• 81%
    13 votes
  • Rate this show
    What did you think?
PosterA372f5e8a6

The Singing Detective 1986

  • 1986-12-21T00:00:00Z
  • BBC One
  • 1986-11-01T08:00:00Z
  • 70 mins
  • 7 hours, 0 mins
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • Drama
The best-known work of celebrated TV dramatist Dennis Potter, The Singing Detective is actually the second of a trilogy of series by Potter using the device of lip-synching to well-known recordings of popular music. The first, set in the 1930s, was Pennies from Heaven (1978), the third, set during the 1956 Suez Crisis, was Lipstick on Your Collar (1993). The Singing Detective focusses musically on the 1940s. (Much earlier, Potter had briefly used lip-synching in his 1969 play for ITV, Moonlight on the Highway.) There are four mutually interfering narrative strands in The Singing Detective. First is the hospital-ward story, described by Potter as a "sitcom", which owes a certain debt to an earlier play, Emergency--Ward 9 (itself a satirical reaction to the popular hospital soap opera of that time, Emergency--Ward 10, which Potter had watched while hospitalised, like his protagonist Philip Marlow, with a flareup of psoriatic arthropathy). Second is the detective story being created mentally by the protagonist, Philip Marlow, as he lies helpless in his hospital bed. The third strand consists of flashbacks to Marlow's childhood in the Forest of Dean, and the traumatic experience of witnessing his mother's infidelity one day in the woods, combined with guilt over her later suicide in London. The fourth strand concerns Philip's ex-wife, Nicola, whom he imagines is conspiring with a shady film producer to bilk him out of film rights to his novel.

Recent episodes

Actors

1 season

Comments
All 1 Comment

The plot moves on 3 different levels and they're all connected, which requires the viewer to pay attention constantly. It's a bit daunting at first but once you start seeing the parallels it becomes such a rewarding experience. This is experimental '80s british television at its best.

Also, young Joanne Whalley is hawt!

I watched this right after watching Edge of Darkness (1985), which she starred in, and boy she was a sight for sore eyes in both shows.

loading replies

If you like The Singing Detective, check out...

Loading...