In a distant galaxy, an electronic monk begins to malfunction. On Earth, businessman Gordon Way, rambling on and on to his sister Susan’s answering machine, hears a noise in the trunk of his car. When he goes back to check, he is shot dead. Computer programmer Richard MacDuff, who works for Gordon and is dating Susan, thinks he sees Gordon as he is heading home following his attendance at a gathering at his old college. After being stopped by a policeman, he realizes that he has promised Susan in a phone message to take her somewhere, but can’t possibly do it because of all the work he needs to finish for Gordon. He decides to break into Susan’s apartment to delete his message and his entry is observed by private detective Dirk Gently, hired by Gordon to watch Richard’s movements. Once inside, Richard is unable to delete the message before Susan returns because he recieves a call from Gently, who points out his many housebreaking mistakes and offers to help Richard. When Susan does show up, in the company of magazine publisher Michael Wenton-Weakes, they have words, but Micahel soon leaves. Richard recounts his very odd evening with his old tutor, Professor Chronotis, who talked of odd things, such as George III’s obsession with with the passage of time, and had a horse in his bathtub. The next day, Richard is the primary suspect for Gordon’s murder, a fact he learns when he goes to visit Gently in Dirk’s office. Dirk suggests that Richard’s one course of action is hypnotism…
Cast: Olivia Colman (Janice Pierce), Harry Enfield (Dirk Gently), Robert Duncan (Gordon Way), Felicity Montagu (Susan Way), Toby Longworth (The Electric Monk), Billy Boyd (Richard MacDuff), Michael Fenton Stevens (Michael Wenton-Weakes), Andrew Sachs (Professor Chronotis), Jim Carter (Gilks), Jeffrey Holland (George III), Wayne Forester (Courtier), Jon Glover (Professor Cawley), Philip Pope (Garage Attendant), Neil Sleet (Newsreader), John Marsh (Announcer)
Notes: Many of Adams’ ideas put forth in “Dirk Gently” can be traced back to his work on television’s Doctor Who, including aspects of the plot to City Of Death and, more significantly, the character of Professor Chronotis, who was originally created for the uncompleted serial, Shada. Adams was quite put out when the BBC completed Shada for video release in 1993, as he felt that “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” had supplanted and superceded it. While fans have tried to tie Dirk Gently and the related characters into Adams’ more popular Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, connections are tenuous, at best.
This series was produced by Above the Title, utilizing many of the same crew who had brought the last three “Hitchhiker’s” novels to the radio in the form of the “Tertiary”, “Quandary” and “Quintessential” phases.
Andrew Sachs faced off against the Doctor Who version of Professor Chronotis (played by James Fox) when he appeared as the villain Skagra in the 2002 BBCi animated production of Shada.
Jon Glover appeared in the television version of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and had worked previously with Harry Enfield in Harry Enfield’s Television Programme.
Composer and actor Philip Pope performed several voices on Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker”-related computer game Starship Titanic.
LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey