The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

Radio series


The Book Peter Jones
Arthur Dent Simon Jones
Ford Prefect Geoffrey McGivern
Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz Bill Wallis
Zaphod Beeblebrox Mark Wing-Davey
Trillian Susan Sheridan
Marvin the Paranoid Android Stephen Moore
Slartibartfast Richard Vernon
The Wise Old Bird John Le Mesurier
Lintilla Rula Lenska

Episode Guide

1. -- BBC Radio 4, 8 March 1978
'mostly harmless'
In which Arthur's house is threatened; Arthur and Ford hitch a ride on a Vogon ship; the Earth is destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass; Arthur and Ford are forced to listen to Vogon poetry.
Either die in the vacuum of space or ... tell me how good you though my poem was.

2. -- BBC Radio 4, 15 March 1978
'... counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor ...' Huh, death's too good for them.
In which Arthur and Ford admire Vogon poetry, but still face certain death in the vacuum of outer space. Resistance is useless! The are improbably rescued by Zaphod, Trillian and Marvin on the Heart of Gold, only to all face a deadly missile attack three minutes into the next episode.
Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they tell me to take you up to the Bridge. Call that job satisfaction? 'Cause I don't.

3. -- BBC Radio 4, 15 March 1978
In which Arthur searches for a cup of tea; two atomic missiles improbably become a surprised sperm whale and a bowl of petunias; oh no, not again and the legendary planet of Magrathea is visited.
4. -- BBC Radio 4, 29 March 1978
I have been asleep inside this planet of Magrathea for five million years and know little of these early sixties sitcoms of which you speak.
In which Arthur learns that the Earth has been built for the mice; Deep Thought claims that the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything ... you're really not going to like it ... is ... '42'; I've got a thousand glaciers poised and ready to roll over Africa ; the police try to arrest Zaphod for stealing the Heart of Gold.
It isn't easy being a cop!

5. -- BBC Radio 4, 5 April 1978
It's not so much an afterlife, more a sort of après vie .
In which Arthur, Ford, Zaphod and Trillian travel to Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, meet up with Marvin, He just phoned up to wash his head at us , and steal a Haggunenon Admiral's spaceship.
6. -- BBC Radio 4, 12 April 1978
I've got this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side.
In which Zaphod, Trillian and Marvin are eaten by a facsimile of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal; Ford and Arthur escape to Golgafrincham Ark B, Sir, may I remind you that you have now been in that bath for over three years! and crash onto the Earth, 2 million years before they left.
7. -- BBC Radio 4, 24 December 1978
Zaphod's just zis guy you know...
In which Ford and Arthur go on the wagon; Zaphod travels to the offices of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, Listen three eyes, don't you try to outweird me, I get stranger things than you free with my breakfast cereal , meets a lift afraid of height, May I ask you if you've considered all the possibilities that down might offer you? and is abducted, along with the offices, by Frogstar Fighters.
8. -- BBC Radio 4, 21 January 1980
Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is!
In which Ford and Arthur are rescued by Zaphod in the Heart of Gold, but only after he experiences the Total Perspective Vortex.
9. -- BBC Radio 4, 22 January 1980
'Share and Enjoy'
In which Zaphod Beeblebrox IV saves Zaphod, Arthur and Ford from the Vogons; it invariably delivers a cupful of liquid that is almost, but not entirely, unlike tea ; we find out why Arthur likes tea.
10. -- BBC Radio 4, 23 January 1980
Holy Zarquon's singing fish!
In which Arthur encounters a fifteen mile high statue of 'Arthur Dent Throwing the Nutrimatic Cup' on Brontitall, some evil smelling re-evolved birds, it's not a question of whose habitat it is, it's a question of how fast you hit it , unfriendly Dolmansaxlil Galactiped Corporation footwarriors with blisters, and Lintilla the archaeologist.
11. -- BBC Radio 4, 24 January 1980
Pseudo-fracture. It's artificially induced. All the pain, swelling and immobility of a fracture without the inconvenience of the fracture itself.
In which Arthur learns of the economics of shoes and the shoe event horizon, and meets three of the 578 thousand million Lintilla clones; Ford and Zaphod find a derelict space port.
An entire archaeological layer of compressed shoes
12. -- BBC Radio 4, 25 January 1980
The statistical likelihood is that other civilizations will arise. There will one day be lemon soaked paper napkins. Till then, there will be a short delay.
In which the problem of the clones is gruesomely solved, To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem , and we meet the Ruler of the Galaxy, and his cat.
Oh dear, I think you'll find reality's on the blink again

Rating: 1
[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

Film review

2005 / TV

103 mins

SF elements

Hitch Hiking


I have to review this from the perspective of someone who can quote large chunks of the original radio series off by heart, which makes it a little difficult to be objective. After all, the bits that are the same won't be as good (since the pictures are so much better on radio, and some of the visuals have already been filled in by the TV series), and the bits that are different will just be wrong , won't they?

Both of these things are true, and the film is only saved by the bits that are new . The film sort of covers the events of the first four radio episodes, from Arthur Dent [Martin Freeman] and Ford Prefect [Mos Def] escaping just before the Earth is demolished by the Vogons to make way for a hyperspace bypass, to landing on Magrathea, meeting Slartibartfast [Bill Nighy], and finding out the mice commissioned the Earth as a giant computer to find out the question to Life, the Universe, and Everything. The new bits are some diversions along the way, including rescuing Trillian [Zooey Deschanel] who has been arrested for kidnapping the President of the Universe, Zaphod Beeblebrox [Sam Rockwell]. Here the SFX are good (as indeed are those in the vertiginous Magrathean planetary workshop, and some bits from The Book [Stephen Fry]), and there's a nice little in-joke as they pass a robot in a queue who looks suspiciously familiar... There's even a semi-plausible reason for Zaphod's second head.

However, despite the new bits, and some successful re-imaginings of the original bits, the film doesn't work for me. The problem isn't that it keeps whip-sawing between the overly-familiar and the completely novel; I could live with that, maybe, and someone coming to this "cold" would probably love Douglas Adams ' inspired lunacy. But the real problem is the stupidly gratuitous happy ending. Look, if you are going to blow up a planet, killing everyone on it, for whatever reason, even for a slightly lame joke (maybe especially for a slightly lame joke), then it should stay blown up, and they should stay dead.

Rating: 4

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 22 December 2007