8.7/10
3,798
47 user 15 critic

The Singing Detective 

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

On Disc

at Amazon

Episodes

Seasons


Years



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

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

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
Comedy | Crime | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

From his hospital bed, a writer suffering from a skin disease hallucinates musical numbers and paranoid plots.

Director: Keith Gordon
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Robin Wright, Mel Gibson
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
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
Our Friends in the North (TV Mini-Series 1996)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 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
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

The murder of a Soviet defector forces his old handler, British spymaster George Smiley, out of retirement. His investigation leads to an old nemesis, the Soviet spymaster known only as Karla. This will be their final dance.

Stars: Alec Guinness, Eileen Atkins, Bill Paterson
Boys from the Blackstuff (TV Mini-Series 1982)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

Five unemployed men would do anything just to have a job in Thatcher's Britain.

Stars: Michael Angelis, Bernard Hill, Alan Igbon
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Biopic of RAF Group Captain Douglas Bader who, after having lost both legs, flew a British fighter plane during WW2.

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Kenneth More, Muriel Pavlow, Lyndon Brook
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Christopher, fifteen years old, has an extraordinary brain - exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion of killing Mrs Shears' dog ... See full summary »

Director: Nick Wickham
Stars: Luke Treadaway, Niamh Cusack, Paul Ritter
A History of Britain (2000–2002)
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A comprehensive historical survey of the British Isles.

Stars: Simon Schama, Michael Kitchen, Samuel West
Edit

Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Michael Gambon ...  Philip Marlow 6 episodes, 1986
Patrick Malahide ...  Mark Binney / ... 6 episodes, 1986
Joanne Whalley ...  Nurse Mills 6 episodes, 1986
David Ryall ...  Mr. Hall 6 episodes, 1986
Gerard Horan Gerard Horan ...  Reginald 6 episodes, 1986
Leslie French Leslie French ...  Mr. Tomkey / ... 6 episodes, 1986
Ron Cook ...  First Mysterious Man 6 episodes, 1986
George Rossi ...  Second Mysterious Man 6 episodes, 1986
Sharon D. Clarke ...  Night Nurse 6 episodes, 1986
Lyndon Davies Lyndon Davies ...  Philip (aged 10) 6 episodes, 1986
Geff Francis Geff Francis ...  Porter 6 episodes, 1986
Janet Suzman ...  Nicola 5 episodes, 1986
Alison Steadman ...  Mrs. Marlow / ... 5 episodes, 1986
Jim Carter ...  Mr. Marlow 5 episodes, 1986
Imelda Staunton ...  Staff Nurse White 5 episodes, 1986
Janet Henfrey Janet Henfrey ...  Schoolteacher 5 episodes, 1986
Bill Paterson ...  Dr. Gibbon 4 episodes, 1986
William Speakman William Speakman ...  Mark Binney (aged 10) / ... 4 episodes, 1986
Simon Chandler ...  Dr. Finlay 4 episodes, 1986
Charles Simon Charles Simon ...  George Adams 4 episodes, 1986
Wally Thomas ...  Grandad Baxter 3 episodes, 1986
Kate McKenzie Kate McKenzie ...  Sonia 3 episodes, 1986
Trevor Cooper ...  Cloth Cap / ... 3 episodes, 1986
Charon Bourke Charon Bourke ...  Amanda 2 episodes, 1986
Mary MacLeod Mary MacLeod ...  Sister Malone 2 episodes, 1986
Thomas Wheatley Thomas Wheatley ...  Registrar 2 episodes, 1986
Ken Stott ...  Uncle John 2 episodes, 1986
Jo Cameron Brown ...  Aunt Emily 2 episodes, 1986
Niven Boyd Niven Boyd ...  First Soldier 2 episodes, 1986
Angela Curran Angela Curran ...  Mary 2 episodes, 1986
David Thewlis ...  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:

Australia | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 November 1986 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Az éneklő detektív See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(6 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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

Philip E. Marlow: I've not seriously doubted since that afternoon that any lie will receive almost instant corroboration, and almost instant collaboration, if the maintenance of it results in the public enjoyment of someone else's pain, someone else's humiliation.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gilmore Girls: Teach Me Tonight (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

 
Brilliant psychological drama
18 June 2001 | by adam_12See 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!


16 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 47 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed