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BBC America Gives Series Order to ‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’

BBC America has given an eight-episode order to an adaptation of the Douglas Adams novel series “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency,” written by Max Landis.

“Dirk Gently” is a cult-favorite property from the novelist known for his “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series. The series is co-produced by AMC Studios, Ideate Media and comic book publisher IDW Entertainment with Circle of Confusion producing. Exec producers are Landis, Ideate’s Arvind Ethan David and Zainir Aminullah, IDW Entertainment’s Ted Adams and David Ozer and David Alpert and Rick Jacobs from Circle of Confusion.

The series will follow the surreal adventures of the highly unconventional detective and his reluctant assistant Todd as they navigate one big metaphysical mystery per season. A four-episode adaptation of “Dirk Gently” starring Stephen Mangan aired on BBC4 in 2010 and 2012.

” ‘Dirk Gently’ is a very original series, fresh and unlike anything else. The novels have legions of fans, and with Max Landis’ brilliant and audacious take on this material we are excited to bring Dirk to life for our BBCA super-fans,” said BBC America president Sarah Barnett.

David has a long history with “Dirk Gently.” He was so taken with the character, who first appeared in 1987, that he wrote a stage adaptation while he was a student at the Stowe boarding school outside London. Adams, who died of a heart attack in 2001 at age 49, showed up to the performance and befriended David.

Landis read the books as a teenager. He credits Adams’ work as “one of the things that inspired me to be a writer.”

Landis, who made his mark as a screenwriter with the 2012 sci-fi thriller “Chronicle,” and David met about seven years ago in Los Angles through mutual friends at Circle of Confusion. When David secured the TV rights to “Dirk Gently,” he knew Landis had the understanding of the character to handle the adaptation. Landis said yes even as he was juggling numerous feature projects.

In his enthusiasm, Landis wrote the pilot on spec for Ideate and he wrote summaries for an additional nine episodes in the first season. “It was only after the fact that they told me I’m supposed to do that in a room with five other writers,” Landis said.

“Dirk Gently” was shopped around but BBC America was a natural home for the show given the British roots of the character. The TV series will see Gently heading to the U.S. — a storyline envisioned by Adams in drafts for a novel he was working at the time of his unexpected death.

David calls the deal with BBC America symbiotic as Adams served as the showrunner of the BBC’s “Doctor Who” for a period in the 1980s, and now BBC America is eyeing “Dirk Gently” as a companion piece to the enduring fantasy franchise.

“I’ve been waiting almost 20 years for TV to be ready for this and to find the right person to do it for TV,” David said of the “Dirk Gently” series.

“Dirk Gently” will also relaunch as a comic book series through IDW Entertainment that David will write.

“Dirk Gently” is Landis’ second TV project headed to the airwaves this year. He’s also co-writer of the horror anthology series “Channel Zero” bound for Syfy later this year.

(Pictured: Max Landis)

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