The Singing Detective (1986– )

TV Series  -   -  Drama | Musical | Mystery
8.8
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Ratings: 8.8/10 from 3,230 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.

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Episodes

Seasons


Years



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

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Details

Country:

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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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The most controversial scene in the entire production was when the young Philip witnesses his mother having sex in the undergrowth with a local man. This brought howls of protest from the puritanical quarters of the British press, partly for the graphic nature of the scene (Patrick Malahide is seen to be thrusting into Alison Steadman) and the fact that such a scene was being played out in front of a child. In reality of course the latter was simply not true. Child actor Lyndon Davies wasn't involved with the filming of this scene at all, apart from his own close-ups which were shot separately. For his close-ups, Davies was reacting to the director, Jon Amiel. Nevertheless, Amiel and producer Kenith Trodd had to convince BBC1 controller Michael Grade that the scene should air intact. To his credit, Grade agreed to this. See more »

Quotes

Mark Binney: I'm not paying you to make me feel small, am I?
Philip Marlow: Oh, you don't have to do that. That's thrown in without charge.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant psychological drama
18 June 2001 | by (Matteson IL) – See all my reviews

"The Singing Detective" very well may be the best thing done on television. Gambon is outstanding as the lead role, Marlow; he takes command of the performance so that you the viewer see Gambon as Phillip. The story is so rich and detailed with psychological questions that Marlow reflects on from his hospital bed; as you see him find resolutions to his questions, his skin condition becomes better. In the flashbacks, as he has more problems, it becomes worse. This is just one of many predicaments that Marlow faces throughout his time in his life. The story asks psychological questions about childhood, humans as sexual beings, the existence of God, and the healing (and destroying) powers of the mind. "The Singing Detective" is a quite cerebral and a brilliant show. SEEK THIS SERIES OUT and treasure it!


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