The Singing Detective

Crime | Drama

BBC One (UK)



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The Singing Detective was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC1 in 1986 on Sunday nights from 16 November to 21 December with later PBS and cable television showings in the United States. Mystery writer Philip E. Marlow is suffering writer's block and is hospitalised because his psoriatic arthropathy, a chronic skin and joint disease, is at an acute stage forming lesions and sores over his entire body, and partially cripples his hands and feet. As a result of constant pain, a fever caused by the condition, and his refusal to take medication, Marlow falls into a fantasy world involving his Chandleresque novel, The Singing Detective, an escapist adventure about a detective (also named "Philip Marlow") who sings at a dance hall and takes the jobs "the guys who don't sing" won't take.

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S1E4 - Clues

Marlow as a child visits London, but is not impressed. A film option on Marlow's novel thickens the plot. His memories, his 30s style gumshoe fiction and his disease weave him an altered reality.

Air Date: 07 Dec 1986 15:00 (CDT)

S1E5 - Pitter Patter

Marlow is getting better and the different strands of his fiction and reality begin to occupy the same time and place.

Air Date: 14 Dec 1986 15:05 (CDT)

S1E6 - Who Done It

The young Philip Marlow returns to the country railway station following his mother's death in London. Forty years on, Marlow the hospital patient still dreams about the homecoming and the frightening figure of the scarecrow that now erupts into the ward.

Air Date: 21 Dec 1986 15:05 (CDT)