Frank Marker
Created by Roger Marshall & Anthony Marriott

Forget drop dead cool two-fisted square-jawed American TV eyes with their shiny sports cars and bikinied secretaries -- FRANK MARKER was the real deal, about as hip as a cup of tea. He was also one of the greatest of all the television eyes, right up there with Jim Rockford, Peter Gunn and Harry O.

Public Eye was a much-beloved British television series featuring Alfred Burke as Marker, a rather scruffy, down at the heels middle-aged London private eye whose inherent decency never seemed to thwart the bad luck that constantly plagued him.

Poor Frank. It wasn't enough he worked out of a dingy little office, that he was a desperately lonely man, or that neither the criminals or police he was frequently in contact with completely trusted him -- it seemed he was always being shuffled from one place to another. From London, he moved to Birmingham, where he had an office over a lumberyard, and finally, in the last episode of the third season, "Cross That Palm When We Come To It," he was arrested and sent to prison for two and a half years for being in possession of stolen jewellery. Of course, he wasn't guilty, but that didn't seem to matter.

Upon his eventual release from prison (the beginning of season four), Frank moved to Brighton. He also discovered, that while he was up the river, that there had been some drastic changes behind the scenes --- the show's original production company, ABC, had merged with Associated-Rediffusion to form Thames Productions, and several changes were made to the show.

Besides the change of location to Brighton (and later, Windsor), several other actors joined the cast. The loner private inquiry agent was suddenly not so alone -- he was frequently joined by Mrs. Helen Mortimer, his landlady, Jim Hull, his probation officer, and Detective Inspector Percy Firbank, a police contact who eventually became a true rarity in Marker's world -- a friend.

The show is much praised for its solid writing and character-driven plots, its gritty but down-to-earth vibe, and particularly, the performance of Alfred Burke, who managed to capture Marker's innate integrity and goodness.




Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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