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?]

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency to air next week

Online Audio

Online AudioPaul S. Jenkins, host of the The Rev Up Review podcast and author of The Plitone Revisionist podiobook writes in to say: “BBC Radio 4 begins a dramatisation in 6 half-hour parts of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, starring Harry Enfield [next week]” and that “there’s a big spread in next week’s Radio Times.” Paul goes on to say that “the episodes should be streamed live from the Radio 4 website, and should also be available for six days after transmission via the ‘listen again’ service.” Thanks Paul!

Here’s a pic of the assembled cast:

The cast of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective AgencyDirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Based on the novel by Douglas Adams; Performed by a full cast
6 Episodes of 30 minutes each – 180 minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcast Begins: Wed. October 3rd 2007 @ 6:30 pm (GMT +0100)
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
“Dirk Gently has an unshakeable belief in the interconnectedness of all things but his Holistic Detective Agency’s only success seems to be tracking down missing cats for old ladies. Then Dirk stumbles upon an old friend behaving bizarrely, and he is drawn into a four-billion year old mystery that must be solved if the human race is to avoid immediate extinction.”

Have a listen to the audio trailer for the show |MP3|!

BBC Radio announces Dirk Gently radio drama cast

SFFaudio News

Online AudioHarry Enfield as Dirk GentlyBack in March we told you about the three new Douglas Adams radio series that will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4, beginning with Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency in October 2007. We now have more info, English comedian Harry Enfield will be starring as the series lead, Dirk Gently, in the upcoming trilogy of radio dramas adapting the Adam’s series of Fantasy / Comedy / Mystery novels. The complete cast list and more details can be found HERE.

Dirk Maggs and BBC Audiobooks UK to venture into Podcasting in 2007

SFFaudio News

Podcast - Perfectly Normal ProductionsThis should raise an interested eyebrow! It seems that BBC Audiobooks (UK), has made a deal with Radio Drama legend Dirk Maggs, and crew at the newly formed Perfectly Normal Productions to create “compelling, high quality audio entertainment for bite-size delivery direct to home computers, portable media players and mobile phones.” In other words, podcasts!

Dirk Maggs sez: “Podcasting should be so much more than a platform for stand up comedy and audio diarists. Video on a handheld devices will never rival the storytelling experience of a big screen. But we can fill the gap. In our hands mobile entertainment bypasses the optic nerve and hotwires the imagination, with a widescreen experience you can enjoy anywhere – in the car, the train, or on the sofa with your eyes shut.”

Perfectly Normal Productions‘ initial focus will be on original material by leading Science Fiction and graphic novel authors of today, mixed with “much-loved titles including cult British comic characters” such as The Steel Claw. Also resurrected in a new series of tongue-in-cheek adventures will be the legendary British detective Sexton Blake, featuring Simon Jones, the star of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

The releases are planned to start sometime in 2007.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Tertiary Phase Wins Audiobook of the Year

SFFaudio News

Science Fiction Audio Drama - The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Tertiary PhaseThis just in – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Tertiary Phase was named the Audiobook of the Year by the Audio Publisher’s Association at this weekend’s Audie Awards! Congratulations to adapter/director Dirk Maggs and everyone involved with it. It’s fantastic to see a science fiction audio drama win this award. See the SFFaudio review of this title here.

In a tough Science Fiction category, the winner was Market Forces by Richard K. Morgan. Find the SFFaudio review here.

Genre winners in other categories:

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, read by Jim Dale, Listening Library

Children’s Titles for Ages 8+
The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson, read by Patricia Conolly, Recorded Books

Solo Narration – Female
Davina Porter for A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

Audio Drama
The Sherlock Holmes Theatre by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, performed by a cast, produced by Yuri Rasovsky, Blackstone Audio
ed – OK, this may not technically be a genre title, but most SF fans like Holmes, and Yuri Rasovsky has genre ties, including the excellent 2000X series.

Achievement in Production
At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald, performed by a cast, Focus on the Family

Not a bad genre showing! Find the complete list of winners and nominees at Unfortunately, the website is a little cryptic as of this writing – to see the winners and nominees, you’ve got to download a 6Mb PDF file that is titled “The Audies Sampler”. If I can find a clean HTML list, I’ll let you know.