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Dirk Gently (BBC-4 2010-2012, Stephen Mangan, Helen Baxendale)

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Douglas Adams’ much loved non hitch-hikers hero Dirk Gently finally gets the TV adaptation treatment. First published in 1987 and previously adapted for Radio in 2007 (with Harry Enfield in the lead) Dirk Gently rose from the ashes of an infamous unfinished Doctor Who story called Shada (which was hit by a technicians strike and only a few exterior scenes filmed) and is the fabulous genre crossing tale of anti-hero Dirk who runs a kind of private detective agency despite most people assuming he is either a conman or homeless!

The plot kicks off with Dirk being asked to find a missing cat for an elderly lady only to stumble on to a double murder scene and uncovers the fact that for some people time travel is a reality.

With it’s Electric Monks, copious amounts of time travel and disctinctly all over the place plot Dirk Gently, is not an easy book to adapt (after all the book described itself as a ‘thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic’) but it was handled well and simply too by jettonising all the other world stuff and concentrating on the mystery time-travel angle and you’d have to say Mangan is a great choice for the role, he is quite adept at mixing the smart/stupid angle.

Howard Overman, who has penned the adaptation, is definitely one of the rising stars on the scene at the moment.

There was a 60 minute pilot broadcast in 2011 before a three part series followed in 2012. It was an entertaining enough series but in no way compares to the sheer mentalness of the BBC America version.

production details
UK | BBC Four | 4×60 minutes | Pilot: 16 December 2010 and Series: 5-19 March 2012

Creator: Douglas Adams
Writer: Howard Overman
Executive Producers: Saurabh Kakkar, Eleanor Moran, Jamie Laurenson

cast
Stephen Mangan as Dirk Gently
Helen Baxendale as Susan Harmison
Doreen Mantle as Ruth Jordan
Darren Boyd as Richard Macduff
Lisa Jackson as Janice Pearce
Jason Watkins as DI Gilks

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