I have not really got much to say about the film version of The Singing Detective, except that it feels bitty, as if it was badly edited from a longer piece of work. Which, of course, it is. It also seems oddly dated, part of the point in the TV series of the songs were that they were tied up with the adolescence of the Marlowe (here renamed atrociously Dan Dark) character. Here it seems highly unlikely that Robert Downey Jr would have any kind of history with a song like ‘At The Hop’ released ten years before his birth.

It is the regidity of sticking to the television format that cripples The Singing Detective film. The sets never really open out for the cinema, and a lot of what was rather daring on TV seems a touch dated. The idea we are drifting in and out of our leads mind is now not that unusual an idea. It was nicked in Chicago after all. The film therefore is not cinematic, and the sound quality of those original sfifteis songs certainly don’t help, sounding rather lost in a modern cinema sound system. Downey looks too young, and whilst he spits out the insults as well as Gambon did, the films speedy redemption of the lead removes what was so deliciously foul about Marlowe/Dark.

The most interesting moment is the very end, when after a film of lip-syncing, Downey comes on and does a Mike Yarwood on us. And this is me, he says as he croons rather well, but completely destroying any sense of ambiguity the film ended with. Potter never meant The Singing Detective to be a musical, and this film version is not sure. Much of this is Potter’s fault, he wrote the screenplay, he kept in the bits which no longer work. And oddly, the bits that work the least are the songs.