Dirk Gently Series 2


The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

2nd October-6th November 2008 2300-2330 on BBC Radio 4



Dirk Maggs



Dirk Maggs

Jo Wheeler


Executive Producer

Sioned Wiliam


Dramatised By

Dirk Maggs

John Langdon


Written By

Douglas Adams



Above the Title Productions Ltd



Harry Enfield returns as Dirk Gently, Douglas Adams's Holistic Detective, who has fallen on hard times and, dressed as a gypsy woman, is using his irritatingly accurate clairvoyant powers to read palms. Gently is saved when a frantic client turns up with a ludicrous story about being stalked by a goblin waving a contract, and accompanied by a hairy, green-eyed, scythe-wielding monster. When Detective Superintendent Gilks decides a headless body found in a sealed room is the result of a particularly irritating suicide, Dirk is plunged into a mystery where the inter-connectedness of all things is tested to the limit. Ancient gods sign contracts with advertising executives, Heathrow airport is struck by a freak indoor global-warming incident, a canned-drinks machine claims to be under a curse and Kate Schechter finds herself stalked by Thor The God Of Thunder.


Episode 1:

Dirk Gently loses a secretary and Odin sells his soul

Episode 2:

Gillks makes a discovery and Dirk gets his nose broken.

Episode 3:

Dirk buys a nifty gadget and Kate visits an iffy clinic.

Episode 4:

Dirk does interconnected things in an obscurely witty way, Thor drops a Clanger in Sharp's Flat.

Episode 5:

Dirk outwits an eagle and the Draycotts find an eager nitwit.

Episode 6:

Thor succeeds in losing his temper and Dirk fails to save himself.

Cast for all Episodes


Dirk Gently
Harry Enfield
Svlad Cjelli
Harry Enfield
Dirk Cjelli
Harry Enfield
Janice Pearce
Olivia Colman
Richard MacDuff
Billy Boyd
Detective Sergeant Gilks
Jim Carter
Stephen Moore
Nurse Sally Mills
Morwenna Banks
Dr. Standish
John Fortune
The Vagrant
Philip Jackson
Simon Draycott
Peter Davison
Cynthia Draycott
Jan Ravens
Rupert Degas
Constable Luke
Wayne Forester
Geoff Anstey
Jon Glover
Sally Grace
Sister Bailey
Sally Grace
Kate Schechter
Laurel Lefkow
The Viking Announcer
Gary Martin
Neil Sharp
Philip Pope
Toe Rag
Michael Roberts
Susan Sheridan
Michael Fenton Stevens
Sarah Montague
Sarah Montague
Jon Glover
RAF Pilot 1
Wayne Forester
RAF Pilot 2
Philip Pope
John Marsh
Green Hairy Monster
Viking Announcer
Susan Sheridan


Production Crew


Paul Deeley

Paul Weir


Live Effects Operator

Alison Mackenzie


Recorded at

Studio 3/6 The Soundhouse Ltd London England


Recorded on

June 2008


Music composed & Arranged

Phillip Pope


Comment by Dirk Maggs

Like DIRK GENTLY'S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY, Douglas Adams wrote THE LONG DARK TEA TIME OF THE SOUL as a mystery novel, not a six-part radio series,. The more confusing it became - the harder the reader found it to connect things - the more it served Douglas's purpose, which was to pull together the most unlikely set of events possible. But flicking back a chapter or two to check what on earth the author has in mind is not a luxury radio listeners can indulge in (especially when driving, even using the Holistic System Of Navigation). We were keen that the second Dirk Gently series should avoid any confusion - despite the author's intention to baffle. If the first novel were a jumbled up Rubik's Cube to which last year's radio series provided a move-by-move solution, not revealing the final twist which put all six colours on their respective surfaces till the end, this series required a Rubik's Cube which started solved and stayed that way.

The challenge was to retain Douglas's mischievous delight in strewing barrel loads of red herrings across the path of his detective story - all of which prove to be vital clues to its solution - whilst fleshing out characters created more in descriptive passages than in dialogue. The process involved the 'Columbo' method, where the audience are fed key bits of plot in advance, so they can more comfortably enjoy witnessing our hero stumbling blindly towards a solution they already have had revealed. Thus the adaptation reshuffles or invents bits of story to sharpen the plot and characters - the Draycotts, for example, who barely exchange a single line of dialogue with anyone in the book - not even each other. That's fine in a novel by Douglas - all of which we heartily recommend you read in any case - but too minimalist for a six-part radio series.

Some of the characters and plot devices employed here are not in THE LONG DARK TEA TIME OF THE SOUL but inspired by Douglas's notes for the third Dirk Gently novel - notes so brief they are not included in its unfinished, published form as THE SALMON OF DOUBT. On Douglas's hard drive a sub-folder marked "The Old Salmon" contains a document named "The Whole Resource (Relevant)". This is forty-three pages of his earliest notes for a book under the same title, quite a few of which feature characters and ideas from his previous magnum opus. Several of these have informed certain passages in these recordings, and may indirectly provide a means of helping Dirk Gently find a solution to various mysteries within the third radio series next year.


Cast Pictures

Harry Enfield
Olivia Colman
Harry Enfield
Olivia Colman


Running Time

6 Episodes of 30 minutes Each 180 minutes in total.


Other Links


Above the Title Productions Ltd page on Dirk Gently

which has photo's and two trailers of the show audio and visual


The BBC Dirk Gently website


What Others Have Said

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Other Information

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul is a 1988 humorous fantasy detective novel by Douglas Adams. It is the second book by Adams featuring private detective Dirk Gently, the first being Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. The novel's title is a phrase which appeared in Adams's earlier novel Life, the Universe and Everything, but the novels are not otherwise related.

Plot summary
Dirk Gently, who calls himself a "holistic detective", has happened upon what he thinks is a rather comfortable situation. A ridiculously wealthy man in the record industry has retained him, spinning a ludicrous story about being stalked by a seven-foot-tall, green-eyed, scythe-wielding monster. Dirk pretends to understand the man's ravings involving potatoes and a contract signed in blood coming due; in reality, however, Dirk is musing about what he might do if he actually receives payment for his "services". Get rid of his refrigerator, for one; the seemingly innocuous appliance has become the centerpiece of a dangerous showdown between himself and his cleaning woman. The apparent seriousness of his client's claims becomes clear when Dirk arrives several hours late for an appointment to find a swarm of police around his client's estate. The aforementioned client is found in a sealed and heavily barricaded room, his head neatly removed several feet from his body and rotating on a turntable.

Nearly incapacitated by great thudding pangs of guilt, Dirk resolves to belatedly begin taking his now-late client's wild claims seriously. During his investigation, Gently encounters exploding airport check-in counters, the gods of Norse mythology, insulting horoscopes, a sinister nursing home, a rhinophagic eagle, an I Ching calculator (to which everything calculated above the value of 4 is apparently 'a suffusion of yellow'), an omnipotent being who gives his powers to a lawyer in exchange for clean linen, and an attractive American woman who enjoys getting angry when she can't get pizza delivered in London.

Keys to deciphering the plot
Understanding the plot depends on the realisation of several facts which are either alluded to or understated in the book:

The central premise of the book is that gods once worshipped by man don't disappear but remain on earth forever; because nobody worships them, many become destitute, like the tramps who Dirk witnesses entering Valhalla.
Odin makes Thor accidentally transmogrify objects when he gets angry, in a bid to delay him getting to Norway and finding the Draycotts' contract. Hence the jet fighter turning into the eagle, or Kate's table lamp turning into a kitten; Thor is unable to change the objects back because of his anger, which is why the coke vending machine (the transmogrified airline check-in girl) is kept with him throughout the book.
The eagle that pursues Dirk and Thor is the transmogrified jet fighter that Thor briefly mentions stops him getting to Norway. His inability to fly to Norway using his hammer is why he needs to visit the airport at the opening of the novel. The retransmogrified jet fighter explodes from Dirk's house and destroys the Draycotts and their car at the end of the novel.
Odin makes contact with the Draycotts after seeing one of Cynthia Draycott's adverts for a soft drink, which seemingly involve various gods promoting the drink; one of these adverts is seen when Dirk confronts Astey's son early in the book.
Odin, like all the gods, is naive and quite literally unworldly; this is how the Draycotts are able to take advantage of him.
One of Dirk's chief characteristics in the novel is guilt -- guilt about the fridge, and the death of Astey, who he should have protected. At the end of the novel, Dirk's fridge generates a new god of Guilt and it is implied this stops Toe Rag and the green monster from stopping Thor finally retrieving the contract in Norway.
It is implied that Odin may have stepped in during the airport explosion and also the jet fighter explosion to stop the loss of life; thus he might be complicit in the death of the Draycotts, who were the only ones killed in the jet fighter explosion. At the end of the contract negotiations with the Draycotts, Dirk says the only wish he has is that the Draycotts die. This might be fulfilment of that wish. Note that the Draycotts are killed after Thor destroys the contract.
The God's world exists in parallel with our own - where (for example) St Pancras railway station is Valhalla.


Only three characters from the previous novel appear in this story: Dirk himself, Sergeant Gilks, and Dirk's repeatedly quitting secretary Janice Pearce (now Janice Smith). Dirk is the only character to appear in all three Dirk Gently stories.

The title is a play on the theological treatise The Dark Night of the Soul, by Saint John of the Cross. Adams previously used the phrase "long, dark teatime of the soul" in his third book in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series to describe the wretched boredom of immortal beings.

Adams was a notorious fan of Macintosh computers and an opening page of the book declares that the book was "written and typeset on an Apple Macintosh II and an Apple LaserWriter II NTX", while the software used as FullWrite Professional. It might be this very same Macintosh that was accidentally bought by a Douglas Adams fan some years later.


Other Items

Dirk Gently Series 1

Dirk Gently Series 2

Dirk Gently Series 3


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