From The Journal Of Screenwriting V4 Issue 3: ‘Message for Posterity’: The Singing Detective (1986) 25 years on by John R. Cook

Highlighting the articles in the past editions of the Journal of Screenwriting, of which I am the Book Reviews Editor. Hopefully these abstracts will entice you to did a little deeper into the history and future of screenwriting. — Rosanne


‘Message for Posterity’: The Singing Detective (1986) 25 years on by John R. Cook

This article offers a reappraisal of Dennis Potter’s television script for The Singing Detective (BBC, 1986) in the 25th anniversary period of the production’s first broadcast. The article reviews the history of the author’s intellectual engagement with The Singing Detective – of what it meant to him then, when he first saw the production in 1986 and of what it means to him now. It discusses the relationship of The Singing Detective to literary modernism, particularly James Joyce’s novel, Ulysses published in 1922. It examines debates on whether Potter is a postmodern writer and also explores the relationship of The Singing Detective to psychoanalysis. It concludes by arguing that Potter’s TV screenplay for The Singing Detective is best seen as a religious work in which spirituality is redefined as the capacity for human beings to reshape their own reality. In this lies Potter’s Christian optimism and The Singing Detective stands as his message for posterity in this regard.

From The Journal Of Screenwriting V4 Issue 3: ‘Message for Posterity’: The Singing Detective (1986) 25 years on by John R. Cook


Journal of Screenwriting Cover

The Journal of Screenwriting is an international double-blind peer-reviewed journal that is published three times a year. The journal highlights current academic and professional thinking about the screenplay and intends to promote, stimulate and bring together current research and contemporary debates around the screenplay whilst encouraging groundbreaking research in an international arena. The journal is discursive, critical, rigorous and engages with issues in a dynamic and developing field, linking academic theory to screenwriting practice. 

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