Although best known for his Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy novels, Douglas Adams wrote a number of stories featuring Dirk Gently, a highly unusual sort of detective who could see the interconnectedness between all things. Misfits and Merlin writer Howard Overman has taken Adams’s character (as well as a number of other elements from the stories) to create a new tale that very definitely is unlike any detective story you’ve seen before.
Stephen Mangan is perfectly cast as Gently, combining the manic energy, verbal diarrhoea and general air of slight untrustworthiness that is required, with Darren Boyd and Helen Baxendale acting suitably bemused, angered or confused as his foils.
Overman captures the esoteric nature of Dirk’s deductions, and there’s a suitably ‘out of left field’ solution to the problem. For those complaining that this isn’t a straight adaptation of the novels, keep an eye on Dirk’s whiteboard and the different newspaper headlines– he’s obviously dealt with a number of the events that feature in the books already, thereby avoiding the cost of the BBC trying to envisage Electric Monks or put horses in Cambridge university bathrooms!
Verdict: A terrific blend of comedy, drama and a hint of otherworldliness. 8/10