Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, The (BBC Sitcom, Simon Jones)

In scifi sitcom Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, after the Earth is demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass, Arthur Dent (Simon Jones) finds himself taken on a trip across the galaxy by his alien friend Ford Prefect (David Dixon).

Ford Prefect had always claimed to be from Guildford. Arthur, naturally enough, is extremely surprised when Ford reveals that he’s actually from a small planet near Betelgeuse.

Ford manages to hitch a lift on a Vogon spacecraft for himself and Arthur. Shortly afterwards, the Earth is destroyed.

Discovered by the Vogons, Arthur and Ford are ejected into space, where they are rescued from certain death by a stolen spacecraft crewed by Zaphod Beeblebrox (Mark Wing-Davey), Trillian (Sandra Dickinson) and Marvin the Paranoid Android (voiced by Stephen Moore).

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They all find themselves involved in the search for “the meaning of life, the universe and everything”.

Sandra Dickinson as Trillian with Marvin the paranoid android (voiced by Stephen Moore).

Hitch-Hikers of course is a phenomenon rather than a TV series. What started out as a radio series became a massively best selling book before arriving on TV. The TV version never had the budget to do the ideas of the series justice – in fact it’s ripe for a massive re-do (especially if we ignore the mid-2000’s big screen outing) – and although the animated take on the book was excellent as was the fabulous Paddy Kingsland music so much else looked like old Doctor Who sets.

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The success of the first book led to a landslide of associated material, not least four more books.

A planned second series never happened because Adams, who had a famous and notoriously bad habit of missing deadlines couldn’t come up with the scripts.

Cast: Peter Jones as The Book (voice only); Simon Jones as Arthur Dent; David Dixon as Ford Prefect; Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox; Sandra Dickinson as Trillian; Stephen Moore as Marvin (voice); David Learner as Marvin (body); Richard Vernon as Slartibartfast

Writer: Douglas Adams / Music: Paddy Kingsland / Animation: Rod Lord / Producer: Alan J.W. Bell

UK / BBC Two / 6×35 minute episodes / Broadcast 5 January – 9 February 1981 Mondays at 9.00pm

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.