Disappointing news for lovers of quirky British dramas as Stephen Mangan, star of the promising off-beat detective series Dirk Gently, inspired by the novels of the late Douglas Adams confirms that the show, which ran for just one pilot episode in 2011 and a short three-part series earlier this year on BBC4, is no more. “It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to report that the BBC have decided not to make any more Dirk Gently” announced the actor on Twitter a short while ago.
The show, a bit of a Starburst favourite, concerned the exploits of hyperactive detective Dirk Gently whose philosophy was an abiding belief in “the fundamental interconnectedness of all things”, pulled in over a million viewers for the pilot episode but the figures declined steadily across the three-week run of the recent short series. BBC budget cuts are requiring shows to prove their mettle much faster these days and series which don’t find a substantial appreciative audience pretty quickly can, it seems, no longer be nurtured and supported by the Corporation in the way they once were. BBC3’s 2011 horror drama The Fades, recently cancelled, won the BAFTA for Best Drama over the weekend but its middling performance on transmission last year mitigates against any likelihood of a reversal of the cancellation decision despite its industry recognition. It would be a tragedy if the BBC, who have embraced the ’fantasy’ genre with increasing enthusiasm since the success of Doctor Who in 2005, retreats back to its safety zone of more traditional detective medical and period dramas as the financial restraints of the licence-fee freeze continue to tighten production belts.
Dirk Gently’s Stephen Mangan can currently be seen in the BBC2 comedy Episodes and co-star Darren Boyd shortly begins work on the second series of his hit comedy Spy (for which, ironically, he also won a BAFTA this weekend) for transmission on Sky One late this year. The TV series’ creator Howard Overman in working on the fourth series of E4’s Misfits as well as a proposed American remake.
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