The thematic consistencies and use of his
own life strengthens Potter's role
as 'auteur'. But Graham Fuller points out, in
Potter on Potter, "the word 'auteur' ...
is clearly unhelpful".
In Dennis Potter and the Question of the Television Author,
argues that The Singing Detective undermines this by its use of genre, calling
for a more textual analysis. She says, in analysing the series, "the links to be
made with 'previous Dennis Potter productions' and with 'the life of Dennis
Potter' are rather limiting. Much more important is an attention to the text
which reveals very precisely the culminative impression of meaning formed by the
juxtaposition of known film and television genres with each other". She goes on
to say that genre marks the distinctions between fantasy and reality and that
they become "harder and harder to maintain", and therefore, the meaning of the
text lies mostly within the viewer's ability to recognise genre.
I disagree with this on two counts. Firstly, the use of genre is not simply
for effect, it is an expression of the way Marlow thinks.
All his fantasies are
defined by noir stylistics, including the scenes with Finney and Nicola, these
distinguish them from reality and flashback. It is not the viewer's
interpretations of genre convention but the character's. Episode 1 begins in the
noir fantasy and so establishes the conventions the viewer is to use, it doesn't
rely on the viewer's learned experience. Any misinterpretation is not of the
text but of the character.