The pleasure of immersion: Some thoughts on how The Singing Detective sustains narrative | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 4, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1759-7137
  • E-ISSN: 1759-7145



This article argues that while Dennis Potter’s television drama series The Singing Detective is commonly celebrated for its multi-layered narrative and the post-modern way that it played with genre, another of its critical features has remained relatively neglected: the sustained narrative pleasure that it afforded. It suggests that Potter allowed viewers the deep immersive experience of realist TV drama and storytelling, even while he was experimenting with narrative, so providing a bridge between modernist and traditional forms, and rewarding viewers (who had to try and integrate the series’ different fragments and layers into some sort of quasi-cohesive narrative) with abundant dramatic gratification. Narrative, it claims, is not effaced, only displaced, partly onto the central character of Marlow, whose subjectivity unifies the fragmented narrative. Potter broke radically with the conventions of TV medical drama, and the painful experience of Marlow-as-patient acts as another binding agent.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): immersion; medical drama; narrative; The Singing Detective
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