British Film

The thematic consistencies and use of his own life strengthens Potter's role as 'auteur'. But Graham Fuller points out, in Potter on Potter, "the word 'auteur' ... is clearly unhelpful". In Dennis Potter and the Question of the Television Author, Rosalind Coward argues that The Singing Detective undermines this by its use of genre, calling for a more textual analysis. She says, in analysing the series, "the links to be made with 'previous Dennis Potter productions' and with 'the life of Dennis Potter' are rather limiting. Much more important is an attention to the text which reveals very precisely the culminative impression of meaning formed by the juxtaposition of known film and television genres with each other". She goes on to say that genre marks the distinctions between fantasy and reality and that they become "harder and harder to maintain", and therefore, the meaning of the text lies mostly within the viewer's ability to recognise genre.

I disagree with this on two counts. Firstly, the use of genre is not simply for effect, it is an expression of the way Marlow thinks. All his fantasies are defined by noir stylistics, including the scenes with Finney and Nicola, these distinguish them from reality and flashback. It is not the viewer's interpretations of genre convention but the character's. Episode 1 begins in the noir fantasy and so establishes the conventions the viewer is to use, it doesn't rely on the viewer's learned experience. Any misinterpretation is not of the text but of the character.

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Dennis Potter - The Singing Detective
Dennis Potter - Detective
Dennis Potter - Marlow
Dennis Potter - Infirmity
Dennis Potter - Guilt
Dennis Potter - Sexuality
Dennis Potter - Auteur
Dennis Potter - Religion
Dennis Potter - Autobiography
Dennis Potter - Auteur
Dennis Potter - Other
Dennis Potter - Bibliography
Dennis Potter - Links
The Singing Detective