The Dongle of Donald Trefusis

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The Dongle of Donald Trefusis
Image StephenFry DongleOfDonaldTrefusis Background.jpg
Hosted byStephen Fry
  • Comedy
  • mystery
  • monologue
Original release26 May 2009 (2009-05-26) – unknown (planned 27 October 2009)

The Dongle of Donald Trefusis is "a mixture of podcast, audiobook and radio monologue" written and read by Stephen Fry.[1][2] It stars Fry as himself, who receives an inheritance from his (fictional) former university tutor, Donald Trefusis, who has recently died. The inheritance includes a USB drive or "dongle", which contains messages from Trefusis to Fry from beyond the grave. The series began in 2009 and was planned to run to 12 episodes, but only three episodes were released.[3]


The series is the first to feature the character of Trefusis, who also appeared as a character in Fry's first novel, The Liar, and made a series of appearances on the BBC Radio 4 programme Loose Ends.

Availability and success[edit]

The first episode was made available to download on 26 May 2009.[4]

Episodes were originally scheduled to be released on Tuesdays every fortnight in 2009, from 26 May to 27 October.[5] However, Fry announced at the beginning of Episode 3 that he was too busy to maintain a fortnightly schedule, and removed the release date information from his website. As of May 2020, there had been no further news on release dates of subsequent episodes.


In the first episode, Fry talks about the life of Trefusis, his former tutor and professor of Philology at the fictional St Matthew's College, Cambridge, and the relationship shared by the two. After The Liar and Loose Ends, the two made little contact, with Fry sending him emails and Trefusis writing postcards in return. While Fry was filming in Madagascar, he learnt that Trefusis has died and has left him something in his will.[6]

Fry goes to the solicitors in charge of the will, "Hodgman, Hodgman, Hodgman, Hodgman and Hodgman" - none of whom are related to each other, and discovers that what is left to him is Trefusis' collection of essays and the books in his vast library. Fry is also given a key, which he uses to open a drawer of a desk in Trefusis' library which contains an 8Gb USB drive. Fry puts the dongle into his computer and finds a collection of mp3 files, which contain messages by Trefusis to Fry.[6]

It is revealed that messages are part of a puzzle which Trefusis is guiding Fry and those listening through. Each episode features a series of clues, with extra information being posted on a Twitter account Trefusis has created.[7]


The series is made by Fry's own production company SamFry Ltd. and hosted by the Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA).[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Staples, Heather (27 May 2009). "Stephen Fry and IODA Partner for The Dongle of Donald Trefusis" (PDF). Retrieved 28 May 2009.
  2. ^ "Fry tops audiobook charts". 28 May 2009. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
  3. ^ Fry, Stephen. "Release Dates". Retrieved 28 May 2009.
  4. ^ "Stephen Fry - Fry's audio book a big hit". 28 May 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
  5. ^ "The New Adventures of Mr Stephen Fry - The Dongle of Donald Trefusis - New Audio Series". Retrieved 4 June 2009.
  6. ^ a b SamFry and IDOA (Independent Online Distribution Alliance) (26 May 2009). "Episode 1". (Podcast). Retrieved 28 May 2009.
  7. ^ SamFry and IDOA (Independent Online Distribution Alliance) (11 June 2009). "Episode 2". (Podcast). Retrieved 11 June 2009.

External links[edit]