do you understand the question?
Philip E. Marlow: Uh - no, I don't think so.
Doctor: [slowly] I'm asking you if you'd like to try one of the new...
Philip E. Marlow: I don't understand the question because I seem to have regressed into a helpless, pathetic condition of total dependency, of a kind normally associated with infancy. The last time I experienced anything remotely ...
See more »

Connections

Featured in X-Rated: The TV They Tried to Ban (2005) 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

As good as it gets
6 August 2003 | by (bean world, massachusetts) – See all my reviews

There's no point in reiterating the praise for this miniseries. Many have called it the best television production ever, and as far as I can tell, they're absolutely correct. This is (NBC notwithstanding) the true definition of 'must-see TV'.

I just want to comment on something that struck me when I watched this recently on DVD. There's no way that an actor like Michael Gambon could ever get cast as the leading man in an American production (for TV or movies). He's just not physically attractive enough in the conventional sense; for example, he has the beginnings of a double-chin (more of a sloping-down from his chin to his collar), and I can't imagine any American producer being willing to give such an "not hot" actor so much screen time in the lead role.

Yet, it hardly needs be said, he is 100% perfect in this role, and it's hard to imagine anyone else doing as good a job. He can convey more feeling (rage, helplessness, love, hatred) in one close-up of his eyes than some actors do in their entire careers. His presence in this film is, in a sense, a reminder of how lucky we all are that it ever got made at all, by a BBC that was willing to give producer Kenith Trodd almost complete autonomy, as long as he stayed within budget. With the possible exception of HBO, you just don't see that sort of artistic freedom too often over on this side of the pond.

Anyway, as others said, it's a masterpiece, brilliantly written and brilliantly acted. Truly one of the most incredible uses of the television medium ever.


24 of 26 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:
?