Don't panic! Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in line for radio reboot

Show to return to BBC to mark 40th anniversary of its debut and will be adapted from Eoin Colfer’s And Another Thing...

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is to return to the BBC for the 40th anniversary of its radio debut.

Following a 12-year absence, a sixth series of the show – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Hexagonal Phase – will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 next year, and will feature many of the original cast.

The station first broadcast Douglas Adams’s science fiction radio comedy in 1978, followed by four further series between 1980 and 2005. It went on to spawn a hit series of books, a 1981 TV series, a computer game and a 2005 feature film.

The forthcoming six-part series will be adapted from Eoin Colfer’s And Another Thing... which was commissioned by the Douglas Adams estate in 2009 to mark the 30th anniversary of the first novel.

It will also include unpublished Hitchhiker material by Douglas Adams, sourced from notebooks and writings preserved in the library at St John’s College, Cambridge.

Simon Jones will continue in his role as protagonist Arthur Dent, as he travels through space and time following the destruction of Earth.

“It seems extraordinary that it’s been 40 years since we recorded the first pilot episode for BBC Radio,” he said. “How modest were our expectations then, and how amazing a worldwide phenomenon it became – and continues to be.

“I never expected to still be searching for a decent cup of tea and some kind of answer to Life, the Universe and Everything almost a lifetime later.

“The dressing gown and towel may be a little threadbare, but my voice, much to my surprise, hasn’t changed a decibel, and I can still talk Arthur’s ‘indignant-posh’.”

He is joined by fellow original cast members reprising their original roles: Geoffrey McGivern as Ford Prefect, Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox and Sandra Dickinson as Trillian (who played the role in the TV series), with special guest stars including Jane Horrocks as Fenchurch and John Lloyd as The Book.

The series will be produced by Dirk Maggs, who was chosen by Adams to bring the story back to the radio.

Jones added: “This may be the wittiest and most epic adventure yet. I’m especially pleased we’re in the talented hands of Dirk Maggs, who is better qualified than anyone to script and produce us.

“Over the years, we’ve lost some great friends, and we still miss them, but we’ve also gained other valued colleagues, and for this trip across the Galaxy we have a tip-top team all ready to do justice to Douglas’s unique and quixotic vision.”

The London Comic Con will unveil a preview of the new instalment at the end of the month.


Harrison Jones

The GuardianTramp

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