The Singing DetectiveDirector: Jon Amiel
With the notable exception of Pennies From Heaven, The Singing Detective was the best-known TV miniseries project of the iconoclastic, darkly humored Dennis Potter. A reworking of Potter's first novel Hide and Seek, the six-part series starred Michael Gambon as crime novelist Philip E. Marlow. Suffering from a hellish skin-and-nerve disease called psoriatic arthroparthy (a painful infliction which ultimately killed the real-life Potter), Marlow was confined to a hospital bed, where under the influence of numerous prescription drugs he began to imagine himself as the hard-boiled hero of his latest detective novel. While trying to solve a difficult case, Marlow continually drifted backward in time to his childhood in the Forest of Dean, occasionally bursting into song to express his emotions. As fantasy and reality merged into one, Marlow was forced into a tortuous session of self-analysis and personal discovery. Virtually everyone in the cast was seen in double and triple roles, including nominal leading ladies Alison Steadman and Joanne Whalley (aka Joanne Whalley-Kilmer). The series earned two BAFTA awards (the British equivalent of the Emmys), one for Best Actor to Michael Gambon. After its initial BBC1 run from November 16, to December 21, 1986, The Singing Detective was shown in the United States via public and cable television, where it picked up another award, the prestigious Peabody, in 1989.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Bbc Warner
Cast & Crew
|Michael Gambon||Philip Marlow|
|Patrick Malahide||Mark Binney / Finney / Raymond|
|Alison Steadman||Lili,Mrs. Marlow|
|Jim Carter||Mr. Marlow|
|Bill Paterson||Dr. Gibbon|
|Joanne Whalley||Nurse Mills|
|Imelda Staunton||Nurse White|
|David Ryall||Mr. Hall|
|Leslie French||Mr. Tomkey|
|Ron Cook||First Mysterious Man|
|George Rossi||Second Mysterious Man|
|David Thewlis||Second Soldier|
|Rick McCallum||Executive Producer|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This is an absolutely brilliant work of drama -- it works on so many levels and is so engrossing and unique. I agree with the reviewers who call it a masterpiece. With all due respect, the reviewer who this give 1-star and complained that the music was a "non sequiter" and such is being downright foolish. This is a sophisticated piece of work, and the point of view constantly shifts between the present reality, flashbacks which may or may not be real, and a fantasy world inside the protagonist's head (but acted out on screen).
Imaginative, moving, funny, profound, multi-layered and endlessly fascinating - the greatest drama ever created for the television medium. And not only for Dennis Potter's script, but also because of the wonderful realisation of it by director Jon Amiel and producer Kenith Trodd. Seeing this when first broadcast in 1986 was a privilege akin to being present at the premiere of a Shakespeare play. Its release on DVD is long overdue - now let's have the rest of Potter's work on DVD, please.
A groundbreaking series that transcends genre. At once a psychological thriller that questions the boundaries between the unconscious and reality, a hilarious critique of medicine, a spoof of film noir, and a one-of-a-kind musical. There has been nothing like it before or since. Outstanding performances from Michael Gambon, as well as the "who's who" of British acting in other roles. Bravi!
Yes there is singing in this show but it is a non sequiter. I managed to get half way through only one of three disks in this DVD set before abandoning all hope. You will like this show if you enjoy a pointless story with endless scatological language, blasphemy, and all manner of voyeurism. There is seemingly no plot, just the vehicle of a cranky bedridden mystery writer and his pornographic imagination. This is the worst value I have ever received for my entertainment dollar.