Harry Enfield and Billy Boyd star in a brand new, full-cast dramatisation of Douglas Adams' first Dirk Gently book, directed by the award-winning Dirk Maggs.
Dirk Gently has an unshakeable belief in the interconnectedness of all things, but his Holistic Detective Agency mainly succeeds in tracking down missing cats for old ladies. Then Dirk stumbles upon an old friend behaving bizarrely - and he's drawn into a four-billion-year-old mystery that must be solved if the human race is to avoid immediate extinction.
Harry Enfield stars as Douglas Adams' much-loved psychic sleuth, with Billy Boyd (The Lord of the Rings), Andrew Sachs (Fawlty Towers), Jim Carter (The Golden Compass), and Olivia Colman (Peepshow).
©1987 Douglas Adams; (P)2007 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
I bought this audiobook after missing the last couple of broadcast episodes whilst away in India and I'm so glad I did. The recording is superb on mp3 player - every little detail comes over clearly so you can pick up on all the little comments and nuances.The story twists and turns right to the end and keeps you totally interested and amused.This is radio comedy at it's best, not laugh out loud but absorbing and intelligent. Like the Hitchhikers Guides, this is an audiobook I look forward to coming back to many times.
Douglas Adams stands apart from other authors in having most of his books professionally dramatised. This book is no exception, although I found it was the one that eluded my attention the longest.
Starting off with a lot of confusion & seemingly jumbled information, I initially put it aside for 1 year or so thinking that it was a bad note in an otherwise flawless collection of work.
However, I gave it another go &, once you get beyond the first CD, the plot begins to make sense & you understand why the book was written in such a way.
The basic plot is that Richard McDuff is falsely accused of murder after his boss (Gordon Way) is slain outside his car. McDuff then teams up with Dirk Gently (an enigmatic friend from college who has mysterious abilities) in order to find evidence to clear his name.
So far, so predictable.
What really makes stands this audio book out from the average detective yarn is the science included throughout the plot & the interesting complexities created by the Holistic nature of the universe (e.g. the fundamental inter-connectedness of all things, combined with time travel, means that a completed version of Kublai Khan (by Samuel Taylor Coleridge) spells the end of the human race).
And I suppose this is why it is such a great book - the plot & the sheer strangeness of the material demand repeat listening/ reading & rewards such people with added insights into what is an astonishingly intricate & well written plot.
Add to this that the story has been fully dramatised, with a well picked cast (including Harry Enfield at his best in the role of Dirk Gently) & you will find a true treat waiting to be discovered.
Get beyond the complexities of Adams' most difficult work & the scientific insights are there for the taking...
The characters were good - I normally listen to audio books through my car stereo but found I had to use headphones to listen to this as I found I couldn't hear it properly so kept missing the plot - it started well but the story started to lose me new the end
After such an enjoyable beginning and middle I was disappointed at the end
Narration was good
Hilarious, entertaining, engrossing
Having watched the TV series and being a big Hitchhiker's fan, I have finally moved onto the Dirk Gently books. I loved this audiobook. It starts off rather haphazardly, but the beauty of it is how all the various strings come together at the end. I would recommend knowing a bit about Coleridge though to fully understand the ending.
It made me laugh out loud on the train - always a sign of a good book.
I read this book when it was first published and even then I didn't understand its conclusion, the audio version hasn't enlightened me but I'm prepared to give it a go.
A lovely production of high quality which we all come to expect from the BBC's treatments of Adams' work.
You grow to love Harry Enfield's portrayal of Gently and the supporting cast is superb, especially Olivia Colman as Janice, whose bitter displeasure at being Gently's employee brings some of the biggest laughs of the piece.
I've never been much for Adams' humour and this was - sadly - no exception. Treat it as sci-fi rather than sci-fi comedy and you can get a little out of it. But not much!
Though as a Whovian I was drawn to the references to the Dr Who episodes Shada and The City of Death so cunningly recycled into the narratives conclusion. But it was not enough to make it worth my while.
Top notch audio presentation, takes about 5 minutes to get rolling but once it goes it really moves. A three and a half hour presentation that sadly feels like a half hour due to the brisk pacing. Filled with great characters and they are voiced terrifically. The music fades in and out at all the right times and the sound effects overall are of the highest quality.
The story seems to duck and dodge common sense like a feather weight champion, never letting anything slow it down. If you have read or listened to any of the hitchhiker series you owe yourself this last treat of Douglas Adams delight. The only downside to this is you really start to wonder what other great unique works Douglas Adams could have written and produced if he hadn't left this world all to early.
"Excellent dramatisation but wish for unabridged"
I have now learned that I do not like dramatisations as, like another reviewer, I found all the background music and sound effects very distracting. But, having said that, I thought that as a dramatisation this production was excellent, the casting first class and the story great fun. It deserves its five stars.
Please audible could we have the whole "Hitch Hikers" and "Dirk Gently" read unabridged one day? This is a classic now from Douglas Adams, who set a whole new standard and style. and sadly we have so little of his work.
This is a wonderful rendering of Douglas Adams' novel. I'm listening to it in Enhanced Format, so the sound quality is quite good. The acting is first rate, as I've come to expect from BBC productions. I'm the proud owner of many Douglas Adams audio plays, including all the Hitchhiker's Guide radio plays, including Tertiary, Quandary and Quintessential. I never get tired of them, thanks to the quality of the productions (and Douglas Adams' great work). This was evidently done with loving care, directed by the talented Dirk Maggs, the same guy who did the most recent incarnations of Hitchhiker. The comedic timing, the music, the voice characterizations are all spot on. Billy Boyd (Pippin from Lord of the Rings) and Andrew Sachs (Manuel from Fawlty Towers) are perfect. Olivia Coleman as Janice Pearce is brilliant. And Harry Enfield in the title role really nails it. If you're a Douglas Adams fan, you will love this. I also purchased the other Dirk Gently audio play, The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul. Another must-have. Thanks, Audible, for the Enhanced Format, by the way. I've re-downloaded many purchases I've made over the years in this format, free of charge. For the sake of balance, I wish I could come up with one negative comment to make. I just can't think of one. Bravo.
"Great Book, don't get the dramatized version"
This dramatized version wasn't bad, just not that good. There was an excessive use of sound effects and this book needs more than just dialogue to follow the story.
I received the unabridged Douglas Adams narrated adaptation of this novel some years back and, while I thoroughly enjoyed the book I took issue with Adams' narration. Much of the humor was lost due to his general lack of expression. This BBC version, released folloing his death, is excellently done. Billy Boyd's portrayal of Richard MacDuff was just about what I would have imagined. Harry Enfield is excellent as Dirk, but I particularly liked the urgent yet sinister portrayal of Michael Wenton-Weakes and the ghost. And of course we mustn't forget Toby Longworth as the earnest and utterly whacky electric monk. In short I've rarely laughed as much or as hard as I did while listening to this.
If you like Douglas Adams' writing, storytelling, and subtly, don't bother. I didn't want the abridged book, so I chose this. Little did I know dramatized meant it was like listening to a stage performance. I thought maybe it was a narrator with different voices playing the dialog. Wrong. The narration is gone, which is much of the enjoyable part. The sound effects, what I will call background noise, is distracting. This is almost, but not entirely unlike a complete waste of time.
"Learned I Don't Like Dramatized Versions"
I read this book many years ago and thought my son and I would listen to it on one of our long drives over the summer. I sadly discovered that the dramatized version was not entirely true to the storyline I recall from the book. I have to say I enjoyed reading this book much more than listening to this version.
"If you liked the HHGttG movie ..."
In much the same way as the HHGttG movie they pulled in bits from the other Dirk Genty book for no apparent reason. In several places you get the impression you are listening to a video struggling to figure out what a noise is or what they are talking about. In other places characters are given odd bits of dialog to avoid using a narrator.
The original story is a classic must read. Note listening to the lost Doctor Who episode Shada will give you a LOT of back story on the professor. That is what prompted me this, the longest version available here.
There isn't one. Having one would have helped. Actors were good.
Miss Pierce who is really from the second book.
The bits in this version that are not in the abridged versions here seem to bit all pulled from the second book which are mainly lost on anyone that has not already read the second book (Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul). Get the unabridged if it ever comes available but till then stick with the abridged version.
"How Very Unfortunate"
I'm not sure who would enjoy this, it is a very bad re-production of a great book. I would say read the book and avoid this dramatized version, I bought it by mistake, if I could I would get my money back,
Yes, if it was word for word.
It was acted badly, period. The episodes repeated the same credits over and over.
I cant think of anything that redeemed this book at all.
Buy the real book, or get an actual audio book that is read verbatum, this is a bad re-production that took away from the fantastic original and replaced it with unfunny repetitive boredom. This is the one book I wood like a refund for.
"Funny and Inteligent."
If you are a fan of the Author, its mandatory that you listen to this book!! Great Narration!!
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