Cynical, dour and world-weary, private eye Frank Marker is frequently the unwitting stooge in bigger criminal wheels in his attempts to make a tenuous living on the outskirts of London.Written by
In the early years of the Thames-produced series, some shows are in color and some are in black-and-white. The black-and-white ones were produced during "the color strike" when television technicians switched off the color during a union dispute. See more »
The Golden Flower Chinese restaurant is visible through the window of Frank's Eton High Street office - but as seen in location work for editions such as "Come Into the Garden, Rose", the eaterie is actually found two doors down from Marker's premises. The Thames production team designed the studio backdrop like this as they felt what actually faced the office was visually uninteresting. See more »
This is a quite exceptional, but sadly neglected, British series. There have been many detective series, most located squarely in a world of glamour or serious crime. "Public Eye" was exceptional in breaking this cliche. The programme centred upon private enquiry agent Frank Marker. Marker was a middle-aged man,of modest appearance, operating out of the most modest of offices. His cases were undertaken for minimal fees and usually centred upon mundane matters - missing persons, character checks, divorce, chasing debts. If crime was involved it was usually of a petty, often seedy, nature - no high-profile murder enquiries. The mundane nature of the investigations and the settings might make one think that this would be a very prosaic affair. Quite the opposite. It was refreshing to see stories set in the real world, with realistic people facing realistic problems. Superb acting, characterisation and clever story-telling made this a marvellously engaging series. The best example of this was the role of Marker, brilliantly played by Alfred Burke.
Marker was a thoroughly decent man, struggling to earn a crust, regularly disillusioned by the tales of misery, dirt and deception he engaged in. Like many detectives he was a loner but not in the confrontational sense of many others. He did not allow closeness, but was not aggressive. He was sharp and socially skilled but did not have unblemished success. He could make mistakes. The best example of this was in "The Man Who Said Sorry". In this extraordinary episode, which is almost entirely a two-hander, Marker has a frustrating dialogue with a man (Paul Rogers) who threatens both suicide and the murder of his estranged sons. The man, dogged by self-pity and indecision, does not convince Marker who gives him little sympathy. Later Marker has doubts and hears the sirens that confirm his error - the man has thrown himself under a train. Unlike many other detectives Marker is sometimes the victim, including taking a terrible beating from some gangsters in "Nobody Wants To Know". His painful, self-pitying recovery is superbly documented. Despite this he doesn't shirk a case. The show ended in 1975. As a video series it is unlikely to be repeated, certainly on terrestrial television. However it won new admirers when broadcast on "UK Gold" some years ago and just possibly it may return again.
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