Stephen Mangan: Dirk Gently was a victim of “gruesome twosome” Cameron and Osborne

The actor says the acclaimed BBC4 drama “had huge potential” before a decision to freeze the licence fee forced the corporation to make cuts

He’s a Tottenham Hotspur season ticket holder yet Stephen Mangan says he was more upset by the decision to axe BBC4 drama series Dirk Gently than by his team’s failure to qualify for this season’s Champions League.

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“I was more upset about Dirk, I have to say,” confessed Mangan, who played Douglas Adams’s eponymous “holistic detective” in the series. “Sometimes you do shows that don’t get second or third series, or don’t get past the pilot stage, and you’ve put everything into it and you’re desperately upset because you think it’s got a real future, and you look back and you think ‘D’you know what? Maybe they were right.’ I just don’t think that’s the case with Dirk.”

The BBC4 drama, also starring Darren Boyd as Gently’s sidekick Richard MacDuff, consisted of just a single feature-length pilot shown in December 2010, followed by a three-part series in March 2012, but received widespread critical acclaim as well as some of the channel’s best ever viewing figures.

Mangan said he felt there had been lots more to come from the series and blamed the government’s decision to freeze the BBC licence fee for its demise.

“It was by all accounts a hit – great reviews, great audiences, a really unique show,” said Mangan of Dirk Gently. “It had huge potential to go on and on but unfortunately it was on BBC4, the licence fee had been frozen – thanks to David Cameron and George Osborne – so the BBC are having to make cuts and BBC4 are no longer able to do original programming.

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“We were one of the victims of the gruesome twosome’s concerted attempts to destroy the BBC.”