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Summary

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

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • Leigh on Sea, Essex, United Kingdom
  • 23-01-08

Classic Adams!

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.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tim
  • High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
  • 05-03-11

Dawkins' Favourite Book (Apparently)...

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...

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Starts ok and then started to lose me

What did you like best about Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dramatised)? What did you like least?

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

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

After such an enjoyable beginning and middle I was disappointed at the end

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Narration was good

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An enjoyable irreverent story.

This is a fun book, light hearted and silly. I'm not sure about the choice Enfield as Gently but he still does a good job, as does the rest of the cast.

Well worth a listen, it is compact and episodical so easy to squeeze into gaps. However, this does lack the descriptive depth of a full novel read and might not suit everyone's preference.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent.

Excellent book dramatised brilliantly, Harry Enfield is amazing as are the other cast. We'll worth a listen.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed it but didn't reach expectations.

Enjoyed it but the story didn't reach expectations. Production & multiple actors were v good.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Fiona
  • Oxfordshire
  • 28-04-18

Brilliant. Holistically.

Douglas Adams really was the master - clever, witty, funny, brilliantly observant, and uses words to paint such mind-glowingly exciting pictures.
So - it almost seems unnecessary to say this is brilliant - of course it is.
The story is wonderful, so unlikely, and hangs together with such style.
The cast are fabulous, the whole thing is just ... awe-inspiring.
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
(I enjoyed it!)

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Think an unabridged version would have been better

There wasn't an unabridged version available so I listened to this. It was good but I think I may have to get the book to see what I missed. Not 100% sure about the story although it was quite fun. I think, personally, I needed a bit more plot and a bit less randomness.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Dr Who like plot with a great cast

Any additional comments?

I found my way to this after seeing the BBC America series on Netflix. I absolutely adore Hitchikers so surprised it took me so long to get here.

Adams used to be a screenwriter for Doctor Who and it shows in this dramatisation. The monks could easily occupy a place in the Whoniverse.

Other reviewers have spoken about the confusion early on and this is true. several plot threads are cast out and take some time to be drawn together. However as they do and the inter connectivity becomes apparent it is a moment worth waiting for.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent. Adams delivered brilliantly. Loved it.

Rekindled my love of Adams again, after suffering the ignominy of Eion Colfers dreadful attempt to do a 6th hitchhiker. Thank you.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Hilary
  • 13-05-11

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.

30 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bradley
  • 29-11-07

Amazingly Absurd

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.

29 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas
  • 29-05-09

First rate

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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bryan J. Peterson
  • 11-02-09

Excellent!

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Elaine
  • 28-01-15

Interesting interpretation

I am a Douglas Adams fan, and enjoy it when his work is brought back to life. Listening to Billy Boyd play Richard is a wonderful bonus.

My hope is that someday there will also be an unabridged version of the original book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-08-10

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.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Roan
  • 16-05-13

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 10-01-15

person one: I WAS ONLY AMUSING MYSELF.

person two: IT'S GOOD YOU HAVE SUCH AN UNDEMANDING AUDIENCE.
When I was young I thought I had to read Douglas Adams, since he was so popular. I read every single book in the Hitch Hiker's series. To be honest, I never became a fan. I have found that when books are written with the sole purpose of being funny, that they are usually not funny. I love a book with funny parts in it, when you don't know they are coming and they are part of the story, but when every line is expected to get a laugh, I get bored.

I like dramatized books and thought I would give this a try, but even in this form I did not become a fan.

YOU MUST TELL ME THIS AGAIN, WHEN I'M INTERESTED

13 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • daryl storey
  • 07-08-18

a fun ride in syfy

a cast of interesting and ingaging charicters and a plot your never sure what the stakes are to the end. D. Adams in a master in his own right and this is a fun and enjoyable radio adaptation of of one of his science fiction classics

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sebastian
  • 03-04-18

Great but...

A wonderful dramatization. But I am taking a point off for the fact that they never made a full version of Hot Potato from the story. It's not as if they don't have the lyrics...