The Singing Detective

The Singing Detective

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Average of 323 ratings: 3.8 Stars

1986 M Suitable for mature audiences 16 years and over.

Many regard The Singing Detective as Dennis Potter's masterpiece, bringing together old and new themes in a murder mystery-musical-thriller-romance the like of which has not been seen before or since on television. Recognised as a seminal TV series, it was voted number 20 in the British Film Institutes all time top TV 100.

Incapacitated both physically and emotionally and trapped in his hospital bed, detective novel writer Philip Marlow escapes into his imagination, plotting out a murder tale in which he is both a big-band singer and a private eye. As fantasy and reality merge into one, his excruciating pain plays with the memories of a tormented childhood and sexual treachery in a tortuous session of self-analysis and personal discovery.

More movie details

457 minutes
Roadshow Entertainment
1987 BAFTA
British Academy Television Award for Best Actor: Michael Gambon

DVD details

Screen Format
1.33:1 Full Frame
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
  • The Singing Detective (1986) (Disc 1)
    Episodes 1 - 3

    Lovely Days

  • The Singing Detective (1986) (Disc 2)
    Episodes 4 - 6

    Pitter Patter
    Who Done It


10 Member Reviews Write a review

5 by zelda

I first saw this series when it first came out and thought it was the best Dennis Potter had written after 20 years it is still brillant it is sad that Dennis Potter is not here to write more nobody has replaced him he was a genius

4 by Diana22

Both discs in this series are brilliant, in the originality of the story, in the black humour, the drama, and the unusual bckground, a man with a terrible skin disease in a public hospital. Some of... Read more

4 by lorim

Very enjoyable to rewatch this series we loved the first time around in the 80's. Very clever and brilliant acting.

5 by Joy

Disc 3 is superfulous but Discs 1 & 2 the production is wonderful. We look forward to more of Dennis Potter (Pennies from Heaven).

5 by Annie Oakley

Just brilliant. Better watching the whole series at once too

5 by JoG

Not recommended for light viewing - particularly if you are expecting a musical version of Agatha Christie's Poirot - but this carefully crafted, insightful drama skillfully plays on reality and fiction... Read more

1 by Jabberwocky

How this series won an award and got 3 1/2 stars here is beyond me. If you liked the English Patient and want to watch something about 5 times more miserable then get this. Got 2 DVDs sent both back within 48 hours.

1 by Murl

I had expected this to be 'light' but was disappointed to find it quite morbid.

Also gruesome hospital scene of hideously burnt man having his dressings done.

5 by Ian

Creative & effortlessly, one is drawn into the disease of the Phillip Marlow, our link to the the mystery of the singing detective.

5 by vicjack

Fantastic series. Dennis Potters direction combined with fabulous dialogue means this is a must.

One for the collection.