Review of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency RADIO DRAMA

SFFaudio Review

Radio Drama - Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective AgencyDirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
By Douglas Adams; Performed by a full cast
3 CDs – 3 hours [RADIO DRAMA]
Publisher: BBC AUDIO
Published: 2007
ISBN: 1405677430
Themes: / Science Fiction / Fantasy / Comedy / Mystery / Physics / Music /

Most people think of the more famous The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy when they think of Douglas Adams, but in some ways I prefer his Dirk Gently series because of its more coherent plot and wide-ranging discussions. Of course it is still mainly a rather absurd (but still clever) comedy with a number of sci-fi/fantasy elements and still finds time to explore such diverse subjects as quantum physics, Coleridge’s poetry, computing and Bach. In fact it is described on the book cover as a “thumping good detective-ghost-horror-whodunnit-time-travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic”.

The story revolves around Richard McDuff who finds himself accused of murdering his boss and seeks help from his old friend Dirk Gently who runs what he calls a “holistic detective” agency. As the investigation unravels events become increasingly strange with ghosts, time travel and an electric monk, but Dirk is convinced of the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things” and is therefore confident of finding the answer.

This drama is directed by the talented Dirk Maggs (who also directed many of the Hitch-Hiker’s radio dramas) and has many well-known British actors. I was a little unsure about the casting of Harry Enfield as Dirk, but he was very good in the part, as was the rest of the cast. For those who are familiar with the novel be warned, there have been a number of changes made, both structurally and in various details – I thought that it was all in keeping with the spirit of the book, but purists may be disappointed. The ending does feel rather rushed and not fully explained (maybe because of time restraints), which may be a bit may be a bit confusing for those who don’t know the story. On the whole though, this is an enjoyable adaptation of a great and much missed author.

Posted by Laura

[editor’s note – This is the first post by our new reviewer Laura, a British expat living in the USA. She comes to us from her Audio Drama Blog, a visit to which will find you returning to again and again, like a moth to a very yummy flame. Moths do like the taste of flames right?]

6 thoughts to “Review of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency RADIO DRAMA”

  1. I heard this when it broadcast on Radio 4 a couple of months go. Excellent stuff, well worth listening to more than once. The casting of Harry Enfield as Dirk Gently was a master-stroke.

  2. I listened to the first two episodes using the Radio 4 listen again feature, capturing and re-encoding the tracks to mp3 format so I could listen to them on my iPod. Unfortunately, I then missed the rest of the show and was wondering when they would be available for sale. Unfortunately, the BBC online shop won’t ship to the US. Any idea when and where it will be distributed to the states?

  3. Yes I heard it on Radio 4 as well – I guess they’ll be repeating it again sometime as well.

    Brad (and other US listeners) it’s available from as well and they ship to the US. Hopefully it’ll make its way to an American distributor at some point as well.

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