The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a BBC television adaptation of Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy broadcast in January and February 1981 on UK television station BBC Two. The adaptation follows the original radio series in 1978 and 1980, the first novel and double LP, in 1979, and the stage shows, in 1979 and 1980, making it the fifth iteration of the guide.
It stars Simon Jones as Arthur Dent, David Dixon as Ford Prefect, Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox, Sandra Dickinson as Trillian and The voice of the guide is by Peter Jones.
Note: Simon Jones, Peter Jones, Stephen Moore and Mark Wing-Davey had already provided the voices for their characters in the original radio series in 1978/80. In addition, the series features a number of notable cameo roles, including Adams himself on several occasions.
Episode 1 begins with a pre-credits sequence, the only one of the TV episodes to have one. A countdown to the end of the world is displayed through animation, and the narrator begins telling the story of the Guide and Arthur Dent’s connection to it as the sun rises over the English countryside for the final time. Arthur wakes, discovers the threat to his house from a yellow bulldozer by looking out the window, and the camera pulls back to the titles. This episode closely follows the plot and dialogue of the first episode of the radio series, cutting the speech by Lady Cynthia Fitzmelton. It ends at a slightly earlier point than the radio episode, after Ford’s line “he might want to read us some of his poetry first”, and on a cliffhanger that Arthur and Ford are about to be discovered in a Vogon storeroom, but before the Vogon poetry is actually read…