History Boy Becomes Douglas Adams’s Detective Dirk Gently

By Stuart Black Last edited 35 months ago
History Boy Becomes Douglas Adams’s Detective Dirk Gently
Samuel Barnett, who played 'out of work actor' in The Lady In The Van, now has work.

The BBC has just unveiled the new face of Dirk Gently, that other great London detective who tries to solve "the whole of the crime" from his office in 33a Peckender Street, N1 in Douglas Adams's hugely popular trilogy in two and a half parts.

Samuel Barnett from The History Boys will take on the role of Gently opposite Elijah Wood in a glossy eight-part adaptation being made by BBC America and due to arrive on telly in autumn 2016.

This first series, called simply Dirk Gently, will be based on one of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy writer’s absurdist mysteries though it's not been said which one yet.

The first book, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, came out in 1987 and somehow tied together aliens, an electric monk and Samuel Taylor Coleridge — and was elegantly summed up by Adams as a "thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic."

Then followed The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul a year later, featuring Norse gods and a sinister nursing home, and then finally, the promisingly monikered The Salmon of Doubt, which remained unfinished when Adams died in 2001.

This big budget version follows a short-lived local take starring Stephen Mangan, which aired between 2010 and 2012. The new series should hopefully fare better with a bunch of big names behind it including Oscar-winning director Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest), writer Max Landis (Chronicle, Victor Frankenstein) and seasoned showrunner Robert Cooper (Stargate on TV).

Last Updated 30 March 2016