The New Hichhikers Radio Series

 

The Third Radio SeriesThe idea to make a third radio series came up in 1993. The Head of Spoken Word Publishing at BBC Worldwide was quite impressed by the figures : 75.000 tapes and CDs of the original series have then been sold. Douglas said yes, if the BBC got that talented young man aboard : Dirk Maggs, a successful radio drama director and producer. Dirk made a wide range of shows from Agatha Christie adaptations to Superman stories. Like Douglas, his approach to audio production is very different from the old radio drama school. It definitely sounds more like a rock album than a typical BBC show.

So when Douglas and Dirk finally met Douglas at Duncan Terrace one spring day (according MJ Simpson in “Hitchhiker”), they were both very happy at the perspective of working together. But Douglas was not very keen to write the script himself, so they asked the radio writer Alick Rowe to do the job. Sadly, Douglas was not happy at all with the scripts. He then wrote ten pages of the first episode but gave up. One year later, the project was on hold… and finally forgotten.

As Dirk Maggs told me, “later in in 1997 Douglas and I discussed restarting the process with me writing the scripts, and we were going to proceed on that basis but then the Disney movie deal came through. So the whole thing stalled again until Douglas’s tragic death. After getting over the shock I realized that the film project was still not happening and rather than have no effort made to keep Douglas’ work alive, I proposed we try again – and at last here is the result. “

So Dirk Maggs worked on Hitchhikers again, wrote some new scripts, following Douglas’ instructions and notes, using new material specially written by Douglas for these sequels. A difficult problem was of course to link the second radio series with “Life, the Universe and Everything”. Dirk Maggs found a solution : “I assumed that maybe the second radio series – which revolved around Zaphod’s encounters with Zarniwoop – could have been the result of one pan galactic gargle blaster too many … it’s simplistic but it cuts across a lot of potential problems”.

An other good news is that, 25 years later, the original cast is back with Simon Jones (Arthur), Stephen Moore (Marvin), Susan Sheridan (Trillian), Geoffrey McGivern (Ford) and Mark Wing-Davey (Zaphod). Sadly, Peter Jones (the Book), David Tate (Eddie the computer) and Richard Vernon (Slartibartfast) passed away. They were replaced by : Willyam Franklin, Richard Griffiths, Roger Gregg.

The musics used in the program were created for the series by Paul Wix Wickens (Douglas Adams’ friend and Paul McCartney musical director) and Phil Pope. So no more Ligeti, Terence Riley, Eno and others whose musics were used during the first series.

“Above The Title Productions”, managed by Bruce Hyman and Helen Chattwell, got the deal to produce the new radio series for Radio 4, and brought the dream to reality.

“Life, the Universe and Everything”, a new six part series, has been recorded in November 03, and has been broadcast in September and October 04.

“So long and thanks for all the fish” and “Mostly harmless” have been recorded in January of 05, and ran as a single eight-week block from the 3rd May 05.

All the three new phases are now available in the shops in CDs or tapes with some extra stuff. Only the Tertiary Phase has been released on Audio DVD. Dirk Magg’s scripts are also available as a very complete book since the summer 05 (Pan books).

A sixth series, adapting Eoin Colfer’s sixth part in the “trilogy”, “And Another Thing…”, also penned and directed by Dirk Maggs, was announced in October 2017 and broadcast on Radio 4 in March 2018.  Sandra Dickinson (Trillian in the TV series) takes the role of Trillian due to the death of Susan Sheridan in 2015. The Voice of the book is played by John Lloyd (who co-wrote episodes 5 and 6 of the first series and co-wrote with Douglas “The Meaning of Liff”). Among the guest stars, Jim Broadbent plays Marvin (this time due to the retirement of Stephen Moore), Ed Byrne as Hillman Hunter and Lenny Henry as The Consultant.

The Tertiary Phase (2004)

The-Hitchhiker-s-Guide-to-the-Galaxy-Tertiary-PhaseLIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING was broadcast on air and online on 21st Sept 2004 (+23rd), 28th Sept (+30th), 5th Oct (+7th), 12th Oct (+14th), 19th Oct (+21st), 26th Oct (+28th). It was broadcast on these days at 18.30hrs and then repeated the following Thursday in each case at 23.00hrs.

This third series was a huge success. More than one million persons has listened to the radio series on the Internet!

All the main actors of the previous series (recorded 25 years ago) are there (Simon Jones, Stephen Moore,…). Sadly the great Peter Jones (the voice of the book) died in 2000. David Tate (Eddie and quite a few other small parts) was a great loss too. But Peter and David were replaced by two other great actors : William Franklyn and Roger Gregg.

Dirk Maggs, Douglas Adams’ personal choice to make a new series, wrote and directed the three new phases (Dirk’s son plays a small part in this third series).

An other big difference with the first series is the fact that the new series were produced by an independant producer : Above The Title.

> The Third Series Cast

VOICE OF THE BOOK: William Franklyn
ARTHUR DENT: Simon Jones
FORD PREFECT: Geoffrey McGivern
ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX: Mark Wing-Davey
TRILLIAN: Susan Sheridan
MARVIN THE PARANOID ANDROID: Stephen Moore
AGRAJAG: Douglas Adams
CRICKET COMMENTATOR: Henry Blofeld
POLICE WALKIE TALKIE: Fiona Carew
JUDICIARY PAG: Rupert Degas
KRIKKIT CIVILIAN 1: Mike Fenton Stevens
EXHIBIT ROOM VOICE: Bob Golding
EDDIE THE COMPUTER: Roger Gregg
SLARTIBARTFAST: Richard Griffiths
THOR: Dominic Hawksley
PRAK: Chris Langham
WOWBAGGER: Toby Longworth
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE LADY: Joanna Lumley
BOY (CRICKET): Theo Maggs
ANNOUNCER: John Marsh
HACTAR: Leslie Phillips
KRIKKIT CIVILIAN 2:Phil Pope
ZEM THE MATTRESS: Andy Taylor
CRICKET COMMENTATOR: Fred Trueman

> The Third Series Staff

Produced by: Bruce Hyman & Helen Chatwell (Above the Title production).
Directed by: Dirk Maggs
Script: Dirk Maggs
Studio FX: Ken Humphrey
Based on: Douglas Adams’ “Life, the universe and everything”
Music: Paul Wix Wickens & Phil Pope (Kikkrit song)
Mix: Paul Deeley at THE SOUNDHOUSE

The Quandary Phase (2005)

Hitch-Hiker's-guide-to-the-galaxy-Quandary-phaseSO LONG AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH was broadcast as a fourth episode story on air and online from the 3rd May 2005. The first episode was broadcast the 3rd May, second episode : 10th May, third episode : 17th May, fourth episode : 24th May.

The fourth series has some great guests : Sandra Dickinson and David Dixon (Trillian and Ford in the TV series), Stephen Fry (Douglas’friend, UK famous actor & The voice of the book in the H2G2 movie), Geoffrey Perkins (producer of H2G2 first radio series) and Christian Slater (the famous US actor). Jane Horrocks (Absolutly fabulous) is a great Fenchurch. You can also hear my voice somewhere! I shout in French “Fous le camp !!”.

> The Fourth Series Cast

VOICE OF THE BOOK: William Franklyn
ARTHUR DENT: Simon Jones
FORD PREFECT: Geoffrey McGivern
MARVIN THE PARANOID ANDROID: Stephen Moore
TRICIA MCMILLIAN: Sandra Dicksinson
FENCHURCH: Jane Horrocks
ECOLOGICAL MAN / ZIRZLA LEADER: David Dixon
MURRAY BOST HENSON: Stephen Fry
ROBB MC KENNA: Bill Paterson
WONKO THE SANE: Christian Slater
RUSSEL / PILOT: Rupert Degas
PROSTETNIC VOGON JELTZ: Toby Longworth
VOGON GUARD: Michael Cule
VOGON CONSILLOR: Dominic Hawksley
SPEAKING CLOCK: Brian Cobby
ALIEN TEASER / LAJESTIC VANTRASHEELL OF LOB: Bob Golding
BT OPERATOR / BARMAID / NEWS ANCHOR: Ann Bryson
HOOKER 1 / AIR TRAFFIC / OLD LADY / STEWARDESS BOT: Alison Pettitt
EAST RIVER CREATURE: Jackie Mason
HOOKER 2: Fiona Carew
BARMAN: Arthur Smith
MRS KAPELSEN: Margaret Robertson
RAFFLE WOMAN: June Whitfield
ARTHUR’S BBC BOSS: Geoffrey Perkins
EVIL LOOKING BIRD / CANIS PONTIF: Chris Emmett
ANNOUNCER: John Marsh
They play their own parts: Sir Patrick Moore, Charlotte Green,Peter Donaldson, Nick Clarke
Guests: Nicolas Botti, Nolan Worthington, Andrew Wyld

> The Fourth Series Staff

Produced by: Bruce Hyman & Helen Chatwell (Above the Title)
Directed by: Dirk Maggs
Script: Dirk Maggs
Studio FX: Ken Humphrey
Based on: Douglas Adams’ “So long and thanks for all the fish”
Music: Paul Wix Wickens
Mix: Paul Deeley at THE SOUNDHOUSE

The Quintessential phase (2005)

Hitch-Hiker's-guide-to-the-galaxy-Quintessential-phaseMOSTLY HARMLESS was broadcast as a fourth episode story on air and online right after the fourth series series between the 31st May and 23rd June 2005. The final series has a different and less pessimistic end than the books.

Some actors who played different parts in the first series are back in this final series : Rula Lenska (Lintilla), Jonathan Pryce (main actor of “Brazil” and already Zarniwoop but also the Autopilot in the second series) and Roy Hudd (Max Quordpleen). British comedian Griff Rys Jones was one of Douglas friend. “Above The Title” (the new producer) ‘s boss, Bruce Hyman plays Prosser.

> The Fifth Series Cast

VOICE OF THE BOOK & ZARQUON: William Franklyn
ARTHUR DENT: Simon Jones
FORD PREFECT: Geoffrey McGivern
MARVIN THE PARANOID ANDROID: Stephen Moore
TRICIA MCMILLIAN: Sandra Dickison
TRILLIAN: Susan Sheridan
ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX: Mark Wing-Davey
RANDOM: Samantha Béart
EDDIE / RECEPTIONIST / ACCOUNTANCY BIRD: Roger Gregg
THE BIRD: Rula Lenska
ZARNIWOOP: Jonathan Pryce
FENCHURCH: Jane Horrocks
PROPHET: John Challis
THOR: Dominic Hawskley
PROSSER: Bruce Hyman
MAX QUORDLEPLEEN: Roy Hudd
Several parts: Bob Golding
Several parts: Lorelei King
Several parts: Mike Fenton Stevens
OLD TRASHBARG: Griff Rhys Jones
GREBULON UNDERLING / ELVIS:Philip Pope
GREBULON LEADER / NEWSREADER 2: Andy Taylor
COLIN THE ROBOT: Andrew Secombe
SMELLY PHOTOCOPIER WOMAN: Miriam Margolyes
NEWSREADER: Neil Sleat

> The Fifth Series Staff

Produced by: Bruce Hyman & Helen Chatwell (Above the Title).
Directed by: Dirk Maggs
Script: Dirk Maggs
Studio FX: Ken Humphrey
Based on: Douglas Adams’ “Mostly Harmless”
Music: Paul Wix Wickens
Mix: Paul Deeley at THE SOUNDHOUSE

The Hexagonal Phase (2018)

The HEXAGONAL PHASE is based on “An Other Thing”, the sixth Hitchhiker book witten by Eoin Colfer and published in 2009. The adaptation is once more done by Dirk Maggs who also direct the new series.

> The Sixth Series Cast
VOICE OF THE BOOK: John Lloyd
ARTHUR DENT: Simon Jones
FORD PREFECT: Geoffrey McGivern
TRILLIAN: Sandra Dickison
ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX: Mark Wing-Davey
MARVIN THE PARANOID ANDROID: Jim Broadbent
RANDOM: Samantha Béart
WOWBAGGER: Toby Longworth
CONSTANT MOWN: Andy Secombe
HILLMAN HUNTER: Ed Byrne
THE CONSULTANT : Lenny Henry
Various roles: Tom Alexander, Theo Maggs and Philippe Bosher

> The Sixth Series Staff
Produced by: Dirk Maggs, Helen Chattwell and David Morley
Directed by: Dirk Maggs
Script: Dirk Maggs
Studio FX: Ken Humphrey
Based on: Eoin Colfer’ “And Another Thing…”
Music: Philip Pope
Mix: Paul Deeley at THE SOUNDHOUSE