The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

(United Kingdom | BBC | 1978 – 1979 / 2004 – 2005)

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Series Background

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most famous science fiction radio series ever produced.

Written by Douglas Adams it followed the adventures of Arthur Dent, the last man alive, after the Earth was demolished by the Vogons in order to make way for a hyperspace bypass. As luck would have it, Arthur's friend Ford Prefect turned out to be an alien from Betelgeuse — rather than Guildford as had previously been stated — who set them both on a course that would see them encountering the two-headed, three-armed Zaphod Beeblebrox who had recently stolen a rather improbable spacecraft and who was accompanied by Marvin the paranoid android, and Tricia McMillan (aka Trillian).

Events following this are rather hazy as the radio series, television adaptation, movie, stage play and computer game all deviate from this starting point and begin to feed off each other in an ever increasing frenzy that is no doubt leading to the creation of an improbable number of parallel universes. Suffice to say that the search for the meaning of life, the universe and everything, the number 42, cups of tea, dolphins and the odd game of cricket are all connected to the series. And sometimes not...

Adams' novelisations and novels based on the radio series have now sold millions of copies worldwide (in enough different editions that it'll take a better website than this to list them all...), with new adaptations of the final three of the five books appearing on BBC Radio 4 during 2004 and 2005.

Douglas Adams died in May 2001, aged just 49.
CD Releases

A CD box set containing all five seasons of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has been released in the UK. The five seasons are also available separately, both on CD and as downloads.
The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy: The Original Radio Scripts

by
Douglas Adams
Cover image: The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy: The Original Radio Scripts, Pan Books (1985)
Country UK
Format Paperback
Publisher Pan Books
Publication Date November 1985
Original Price 4.99
ISBN 0330292889

The Original Radio Scripts contains the scripts to all twelve of the original radio episodes of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. These are now generally known as the Primary Phase and Secondary Phase.

Other Editions
Cover image: The Original Hitchhiker Radio Scripts, Harmony Books (1985) The Original Hitchhiker Radio Scripts
United States | Paperback | Harmony Books | December 1985 | $9.95 | 0517559501

So you think you know all there is to know about Douglas Adams's HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY?

  • You've read all the books,
  • You've seen the TV program,
  • (You've even got your towel ready),
  • You've listened to the show on radio,
But you haven't read or seen anything like
THE ORIGINAL HITCHHIKER RADIO SCRIPTS!

Unavailable for years, here are the complete, unedited scripts from the original BBC "Hitchhiker Radio Show", as broadcast in the United States on National Public Radio.
It's all here — ARTHUR DENT's cosmic trek through the universe in its original form as Douglas Adams first conceived it! — with FORD PREFECT, Arthur's best buddy and cohort; ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX, two-headed, three-armed ex-head honcho of the universe; SLARTIBARTFAST, award-winning coastline designer; MARVIN, the paranoid android; and all the outrageous places and momentous events you're fanatically devoted to. But that's not all! You also get:

  • Douglas Adams's worldly words "Where do you get all your ideas from?"
  • Characters that have never before appeared in any other Hitchhiker medium
  • Previously censored material (usually cut for reasons of time, but...)
  • Behind the scenes notes about the production of the radio show that told the world how sound effects were created.
Now you can read along with reruns of the show!

Or, even better, you can put on Hitchhiker performances of your own!

Cover image: The Original Hitchhiker Radio Scripts, Harmony Books (1995) The Original Hitchhiker Radio Scripts
United States | Paperback | Harmony Books | May 1995 | $15.00 | 0517883848
Cover image: The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy: The Original Radio Scripts, Pan Books (2003) The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy: The Original Radio Scripts
UK | Paperback | Pan Books | 2003 | 12.99 | 0330419579
Radio Series
Season 1
6 × 30 Minutes | BBC Radio 4

08/03/78 Fit the First Douglas Adams
15/03/78 Fit the Second Douglas Adams and John Lloyd
22/03/78 Fit the Third Douglas Adams and John Lloyd
29/03/78 Fit the Fourth Douglas Adams and John Lloyd
05/04/78 Fit the Fifth Douglas Adams and John Lloyd
12/04/78 Fit the Sixth Douglas Adams and John Lloyd

Special
30 Minutes | BBC Radio 4

24/12/78 Fit the Seventh Douglas Adams

Season 2
5 × 30 Minutes | BBC Radio 4

21/01/79 Fit the Eighth Douglas Adams
22/01/79 Fit the Ninth Douglas Adams
23/01/79 Fit the Tenth Douglas Adams
24/01/79 Fit the Eleventh Douglas Adams
25/01/79 Fit the Twelfth Douglas Adams
Notes
  • Sections from both of the 1970s/80s radio serials were later used as the basis for BBC2's six-part television version of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy in 1981, which saw some of the radio cast, including Simon Jones (Arthur Dent), Peter Jones (Voice of the Book), Mark Wing-Davey (Zaphod Beeblebrox) and Stephen Moore (Marvin), reprising their roles.

    Other versions of the story include the computer game, stage play, audio adaptations and, most recently, the movie, released during 2005.
  • Douglas Adams eventually wrote five Hitch-Hiker's novels, with the radio scripts mainly adapted in the first two, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

    Cover image: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Pan Books Cover image: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Pan Books Cover image: Life, the Universe and Everything, Pan Books Cover image: So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, Pan Books Cover image: Mostly Harmless, Pan Books

    The third novel, Life, the Universe and Everything, is based on a script for an unproduced Doctor Who movie called Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen. The fourth and fifth novels, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish and Mostly Harmless, were completely original works.

    These three books were finally adapted for BBC Radio 4 (re-uniting the majority of the original radio cast in the process) by Dirk Maggs, and broadcast in two batches in 2004 and 2005. The scripts to all three serials were published by Pan Books in 2005 as The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Radio Scripts: The Tertiary, Quandary and Quintessential Phases.
Cover image: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Pan Books
  • Douglas Adams is today best known for creating The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but many people are completely unaware that he was also the script editor on Season 17 of Doctor Who.

    As well as sneeking a cheeky Hitchhiker's reference about Oolon Caluphid's Origins of the Universe into Terry Nation's Destiny of the Daleks, he wrote the four-part The Pirate Planet for Season 16, co-wrote the four-part City of Death (under the name David Agnew) for Season 17 and also scripted Shada, which was abandoned part-way through filming due to industrial action at the BBC.

    None of his three stories for Doctor Who were ever novelised for the long-running Target Books series, but a novelisation of Shada was finally released in 2012, written by Gareth Roberts. Adams also re-used parts of the stories to City of Death and Shada in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (see image above).
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Radio Scripts: The Tertiary, Quandary and Quintessential Phases

by
Dirk Maggs
Cover image: The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy: The Original Radio Scripts, Pan Books (1985)
Country UK
Format Paperback
Publisher Pan Books
Publication Date 2005
Original Price 12.99
ISBN 0330435108

The Tertiary, Quandary and Quintessential Phases contains the scripts to the radio adaptations of Douglas Adams' last three Hitch-Hiker's novels.

Radio Series
Tertiary Phase
6 × 30 Minutes | BBC Radio 4

21/09/04 Fit the Thirteenth Dirk Maggs
28/09/04 Fit the Fourteenth Dirk Maggs
05/10/04 Fit the Fifteenth Dirk Maggs
12/10/04 Fit the Sixteenth Dirk Maggs
19/10/04 Fit the Seventeenth Dirk Maggs
26/10/04 Fit the Eighteenth Dirk Maggs

Quandary Phase
4 × 30 Minutes | BBC Radio 4

03/05/05 Fit the Nineteenth Dirk Maggs
10/05/05 Fit the Twentienth Dirk Maggs
17/05/05 Fit the Twenty-First Dirk Maggs
24/05/05 Fit the Twenty-Second Dirk Maggs

Quintessential Phase
4 × 30 Minutes | BBC Radio 4

31/05/05 Fit the Twenty-Third Dirk Maggs
07/06/05 Fit the Twenty-Fourth Dirk Maggs
14/06/05 Fit the Twenty-Fifth Dirk Maggs
21/06/05 Fit the Twenty-Sixth Dirk Maggs
Notes
  • The final three Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy radio serials were based on the books Life, the Universe and Everything, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish and Mostly Harmless.

    Sadly, despite the fact that the idea of adapting the final three Hitchhiker's books had been around since the 1990s, nothing was to happen until 2004, three years after Douglas Adams had died.

    Despite a twenty-four year gap between the production of the Secondary Phase and the Tertiary Phase, the only main actor not to return for the new episodes was Peter Jones (Voice of the Book), who had died in 2000. Death wasn't to prevent the part of Agrajag being played by Douglas Adams in the adaptation of Life, the Universe and Everything, however, which cunningly recycled part of Adams' narration from his own audiobook reading of the novel.
  • The third novel, Life, the Universe and Everything, is based on a script for an unproduced Doctor Who movie called Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen. Life, the Universe and Everything and So Long and Thanks for All the Fish were completely original novels.
  • As well as adapting all three of the books for radio, Dirk Maggs was also the director and producer. In the 1990s he had also been responsible for several highly-regarded radio dramas featuring Superman and Batman, which were produced for BBC Radio 1 and broadcast daily in two-minute installments. In 2007 he adapted Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency for BBC Radio 4 with John Langdon, as well as finding time to direct it. Harry Enfield reprised his role as Dirk Gently in The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul in 2008.