British Film

A notion that is explored for the first time is that of authorship. In Potter's 1973 novel Hide and Seek he has a character that becomes aware that he is fictional, The Singing Detective was the first of his dramas to examine the interplay between fiction, reality and representation, which would become major themes in some of his post-Detective work. The idea of Marlow's journey to wholeness, physically and mentally, is equated with the process of writing a novel. We can see through Marlow's irregular fantasies, and his overactive imagination as a child (the scarecrow imagined as Hitler in Episode 3), that we should be suspicious of him as a narrator, despite the detective's catch phrase of "am I right or am I right?" In the word association game "writer" precedes "liar". The idea of unreliable (and unwanted) memories being plundered and misinterpreted was the central theme of Cold Lazarus(1996). Dr. Gibbons reads 'The Singing Detective' as preparation for his psychoanalysis of Marlow and it is through his mental reworking of the novel that Marlow is cured. Toying with the notion of 'the author' pre-empted the authorship debate around Potter. Marlow has paranoid fantasies about Finney and Nicola plagiarising his work, plagiarism as a theme is continued in Karaoke(1996). In Episode 5, the two hoods from the detective story make the transition into Marlow's reality, they are seen by and interact with other characters; Nicola and Nurse mills. They want to meet their author to question their representation in the novel, they discover they haven't been given names, "we're padding", one of them says. Questions of representation was a theme taken up by Blackeyes(1987). In Episode 6, the detective Marlow enters the reality of the patient Marlow in pursuit of the two hoods. Instead of killing them he kills his author, Marlow. This is the final stage in Marlow's recovery, when he leaves the hospital with Nicola he has 'become' the singing detective.

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