Dirk Gently: Review: Series 1 Episode 1 (spoiler-free review)

BBC Four, March 5

What connects a conspiracy theorist, a very accurate horoscope and some squeaky toys? Only Dirk Gently knows…

If nothing else, this new BBC Four adventure for Douglas Adams’s holistic detective will keep a smile on your face, partly because you can’t quite believe that anyone can be as idiotic as Dirk appears to be, as unlucky as his assistant partner Macduff regularly is, or as able to get into ludicrous situations as the pair of them.

Since this is the first of a three-part story, it’s not surprising that not all the interconnectedness is revealed, although enough elements are resolved for audiences tuning in just for this instalment.

Stephen Mangan and Darren Boyd make a cracking team, with both given plenty to do in Howard Overman’s clever script. The Misfits maestro preserves much of the essence of Douglas Adams’s creation without being hidebound by the rules that Adams set up in his books (which, Adams being Adams, he would cheerfully have ignored if there were sufficient reason anyway).

Those who didn’t warm to Mangan’s portrayal in the pilot probably won’t regard this any more sympathetically, but with this and the book release of Shada this month, “pseudo-Adams” is getting a good exposure which will hopefully lead to a resurgence of interest in Adams’s own books.  7/10

Paul Simpson

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