1 9 6 5 – 1 9 7 5 (UK)
87 x 60 minute episodes
Sympathetically portrayed by Alfred Burke, poor old Frank Marker struggled to earn a living as a private eye and never made it to any locations more exotic than Birmingham or Brighton.
This was the realistic side of detective work, far removed from 77 Sunset Strip. Dressed in a shabby raincoat, Marker never carried a gun and usually operated from a tatty office where the rent was cheap.
His idea of a glamorous case was one where he made enough money to pay the electricity bill, and to him, a beautiful woman was one who didn’t take her teeth out at night.
It was rumoured that Marker only smiled at coronations, and his misery was compounded after 41 episodes when he was imprisoned after being framed and caught in possession of stolen jewellery.
Then fortune smiled on him as worried viewers made him cakes and sent socks and cigarette-papers. Public demand urged Marker’s release from jail, and he was let out of Ford Open Prison in Sussex on parole with full remission. The series switched from ABC to Thames Television and Marker relocated to Brighton to make a fresh start and build a new life.
The series remained true to its original concept for 10 years, although from the fourth season onwards a semi-regular coterie of characters passed through the production including Marker’s landlady Helen Mortimer (Pauline Delaney).
The fifth season saw the introduction of the longest-serving secondary character, Detective Inspector Percy Firbank (Ray Smith), who became interested in the private investigator when he moved once more into new premises in Windsor.
Their friendship was cut short when Marker finally relocated to Chertsey halfway through the show’s final season.
The final episode (‘Unlucky For Some’) aired in April 1975, and Marker hung up his dirty raincoat for good.
Mrs Helen Mortimer
DI Percy Firbank