The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Radio Series, 1978
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy has over the years become a legendary piece of science fiction and comedy. What many people forget is that it first started out forty years ago as a Radio series.
In February 1977, Douglas Adams, who had been a regular contributor of comedy sketches to the BBC was asked to pitch a radio sitcom.
Adams initially pitched a “bedsit comedy.” In a later interview he gave the reason for the idea as it “seemed to be what most situation comedies tended to be about.” In the same interview Adams admitted that when producer Simon Brett Adams proposed a radio science fiction comedy series, he “fell off his chair…because it was what I’d been fighting for all these years”.
A pilot episode was commissioned in March 1977 and by 1978 a full series was being broadcast.
The series proved to be a huge hit with audiences and over the years found itself adapted for many different formats from TV and novels to comic books, a video game and in more recent times a feature film.
The series follows the misadventures of the last surviving man, Arthur Dent, after the demolition of the planet Earth by a Vogon constructor fleet to make way for a hyperspace bypass.
Dent is rescued from Earth’s destruction by Ford Prefect: a human-like alien writer for the eccentric, electronic travel guide: The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.
Following his rescue, Dent explores the galaxy with Prefect and encounters Trillian, another human who had been taken from Earth prior to its destruction by the President of the Galaxy, the two-headed Zaphod Beeblebrox and the depressed Marvin, the paranoid android.
Certain details within the story were changed over time to suit the various adaptations.
Simon James – Arthur Dent
Geoffrey McGivern – Ford Prefect
Mark Wing-Davey – Zaphod Beeblebrox
Susan Sheridan – Trillian
Stephen Moore – Marvin, the paranoid android
Richard Vernon – Slartibartfast
Peter Jones – The Book
Channel: BBC Radio 4
Created By: Douglas Adams
Written By: Douglas Adams and John Lloyd
Original Transmission Dates: 8th March, 1978 – 25th January, 1980