Synopsis by Hal Erickson
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.
disease, drowning, fantasy, investigation, private-detective, reality, writing
High Artistic Quality, High Historical Importance, High Production Values