directed by Jon Amiel
UK / Australia 1986

"The Singing Detective is remarkable for its strong writing and strong performances - it is superb. The plot twists and turns as we slip into and out of reality - we enter the pages of one of Marlowe's pulp novels, and his childhood in the English countryside at the end of WW2. The mood is perfectly matched by the choice of music and the sets - there is a surreal seediness about the whole thing as Marlowe battles with his illness - best exemplified by Patrick Malahide's performance - he is so slimey and such a cad. This is quite simply the best series I have ever seen on TV - 15 years on and I am still waiting for something to match it."

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DVD Review: Warner/BBC  Region 1 DVD

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Distribution Warner Brothers  Region 1 - NTSC
Region 1 ( North America only )
Runtime 3:20:24 (one disc)
Video 1.33:1.00 Original Aspect Ratio - Television Standard
Average Bitrate: 5.17 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
Bitrate: Criterion 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video
Theatrical Release Date: January 1, 1986
Edition Details:

• Commentary by director Jon Amiel and producer Kenith Trodd
• "Dennis Potter: Under the Skin," an exclusive documentary Widescreen anamorphic (39:06)
• A rarely seen interview with author Dennis Potter (9:56)
• Four-page booklet with a new article by critic David Bianculli
• Photo gallery (33 Stills)
• "Points-of-View" (5:02)
• Number of discs: 3
DVD Release Date: April 15th, 2003
Box Set
Chapters: 6 chapters per episode

Fairly disappointing on the image quality front. I would compare it to "Ripping Yarns", also a BBC Television series transferred to DVD. I doubt any negative comments will deter hardcore fans of this purchase, but those on the fence might decide to pass. That would be a shame as they might miss some classic television often considered the best ever made.


The image is soft and very washed out. No effort has been put into these DVD in that area. I am unfamiliar with the source material that was used but I'll wager it is no where near the caliber of say 'The Sopranos' or other modern productions. On the positive side, there are some nice extras and interviews with Dennis Potter. I found the price quite reasonable for a three disc box-set. The sound was also a bit faded , but they have included English subtitles for the those unable to decipher the British accent which can lay heavily on the production at times.  

Gary W. Tooze

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Click to order from:

Distribution Warner Brothers  Region 1 - NTSC
Region 1 ( North America only )

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