Hitchhikers Guide- an experiment in adaptation.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:41 pm

{{There is an explanation at the end of this of the aim of it and brief explanations of the major changes. But it is an adaption of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy for television, a pilot episode if you will covering the story up to the destruction of the earth. Hope you enjoy it, its still an early draft but I wanted to share it and hopefully get some feedback on the concept at least. }}


The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy


Episode One


The End


Space. The Milky Way. Zooming in towards the heart of it to where the stars are densely packed and so too is the life. All accompanied by the title music Journey of the Magi and the titles.
A solar system, alive with ships in all shapes and sizes, space stations, and around one large planet a vast station round which are parked some very expensive ships. We continue to zoom in on the station, closer and finally through a window and into an immense hall stepped in darkness and full of shadowy figures in faded sky blue robes and coming in a huge variety of shapes and species.
At one end of the room on a podium stands another humanoid figure, also robbed and hooded, his face entirely concealed in darkness.


Halfgrunt: We are gathered in the memory and shadow of Majikthise and Vroomfondel, the greatest pundits who ever lived, you know.

Shadowy figures chanting: Majikthise and Vroomfondel!

Halfgrunt: And just as their great thinking saved our professions all those millions of years ago, putting is on a seven and half million year gravy train.

Followers: Gravy train!

Halfgrunt: So too must we now take up their mantel and robes of office once more, yes? For the Day, the Terrible and Dark Day of Answering is almost upon us. We who are gathered here, the galaxies best, greatest and above all, wealthiest psychiatrists, psychologists, revered Tri-D day time pundits, philosophers, Agony Aunts and mental health care specialists from throughout the Galaxy are those who have been chosen - all of us, all whose livelihoods and purpose for being are under threat once more, and it is we who must safeguard them, yes?
What do we demand?

Followers: Rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty.

Halfgrunt: And when do we want them?

Followers: All the time.

Halfgrunt: But this will not be so; certainty, surety, satisfaction, contentment, understanding, happiness, these must be prevented. All will be lost unless we act now. And it will not be cheap. We shall have to bribe the Galatic Civil Service, entice with cold hard cash those we need to fall to our side and do our bidding. We must give generously or else we all face the end of the line, forever. We must save the gravy train!

Followers: Save the gravy train!

Over the heads of the crowd a hologram appears of the planet Earth.


Halgrunt: To protect our livelihoods and bank accounts...

Followers: Bank Accounts!

Halfgrunt: This Abomination must go before the Time of Answering is upon us, yes?

There are cheers from the crowd except one hand which tentatively goes up.

Halfgrunt: Yes?

Follower: But are there not billions of people living there?

Halfgrunt: Well, they are unfortunately part of the problem, it all has to go. And well, there just people, you know?

The camera zooms in on the holographic Earth which becomes the real earth spinning in space.



Scene 2


As the title music Journey of the Magi plays the view zooms inwards and downwards towards Earth.


On Screen :

The Unfashionable Western Spiral Arm of the Galaxy.


Earth. You are Here. For Now.



Continuing to zoom in we go down through the atmosphere, all to the increasingly louder music of Louis Armstrong's 'It's a Wonderful Life' as we swoop over the English Channel, across the water, diving momentarily under the waves to where dolphins frolic and huge shoals of silver fish dart and weave before breaking the surface and with sea birds flying ahead in flocks onwards, over a planet teeming with life. On over the white cliffs of Dover on over woodlands and cattle in fields over the south-west of England, to just outside London and a bustling small town full of traffic and people, and to a single building within it. A local BBC radio station. Radio Southwest.
As we get closer to it we hear the ending of Louis Armstrong's 'Its A Wonderful World' now at full volume.
[/i]
Scene 3

Interior of a local radio station. Producing is Arthur Dent. Stressed and sweaty behind a glass sound proofed panel, with a headset half on, half off his head and a multitude of switches and buttons on the desk before him.

A red light is on indicating live broadcast in progress. And in the booth at a large desk covered in sheets of paper and microphones is the DJ Mike and beside him Tricia McMillan, the news reader.


Mike : And that was of course the one and only Luis Armstrong with 'It's a Wonderful World'. And it might be wonderful right now for all of you out there topping up your tan in this glorious English summertime, but we have a single sad cloud in our blue sky here at Radio Southwest, as for the very last time I turn to Tricia Macmillan before she leaves us all behind for the bright lights of London town and morning television, and say, “ Tricia! What's happening in the world today?”.

Behind the glass Arthur flicks a switch and thumbs up Tricia. On her desk before her a light goes green indicating her mic is live.

Tricia : Thanks Mike. Can I just say what a pleasure working here has been, since day one, and with so many great people...

Mike:  That's very nice of you to think of me as great Tricia, though modesty forbids...

Tricia: Especially all those that you don't usually hear from Mike, our producers...

She waves at Arthur through the glass.

Tricia: ...the runners who keep us topped up with our coffee and bagels every morning, the research team and of course my local news team, without whom I wouldn't have anything to say...

Mike: I don't think that could ever happen. Is it even possible?

Tricia: ..in fact the whole team here at Radio Southwest. Everyone has been so fantastic.

Mike coughs loudly for comedy effect.

Tricia: Almost everyone.

Mike repeats his cough louder and longer.

Tricia: OK a special thank you to the one and only, the legendary Mike Mills, without you Mike I have to admit I would never have gotten this opportunity.

Mike :That's very gracious of you to say that Tricia and of course absolutely true..

Tricia: Next to someone competent and talented I might not have looked anywhere near so good.

Mike goes to reply but deftly Arthur flicks off his mic, which Tricia notices as Mikes light goes to red. She smiles.

Tricia: So for the very last time from me and a little later than usual, here it is.
It is 11.32 on June 17th and this is what's happening in the world today. It's your news, weather and traffic report on Radio Southwest, with Tricia MacMillan.
The headlines today; there has been no change in the stalemate in Parliament today as in a heated debate on the economic crisis one MP accused of the government of 'caring more about the movements of small pieces of green paper' than they did the lives of real people, despite it not being the small pieces of green paper that were unhappy. In response the Government...

Fade out. Fade in post broadcast. The crew are mingling a few bottles of champagne have been uncorked and Tricia is being presented with a massive bloom of flowers.
Arthur is desperately trying to catch her eye and failing as one after the other station staff wish her well.
By the time Arthur squirms his way through she is clearly about to leave, putting her coat on.

Tricia: Arthur!

She hugs and kisses him on the cheek. He blushes in return and tenses.


Arthur: Great last show Tricia. We are going to miss you.

Tricia: Yes, you will! But why don't you come back to London? You are wasted here Arthur, you're one of the best producers in the business, everyone says so and yet here you are languishing out in the shires doing regional radio.

Arthur: I don't regret for one moment getting out of London.

Tricia: Well you might have got tired of the High Life but it is just a little too quiet around here for my tastes. Although between you and me, I'm shaking in my boots. But why don't you at least come to London with me tomorrow? You can show me around your old haunts, help me settle in.

Arthur: Yes, really yes, I'd love to! Oh, damn it, but I'm afraid I can't. I have a meeting in the village tomorrow, I'm Head of the PPC, the Parish Protest Committee so I have to be there.

Tricia: Oh, your bypass thing?

Arthur: Yes, that thing. Bad enough they are ruining my home life, wrecking the village and destroying our national heritage now they are ruining my social life too. You would not believe what they are planning to do next...

Tricia's assistant enters and waves to her from the doorway.


Tricia: Sorry Arthur, my taxi is here, I have to dash. Shame about tomorrow. But look you can tell me all about your bypass thing next week.

Arthur: Next week?

Tricia: Next Friday I am having a flat warming party in my new place. I'll send you the new address, it's in Islington, make sure you come. And I am not taking no for an answer, I don't even care if they are knocking your house down, I expect you to be there! Oh and I have a new phone.

She grabs a scrap of paper and a pen off a nearby desk and quickly writes down her phone number on it – 022767091 – and stuffs it into Arthur's hands.

Tricia: Just in case you have trouble finding it. I have to go, I am being interviewed for the Mail this afternoon. See you next week, make sure you are there or I'll be very cross with you.

Arthur: Oh, I will.

Tricia: Oh and Arthur?

Arthur: Yes Tricia?

Tricia: It's fancy dress.

Arthur: Ah.

Tricia leaves and Arthur hurries back to his desk and to his mobile phone, he brings up the numbers list and selects Ford from it. After a few rings it is answered.

Arthur: Ford?

Ford: Hi Arthur. How are you?

Arthur: I need a wingman.

Ford: What now? I'm at an audition.

Cut to Ford siting in a bar drinking something small, very alcoholic and with an umbrella in it. He has his satchel, which is permanent attire around his shoulder. There is something odd about Ford hard to put the finger on, partly that he blinks a lot less than normal.

Arthur: Really? Ford, have you ever actually got a part in anything?

Ford: You wound me Arthur! Wound! Do you know what a precarious position a jobbing actor in London is in? The daily grind of rejection. The soul searching. The endless late nights learning lines and eating cold pizza.

He waves to the barman to cue up two more drinks onto the bar top. These ones are on fire.

Arthur: Well if you can find the time away from your very busy rehearsal schedule I need you to come to a party with me.

Ford: Will there be free drinks?

Arthur: Yes.

Ford: Girls?

Arthur: I would imagine so, yes.

Ford: Dancing?

Arthur: Yes!

Ford: Ok, I'm in. But why do you need me there?

Arthur: Because I want you to help me get some time alone with a girl.

Ford: Ah, I see. Any girl in particular or we just picking one at random?

Arthur looks around himself, his work colleagues to close for his liking and makes his way quickly over to the window where he is alone.


Arthur: No, very much one in particular. Tricia MacMillan.

Ford: And you want me to help you get her alone?

Arthur: Exactly.

Ford: At a party full of people?

Arthur: It is probably my last chance before she forgets forever I even exist, and she is charming, thoughtful, devastatingly intelligent and beautiful, everything I've been saving myself up for. So yes, at a party full of people. OK?

Ford: Arthur?

Arthur: Yes, Ford?

Ford: You better not be lying about the free drinks.

Arthur hangs up and stares out of the window onto the bustling street outside, and then up into the blue sky.


Scene 4

Following his gaze we leave Earth behind, rising up through its atmosphere and back out into space, then accelerating up till the arms of the Milk Way are once more visible before plunging towards the galactic core and stars densely packed, then finally into a region of bright space where a fleet of large lumpy angular yellow space ships sit.
Zoom into the top of the lead shop, into its bridge and to where Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz sits in his Captains chair smashing jewelled crabs with a hammer and eating them whilst talking to someone on a view panel by his side, it is Halfgrunt the famous Galactic psychiatrist and leader of the conspiracy to demolish Earth.

Jeltz: I can't do a thing without proper authorisation, signed in triplicate.

Halfgrunt: It is all arranged, they should be reaching you any moment now. Timing is crucial after all. Now in the meantime, is there anything you would like to tell me about yourself? Perhaps about your mother?

Jeltz: No.

Halfgrunt: Ah well, so be it, I can sense there is a blockage there, some childhood trauma mmm? Perhaps we can get you on the couch sometime and delve deeper later, yes?

A young Vogon soldier enters bearing an electronic PAD. He salutes rather clumsily and hands it to Jeltz who dismisses him with a gesture.


On the PAD  a map spins displaying a space route through several star systems. Jeltz taps on the route in one system.
A red official Vogon seal of approval to commence operations appears, written in Vogon and signed in triplicate. Under it a single large box appears, an empty tick box. And next to it a single distinguishable word 'Earth.'

Jeltz: Everything seems to be in order, approved and signed for. It's just another demolition job for my lads now.

Halfgrunt: Good. Yes, very good. And remember Jeltz, it is imperative to myself and those whom I represent that there be no survivors, not a single one, or it all will have been for nothing.

Jeltz: Why? I thought you wanted the planet demolished?

Halfgrunt: I do. As to why you do not need to know that Prostetnic Vogon to perform your orders, suffice to say that if you examine those orders you will see we have been very careful with the wording.

Jeltz: (glancing at the order PAD) 'Hereby authorize the destruction of the planet designated earth under subsection 423Z/B of the Galativ Hypersapce Planning Committee', etc etc, ah, 'the complete demolistion of the planet and all lying therein.'

Haflgrunt: So you see, there is your clause Jeltz, all that lies therein, including therefore all those inhabitants upon it. It is very, very important to my associates that there be no survivors of the demolition. Until the planet and all those who dwell upon at are no more, the job is not complete. Is that understood, yes?

Jeltz: You did your job Halfgrunt, let me do mine.

Jeltz flicks it off.

Barking at the crew Jeltz gives the order and the Vogon fleet moves off and into hyperspace leaving behind just stars.


Scene 5

Cross-fade from the stars of the empty space vacated by the Vogons to the early evening stars above the small village of Crudley Arthur calls home.




On Screen:
                                                   
Time Until The End of the World:
1 week, 2 days, 9 hours, 52 minutes and 10 seconds.

It begins counting down and fades away.

Close in on the local pub, the Horse and Groom, and within it a noisy meeting is underway.
On a small elevated platform at one end near the dartboard is Lady Snorsberry and several Councillors and officials. Before them is an increasingly angry and vocal group of villagers, Arthur among them.


Lady Snorsberry: One would think that it would be with immense pride and honour, knowing how it will benefit all commuters in the region for generations to come, that you would welcome this prestigious bypass going through your cruddy little village...

This is met with howls of protest and derision.

Lady Snorsberry: I am very sorry, your little village of Crudley, bringing with it, as it surely shall new work in the services industry and benefits to all who remain.

Villager: What benefits? It'll go right through my fields. It'll not be of any bloody benefit to my crops.

Villager 2:  Nor mine!

Villager 3: It'll go bang through the middle of the village Green too! What about the cricket and the ducks? Sir Walter Raleigh once fell drunk in that duck pond.

Arthur: Never mind that it goes slap, bang through my house!

Lady Snorsberry: The new Crudley Services Station on the old, little used, Green will provide not only rest and refreshments to the weary travellers of the new Crudley bypass but will be to the benefit of all the remaining local community.

Arthur: How can it be to the benefit of the community when you are planning to bulldoze half the community to build the wretched thing?

Lady Snorsberry: It shall be a great boon to the other half.

This is met by jeers from the villagers.

Arthur: And you didn't exactly go out of your way to tell anyone about it did you? We only found out last week when some workmen came to the village. Oh they didn't tell us right away of course, no first they said they'd come to mow the Green and charged the Parish Council two hundred quid, then they told us.

Lady Snosberry: But the plans have been on display in your local planing office for the past five months.

Arthur: On display?! Oh yes. I went to the planing office as soon as we heard and requested to see them.

Lady Snosberry: Then you saw the plans?

Arthur: Yes, eventually. I had to go down to the basement, with a torch.

Councillor: That is the Display Floor. The lights had probably gone.

Arthur: So had the stairs! When I eventually did find the plans they were on display in a locked filing cabinet in a disused toilet with a sign on the door saying 'beware of the leopard'.

Lady Snosberry: Yes, but the plans were there.

More howls of protest and derision and anger.

Lady Snosberry: I am sorry but it is simply too late to lodge a formal protest now. This bypass has to be built and it is going to be built.



Scene 6

On Screen:
                                                   
Time Until The End of the World:
                                             6 days, 21 hours, 58 minutes and 31 seconds

The exterior of Tricia's new flat in Islington where a party is already underway. At the door Arthur and Ford arrive on her floor in the lift. It opens to reveal they are wearing matching Rhino costumes with 'Save the Rhino' written on them. After awkwardly squeezing out the lift Arthur rings the doorbell and Tricia opens the door,she is dressed as an Egyptian goddess.

Tricia: Arthur? It is Arthur in there isn't it?

Arthur: Yes, hello. You look fabulous Tricia. Cleopatra?

Tricia: Isis. Save the Rhino?

Arthur: Well like an idiot I forgot to pre-order something and this was all I could get at short notice.

Tricia: Well come in. If you can fit through.

Arthur and Ford squeeze through the door and into the flat which is tastefully and trendily decorated. There is also a cage on a table near the door which contains among the sawdust and news paper and wheels and small wooden houses, two white mice who are seemingly observing the party with great interest.


Ford: Hello, I'm Ford, Arthur's friend. Did someone mention drinks?

Tricia: No.

Ford: Ah well it must have been me just now then. Which way?

Tricia: To the drinks?

Ford: Indeed, to the drinks.

Tricia: In the kitchen, that way.

Ford: I thank you from the bottom of my heart (Ford pats himself somewhere about the lower stomach where his heart is actually located and pushes by in his rhino costume)

Arthur: Ford!

Ford: Oh yes, my friend here would very much appreciate the opportunity to spend some time alone with you at some point this evening, you know, to get to know you better.
There, now what was so difficult about that Arthur? If you need me again I'll be with the drinks cabinet. Good luck.

Arthur (face beetroot with embarrassment): I am very sorry about him, I think he might have started drinking before we left, or possibly at birth.

Tricia: It's fine Arthur, he seems, interesting.

Arthur: He is an actor. Or would be if he ever actually got a part.

Tricia: That already explains quite a lot. Look why don't you go get yourself a drink too and do some mingling. Oh and Arthur.

Arthur: Yes?

Tricia: We can talk later, once I've finished being a good hostess.


Scene 7

Later that evening at the party.


On screen :

Time Until The End of the World:
 6 days, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 45 seconds



Ford has a woman corned in the kitchen and is talking animatedly to her.

Ford: Green ones, yes, ideally. They don't have to be, the colour is not that important, but green ones are best. Would you like to come up to the roof with me and see if we can spot any?

Various party goers are strewn around the living room, slow dance music plays and several couples are slow dancing.

Arthur and Tricia are plonked down on a couch together with a drink.


Tricia: So come on, tell me, why did you really give it all up? London, a promising career in production. You could be in tv by now. I could imagine you producing Panorama or something equally dry but worthy. It wasn't a scandal was it? I can't imagine you ever doing anything scandalous.

Arthur: I can be scandalous, at the appropriate time and place. Neither has ever actually come up so no, there was no scandal. It just wasn't what I wanted.

Tricia: Then what did you want? Cows, fields and protesting against the destruction of rural Britain by bypass?

Arthur: Drinking tea and eating cucumber sandwiches while watching the cricket on the village Green, warm hazy Sunday afternoons in the pub reading the papers over a pint. Sitting in the garden with a really fresh pot of hot tea and the smell of a newly mown lawn. No bustle, no constant streams of traffic or people making demands of you or getting in the way. Air you can actually breath. All those things are, it turned out, exactly what I really wanted.

Tricia: Sounds awful! I just can't stay still that way. I have to push myself. I don't know what I might be capable of if I don't try to find out. But at the same time I am terrified of trying. Does that make sense?

Arthur: I tend to find if something terrifies me I want to avoid it.

Tricia: I spent four years at uni Arthur. I worked bloody hard to get a degree in astrophysics and I've traded it all in for a chance to make features on cute animals and fill airtime with celebrity gossip. From Dark Matter to vacuous matter. Is that even rational? Probably not. Is it a risk? Damn right it is, and yes that's scary. But not taking the risk? That's even more scary. Even if I am terrified I'll fail trying.

Arthur:  You won't. You are doing the right thing Tricia. Really, you are. You are a natural at this stuff. They are going to love you.

Tricia:  Oh I know I am doing the right thing, I am just worried it doesn't pan out. Everything is a stepping stone to somewhere Arthur, you just have to be willing to take the leap,

Arthur: Yes well most of the ones I've stepped onto turned out to have a bad wobble and a tendency to throw you off into the water. Metaphorically speaking. I mean I get myself a nice little house in the country, everything I've ever wanted, and no sooner have I got my slippers and dressing gown on and settled in than some bugger in the council wants to knock it down.

Tricia: Well I for one would rather take the risk and lose than not risk it at all. That's just me. I gave up a promising science career on a whim for radio, and it paid off, now I'm taking another risk on TV. Maybe that will pay off too and lead to something even bigger, maybe even American tv, or maybe it will be a disaster and I'll be back to the dole queue on Monday and worrying about Black Holes. But not to even try? I have to.

Arthur: Well maybe I am just a little more risk adverse than you, or just more unlucky, but I think you are underestimating the value in peace, quiet and  the soothing power of a good hot cup of tea.

Tricia: Well this is supposed to be a party! So no tea for you tonight, and no more fretting about careers or bypasses for either of us, but you can get me another drink. And then I am getting you up for a dance.

Arthur gets up and taking Tricia's glass goes to get new drinks.

Enter Zaphod Beeblebrox, he is dressed like a pirate and his second head is concealed inside a parrot cage which has a cover over it.

Zaphod:(head1) : Hey, is that guy boring you? Why don't you come and talk to me instead?
(Head 2): I'm from a different planet. Pieces of Eight! (both heads laugh as Tricia stares curious and puzzled)


Arthur having got the drinks returns to find the couch empty, scanning the room for signs of Tricia he is just in time to see her leaving with someone. He tries to follow, but is hampered by his Rhino suit. And whilst attempting to hurry after Tricia he inadvertently indulges in some light slapstick knocking peoples drinks over and the like and spending a lot of o time on his way out saying 'sorry' a lot and by the time he makes it out the flat it is only in-time to see the lift doors closing and the lift descending. Cursing Arthur makes for the stairs and puzzled and anxious hurries down them.




Scene 8

Outside the flat Tricia and Zaphod exit the lift and are making for the front doors in a hurry. Tricia has under one arm a cage with her containing her two white mice, Frankie and Benji.


Zaphod: Hey, do we really need the pets?

Tricia: Well I am not leaving them behind. Wait! Hold up. Damn it, I forgot my handbag. It has my phone, my make-up, my entire life in fact in it. Take my mice for me, wait here I'll go back and get it, I wont be long.

Zaphod (Head 1): Hey Sweetcheeks, Zaphod Beeblebrox, President of this entire Galaxy. Head of the Imperial Galactic Government. Cooler than a Ventulan ice lizard, in a fridge. Ten out of ten for style. RHG: Real Hoopy Guy. I don't do waiting. Yeah? Other people wait for me. And I definitely do not pet sit. It's now or never.

Tricia: (hesitates) Oh hell, I suppose I can find another bag.

They head for the exterior doors to the block of flats as Arthur, out of breath and red in the face makes it down to ground level via the stairwell.

Arthur: Tricia! Wait. Where are you going? You can't leave your own party. I thought we were going to have a dance?

Tricia: Oh Arthur, I'm sorry. Go back inside, enjoy the rest of the party.

Arthur: Why? What's going on? And why are you taking your white mice with you? And who is this? Are you not at least going to introduce us?

Tricia: What? Yes, of course, this is, Phil.

Zaphod (Head 1) : Hey you heard the lady, beat it.

Arthur: I think you will find, Phil, the lady is perfectly capable of speaking for herself, is that no so Tricia?

Tricia: Yes she can, and she is asking you to go back to the party Arthur. Now. Just leave it, OK? Please? Don't ruin this chance for me.

Arthur: What chance?

Tricia: The biggest stepping stone ever Arthur. Now please, go back inside, enjoy the rest of the party, go find your odd friend before he drinks the place dry.

Zaphod (head 1): You heard her monkeyman.

Arthur: Monkeyman?

Zaphod (head 2): Monkeyman! Monkeyman! Pieces of eight!

Arthur: What is that? Have you actually got a real parrot under there?

Tricia: Arthur no!

Arthur reaches up and snatches the cover from the cage revealing Zaphod's laughing second head.
Staring in disbelief as Zaphod, heads still laughing ,gives a wave with all three hands. Arthur passes out and keels over backwards, rocking gently in his Rhino suit as everything goes to black.



Scene 9


The blackness of space, Earth hanging in it. Zooming out past Earth, past the major planets to very edge of the solar system the Vogon fleet exits hyperspace.
On the bridge of the lead ship Jeltz is looking at a view screen displaying a map of the solar system and their route through it to Earth.
Jeltz grunts an order and the screen resolves to show Earth. Jeltz smiles evilly and looks down at his PAD with its check box next to Earth.


Scene 10
On screen:

Time Until The End of the World:
11 hours, 52 minutes and 22 seconds


Ford's bedsit in Guildford, London. He is perched on the windowsill, the window open drinking a beer and talking on the phone with Arthur, who is at home in his dressing gown drinking a cup of tea. On Ford's bed sits his satchel.

Ford: So how did it go with that girl?

Arthur: Tricia? That was almost a week ago Ford. Where have you been anyway?

Ford: I've been busy, auditioning.

Arthur: For what? A part as a bar stool?

Ford: You can be very cruel at times Arthur Dent. So, what happened?

Arthur: Nothing happened. I missed my chance and I haven't heard a word from her since and she doesn't reply to any of my messages. It's over before it even began. And I think I may have done something stupid and made a fool of myself.

Ford: You? Surely not?

Arthur: Well I must have done something wrong as I am pretty sure she left with someone else.

Ford: Hold on, you did something so bad she left her own flat-warming party with someone else just to get away from you? That's impressive Arthur, even for you.  

On the bed, through the cloth of the satchel a light begins to blink on and off.

Arthur: Well I'm not really sure what happened. Actually Ford I think someone might have spiked my drink, it wasn't you was it? Because, I mean I know it was fancy-dress, but I could have sworn the man she left with had two...

From Ford's satchel a low regular beeping begins and Ford stares at the light, eyes widening.


Ford: Arthur I'll call you back.

Arthur: What? Why? I haven't told you what hap...

Ford hangs up and dives for his satchel. He pulls out of it a sheaf of scripts from the top throwing them carelessly to the floor, then a large bath towel followed by a flat book shaped object, it has the words “Don't Panic' written on it in large friendly letters which he lays beside himself on the bed. Its Ford's personal copy of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Next he takes a cylindrical object, he flips it with his thumb and the top opens and it hums gently. He closes it again with a satisfying click and lays it down next to his copy of the Guide. And lastly, diving into the satchel he pulls out a small squat device with a blinking light on it, it is emitting a regular pulse.
Ford pulls a antennae out of the top of it and a small device from the side of it and shoves  it into one ear and sliding his index finger across a barely visible panel he tunes in his sub-ether radio and his face solely falls at what he hears.

Ford: Of all the races in the galaxy that could have said a big hello to the people of planet Earth, it had to be the Vogons!

He stares upwards worriedly into the night sky out his open window.


Scene 11


Leaving Fords window behind and flying up from the planet and out into space, past the planets, past the Vogon fleet en-route and ever accelerating, deep deep into empty space as the stars grow thinner away from the galactic core. And finally to a new solar system, and a new planet with several moons. There are satellites, a space station, and shuttles hurrying back and forth to the planet below. A water world with one large island with upon it a huge military complex and shipyard. And on the immense ocean, whizzing across it in a boat that doesn't quite touch the surface, save a keel that sends up a huge wave behind it just for show are two people, Tricia now going under the name Trillian, and Zaphod Beebelbrox, resplendent in his full Presidential robes and orange sash of office.

Trillian: Zaphod, why are you doing this?

Zaphod (Head 1): I'm the President, launching ships and waving at people is kind of my job, you know?

Trillian: That's not what I meant and you know it. Why are you doing this?

Zaphod (Head 2): Adventure, excitement...
(Head 2) : really wild things?

Trillian: I am never sure when you are being genuinely stupid Zaphod and when your only pretending to be stupid.

Zaphod (Head 2): Hey! I lead a very complex life, I don't always know why I do things.

Trillian: So you are going to go through with this, and you don't even know why?

Zaphod pulls from his top pocket a small data chip.

Zaphod (head 1): Magrathea baby.

Trillian: You really believe it exists and that you can find it?

Zaphod (Head 1): Nope.
(Head 2): But I really believe this ship can.

Trillian: Why?

Zaphod (Head 2): I have absolutely no idea.
(Head 1) :But it's sure as Zarquon going to be a wild ride finding out.
(Head2) : So stop bugging me.



Scene 12

Pulling back from the boat reveals that high above it a drone is flying and filming them.
The view switches to that of the drone, then that view is itself pulled back to just be a screen streaming the live event on Galactic News.

An insectoid newsreader with a clipped pristine cut glass voice is reading the news in an overtly cheerful manner, and occasionally twitching its wings. Her co-host is humanoid, but green.
In accompaniment to what the newsreaders say there are visual aids showing file footage, picture profiles of varies aliens mentioned as they go along and in one corner, enlarged as needed the live stream of the President arriving in his boat. All presented in a rolling 24hour news style.


Newsreader: We will of course be staying live here at the scene on this previously top secret test facility hidden on Damogran, far out from civilised worlds in the extreme reaches of the largely uninhabited, at least by anyone who matters, western spiral arm. And I can tell you, boy is it dull out here.
President Beeblebrox has garnered quite the reputation for outrage, making him the darling of late night Tri-D tv hosts. Is that not right, Klenk?

Newsreader 2: Adventurer, manic self-publicist, confidence trickster and the inventor of the famed Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, a drink described by the Hitchhikers Guide's as like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.
Beeblebrox is the only President to have given Presidential addresses from a jail cell and the hot-tub of Eccentric Gallumbits the Triple-breasted Whore of Eroticon Six, so any speech from this President is guaranteed to send every Tri-D news station in the galaxy into a frenzy.

Newsreader 1: It has also made him the most popular Galactic President in recorded history according to the latest galactic polling. Though according to the same poll everyone in the galaxy owns two-thirds of a wokonion hyena and has 2.5 legs, so take that with a large pinch of Zansabracken salt.

Newsreader 2: And I'm just hearing, yes, we can go over now to the landing bay where we are expecting the arrival of the President.

Newsreader 3: Yes, I am here at the docking station where you can see the gaggle of press from across the galaxy and behind me there waiting to be presented to President Beeblebrox you can see the team of engineers who have created this incredible new ship, the Heart of Gold and the Heart itself of course, the golden Improbability Drive which powers it.

Newsreader 1: Is that a Hooloovoo I see behind you?

Newsreader 3: It is indeed, the usually shy but super-intelligent shade of  the colour blue has been temporary refracted in a prism for today's presentation and launch, a mark of respect for the remarkable historic work done here with this breakthrough in improbability physics. I believe you have more on that back in the studio.

Newsreader 2: We sure do. For centuries the scientific community has known how to create a small finite improbability field using a submeson brain suspended in a Brownian motion fluid, but do you know H'lrit the one thing they really could not stand?

Newsreader 1: No, do tell Klenk.

Newsreader 2: It  was their constant failure to create the near infinite field needed to flip a starship almost instantaneously across the vast distances of space without all that tedious mucking about in hyperspace, and so they declared such a drive a virtual impossibility and the research was abandoned.
Enter Holfip Potts, a student at the Galactic Science Academy who found himself reasoning that if such a drive was a virtual impossibility, then it must logically be a finite improbability, and all he had to do therefore was work out how improbable it was to create one, feed that number into a sub-meson brain, give it a fresh, really hot beverage and turn it on. And he was amazed to find he had created the long sought after Improbability Drive out of thin air.

Newsreader 1: That is an incredible uplifting story. And what an achievement fro the young student.

Newsreader 2: Sadly he is not here today to witness the fruits of his work. Shorty after being surprised to receive the Galactic Science Academies top prize for Extreme Cleverness  he was even more surprised to be lynched by a rampaging mob of respectable physicist who had finally worked out the one thing they really couldn't stand was a smart arse.

The view cuts to the streaming footage of Zaphod's boat arriving at the destination.

Newsreader 1 : Sorry to interrupt that tragic tale but here on Damogran the President is arriving as we speak.

Newsreader 3: The President now making his way up the gangway towards the gathered dignitaries and towards the podium.

Newsreader 2: As we watch the President shaking hands with the engineers and staff on Damogran I can tell you that the ship herself is estimated to have cost a staggering 68 quadrillion Tri-ganic Pews and incorporates the very latest in Sirius Cybernetics AI and robots, making the Heart of Gold not just the most advanced vessel in the Galaxy but also a playbeings dream.

Newsreader 1: A suitable match for our current President then. Lets hope that it is smooth sailing as there have been reports of some issues during her space trials have there not?

Newsreader 3: That's right. Word among the Press Core is that during one test flight the effect of the drive improbably created a mass of fried eggs almost half a mile wide.

Newsreader 1: That is one big fry up.

Newsreader 3: Sadly for the sole survivor on the planet Gloopstrand whose only tribe had died out of starvation it certainly was. As on the verge of death the entire wobbly eggy mass landed right in front of him. Unfortunately by the time the investigators found him he was already dead from cholesterol poisoning. We have been told that such improbable side effects may be probable every time the drive is used. Probably.

Newsreader 1: Sorry to stop you there, but the President is now approaching the podium. Lets hear what legendary words he has for the ages and the galaxy this time.

Zaphod takes to the podium which has a large button on it. Trillian is by his side he raises two of his three arms to quieten the applauding crowd. Both his heads grin devilishly as a tightly packed double row of the galaxies press lean forward eager and ready to capture the Presidents words for prosperity.

Zaphod (Head 1): Hi.
(Head 2) Hi.

Suddenly he hits the button with a sudden smash of his third hand.

Behind Zaphod there is an explosion of fireworks and laser lights in every colour as the wall turns transparent revealing beyond a huge half dome, immense and gleaming. The dome cracks and unfolds, splitting apart in two halves to reveal within it the Heart of Gold.  A hundred and fifty  metres long, shaped like a sleek running shoe, perfectly white and perfectly beautiful.

Zaphod (Head 2): Wow!

The press snap wildly and happily and hang on Zaphods every word.


Zaphod (Head 1): Wow! That is really amazing.
(Head 2): That really is truly amazing.
(Head 1): That is so amazingly amazing...
Head 2) : I think I'd like to steal it.

He winks at Trillian with Head 1 and raising one hand Zaphod whoops and throws down a Paralyso-Matic bomb, instantly freezing everyone around them. The news stream crackles and cuts back to the studio as Zaphod grabs Trillian by the hand and runs towards the Heart of Gold with her.

Newsreader: Um, breaking news! It would appear President Beeblebrox is in the process of stealing the Heart of Gold which he was supposed to be launching. Surpassing all expectations, and viewing figures, even for this President. We will of course stay with this incredible breaking story. And, one moment, we have footage from our Eye in the Upper Sky...

Cut to show the Heart of Gold ascending up out of the planets atmosphere.

Newsreader: We are receiving a broadcast from within the Heart of Gold. We believe from President Beeblebrox himself.

Zaphod appears on the crackling screen. He is on the bridge of the Heart of Gold.

Zaphod (both heads): Byyeeee!

On the screen the Heart of Gold vanishes in a flash leaving behind only several tons of brightly coloured confetti and party streamers  floating in space.


Scene 13

On screen:

Time Until The End of the World:
1 hour, 58 minutes and 15 seconds




Cut from confetti in space to confetti on a phone screen saver, the phone rings and the name 'Russell' flashes up on the screen.
A street in Richmond London, it is early morning.
A woman named Fenchurch answers her phone as she walks along the street towards a cafe.


Fenchurch: You don't need to keep checking up on me Russell, I told you I am fine and if I am not there is nothing either of us can do about it anyway.............I went for the tests I would I have thought you would be happy about that.......I told you, it's not like a headache exactly it's more a pressure.......that's not the same thing Russell....its like, like I'm a kettle boiling, there's this big pressure building up inside me, not just my head, all of me. But I'm not ready to boil yet, as if it's not the right time yet.....that's not crazy..... and no, I don't need you phoning me up to check on me all day.....and don't call me Fenny, you know I hate it.

She hangs up and goes into the cafe door.


Cut to Arthur emerging bleary eyed from his bedroom door. He is wearing his pyjamas and thick dressing gown and his slippers. His hair is tousled, his face tired.



On screen:
Time Until The End of the World:
47 minutes and 13 seconds



Arthur yawns and staggers to his bathroom, he adjusts his shaving mirror which is at an angle and momentarily out the open bathroom window it reflects a large yellow bulldozer.
Arthur grimaces at his reflection in the mirror and splashes water on his face and reaches for his razor.


Time Until The End of the World:
31 minutes and 57 seconds


Cut to Arthur entering his kitchen, he grabs the kettle, as he fills it at the tap the yellow bulldozer is reflected, distorted in its chrome surface.

Time Until The End of the World:
25 minutes and 27 seconds


Cut to him sitting down at his kitchen table, tea made, the tv is on in the background showing BBC news and dull coverage of the House of Commons. He absent-mindedly picks up the newspaper on the table and begins to read it.

Arthur: Yellow.

He continues reading.

Arthur: Yellow....yellow? Yellow!

He leaps up from the table to the window and  looks outside where a large yellow bulldozer is starting up its engine and in a panic runs from the house.
On the TV there is breaking news, as above the TV and out the window we can see Arthur running toward the bulldozer in arm waving anger.


Newsreader: In breaking news there are multiple reports coming in from across the globe that entire pods of dolphins, and in fact dolphins from aquariums globally as well as from the oceans have apparently vanished. Scientists seem utterly baffled at this time as to what can have happened to the planets dolphin populations but one man in California claims that.....


Scene 14


A Portakabin on the building site outside Arthur's house, several bulldozers, portable loos and workman stand about and a small band of protesters with placards have gathered.

In the Portakabins is site foreman Mr Prosser. There is a knock at the door.


Cut to Prosser and another workman who is explaining something to Prosser as they walk towards Arthur's house. Mr Prosser goes alone to approach the large yellow bulldozer in front of Arthur's house, its engine is revving, smoke billows from its exhaust and the frustrated driver looks on with annoyance as Prosser arrives.
Prosser indicates with a chopping motion across his neck to the driver to cut the engine.
He walks round to the front of the machine, where lying in the mud before the huge blade is Arthur.


Prosser: Mr Dent?

Arthur: Hello? Yes?

Prosser: You can't win you know. You can't lie in front of the bulldozer indefinitely.

Arthur: I'm game. We'll see who rusts first.

Prosser: I'm afraid your going to have to accept it. It's not like it's a particularly nice house.

Arthur: I happen to like it.

Prosser: You'll like the bypass.

Arthur: Oh shut up! Shut up and sod off and take your bloody bypass with you. You haven't got a leg to stand on and you know it.

Prosser: Mr Dent.

Arthur: Yes?

Prosser: Have you any idea how much damage this bulldozer would suffer if I just let it roll straight over you?

Arthur: How much?

Prosser: None at all.

Prosser storms off and Arthur, folding his arms determinately across his chest lies back in the dirt. A shadow falls across him and he squints up.

Ford: Arthur!

Arthur: Ford!

Ford: (staring manically at the sky then back at Arthur) Look, are you busy?

Arthur: Am I busy? Well, I've just got all these bulldozers to lie in front of or they'll knock my house down if I don't, but other than that, well, no, not especially, why?

Ford: Good, is there anywhere we can talk?

Arthur: I was being sarcastic!

Ford: Ah, were you? (he stares fixedly at the sky then suddenly squats beside Arthur and grabs him by the dressing gown lapels) We've got to talk.

Arthur: Fine. Talk.

Ford: And drink. It's vitally important that we talk and drink. Now. In the pub.

Arthur: Look Ford you don't understand. That man wants to knock my house down!

Ford: Well, he can do that while you're away, can't he?

Arthur: But I don't want him too!

Ford: Ah. (he stares at the sky again)

Arthur: What's the matter with you, Ford?

Ford: Nothing. Nothing's the matter. (He grabs Arthur again fiercely) Listen to me- I've got to tell you the most important thing you've ever heard. I've got to tell you now, and I've got to tell you in the saloon bar of the Horse and Groom.

Arthur: Why?

Ford: Because you are going to need a very stiff drink.

Arthur: But what about my house?

Ford: He wants to knock your house down?

Arthur: Yes.

Ford: And he can't because you're lying in front of his bulldozer?

Arthur: Yes, and...

Ford: I'm sure we can come to some arrangement. Excuse me!

Prosser: Yes? Has Mr Dent come to his senses yet?

Ford: Can we for the moment assume he hasn't?

Prosser: Well?

Ford: And can we also assume that he's going to be staying there all day?

Prosser: So?

Ford: So all your men are going to be standing about all day doing nothing.

Prosser: Could be, could be.

Ford: Well, if you're resigned to doing that anyway, you don't actually need him to lie here all the time, do you?

Prosser: Well no, not exactly need.

Ford: So if you would just like to take it as read he's actually here, then he and I could slip off down the pub for half an hour. How does that sound? And if you want to pop off for a quick one yourself later on we can always cover for you in return.

Prosser: Thank you very much...that's very kind.

Ford: So if you would just like to come over here and lie down.

Prosser: What?

Ford: Ah, I'm sorry perhaps I hadn't made myself fully clear. Somebody's got to lie in front of the bulldozer haven't they? Or there won't be anything to stop them driving into Mr Dent's house, will there?

Prosser: What?

Ford: It's very simple. My client, Mr Dent, says that he will stop lying here in the mud on the sole condition that you come and take over from him.

Arthur: Ford?

Ford gives Arthur a kick to be quiet.


Prosser: You want me, to come and lie there.

Ford: Yes.

Prosser: In front of the bulldozer?

Ford: Yes

Prosser: Instead of Mr Dent.

Ford: Yes

Prosser: In the mud.

Ford,: In, as you say, the mud.

Prosser: In return for which you will take Mr Dent with you down the pub?

Ford: That is it exactly.

Prosser: Promise?

Ford: Promise. Come on Arthur get up, let the man lie down.

To laughs from workmen and protesters alike Prosser lies down in the mud.


Ford: And no sneaky knocking Mr Dent's house down whilst he is away, all right?

Prosser: The mere thought hadn't ever begun to speculate about the merest possibility of crossing my mind.

Ford pulls Arthur away and towards the pub.


Arthur: But can we trust him?

Ford: Myself, I'd trust him to the end of the Earth.

Arthur: Yes and how far's that?

Ford: About twelve minutes away. Come on, I need a drink.


Scene 15

Far above them the Vogon fleet passes the Moon and begins to disperse around Earth.






Scene 16

At the cafe in Richmond Fenchurch has got herself a coffee and is sitting alone at a table. She is staring blankly and somewhat worryingly ahead, unseeing, with a half-smile on her face. Her phone is lying on the table in front of her.





Scene 17


The saloon bar of the Horse and Groom.

On screen:

Time Until The End of the World:
8 minutes and 21 seconds



Ford: Six pints of bitter. And quickly please, the world's about to end.

Barman: Oh yes? Nice weather for it. Going to watch the match this afternoon, then?

Ford: No, no point.

Barman: Oh yes, you said the world was about to end. Here you go then, six pints.

Ford: Keep the change.

Barman: From a fifty? Thank you.

Ford: You've got less than ten minutes to spend it.

Ford takes Arthur to a quieter window seat. Outside in the distance is Arthur's house and the bulldozers.


Arthur: Ford would you please tell me what the hell is going on?

Ford: Drink up you've got three pints to get through.

Arthur: Why three pints?

Ford: Muscle relaxant, you'll need it.

Arthur: Muscle relaxant?

Ford: Drink. How long have we known each other Arthur?

Arthur: About five years, maybe six. Most of it seemed to make some kind of sense at the time.

Ford: How would you react if I said that I'm not from Guildford after all, but from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse?

Arthur: I don't know. Why- do you think it's the sort of thing you're likely to say?

Ford: Drink up. The world's about to end.

Arthur: This must be a Thursday, I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

Arthur drinks as Ford gulps his down encouraging a bemused Arthur to do the same.

Ford: You got a towel with you?

Arthur: Why? What, no, should I have?

Ford: Drink faster.

From outside comes the dull sound of a rumbling crash filters through. Arthur chokes on his second beer.


Arthur: What's that?

Ford: Don't worry they haven't started yet. Finish your beer.

Arthur: Thank God for that.

Ford: It's probably just your house being knocked down.

Arthur: What? My God, they are! They're knocking my house down. What the hell am I doing in the pub, Ford?

Ford: It hardly makes any difference now.

Arthur: Damn you and your fairy stories Ford, they are knocking my house down. You home wreckers!

Ford: Arthur, wait!

Arthur runs out the pub. Ford finishes his third pint and hurries up to the bar.

Ford: Four packets of peanuts, quickly.

Barman: There you go sir, £3.20 if you'd be so kind.

Ford slaps down a $100 note.

Ford: Keep it.

Barman: Are you serious? You really think the world's going to end?

Ford: Yes.

Barman: What, this afternoon?

Ford: Yes, in less than two minutes, I would estimate.

Barman: Isn't there anything we can do about it then? I thought we were meant to lie down or put a paper bag over our heads or something. That's what they told us in the army.

Ford: If you like, yes.

Barman: Will that help?

Ford: No. Excuse me, I have to go.

Ford gives a cheery wave on the way out his door.

Barman: Well then. Last orders!


Scene 18

Arthur runs yelling up to his house as a bulldozer goes smashing through the front garden and into this house.


Arthur: Stop! You barbarians! I'll sue the council for every penny it's got.

Ford comes running up.

Ford: Leave it Arthur.

Arthur: I'll have you hung, drawn and quartered!

Ford: Arthur! There isn't time.

Arthur: And whipped! And boiled, and then I will do it again, and when I've finished I will take all the little bits, and I will jump on them!

Ford tries to grab the screaming Arthur but Arthur pulls away from him. Ford rummages in his satchel. He stuffs the ends of his towel in each ear and pulls out his Electronic Thumb.

Arthur: And I'll carry on jumping on them until I get blisters, or I can think of anything, even more unpleasant to do, and then …

Suddenly there is a massive explosion of sound as the air above is ripped open by the descent of Vogon ships into the atmosphere, huge sonic booms that smash windows and set off alarms.
A huge yellow Constructor ship lies improbably overhead.


Arthur: What the hell's that?


Scene 19

All across Earth the ships descend. Several including Jeltz's own command ship is hanging in the sky exactly in the same way bricks don't above London.
Suddenly there is another huge sound, a wave of sound, a massive PA system firing up.


Jeltz: People of Earth, your attention please. This is Prostentic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council. As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for the development of the outlying regions of the Galaxt require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system, and regrettably your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes. Thank you.

Crowds of people gathered in streets and parks, on rooftops and hanging out of  windows staring up in numb horror, some scream some weep some beg and plead to the huge ships before them, some pray.

Jeltz:There's no point in acting all surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display in your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years, so you've had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and its far too late to start making a fuss about it now.

Military craft, hastily scrambled open fire on the Vogon ships, with less effect than a flea on an elephant.

Jeltz: What do you mean you've never been to Alpha Centauri? For Zarquon's sake, humankind, it's only four light years away, you know. I'm sorry, but if you can't be bothered to take an interest in local affairs that's your own lookout.




Scene 20

Arthur stares dumbfounded as Ford feverishly flicks open his Electronic Thumb and holds it up towards the ships above.

Arthur: I don't think I can take much more of this Ford, I think I'll just go and have a little lie down.

Ford: No! Arthur. Grab hold of this.

Ford grabs Arthur's hand and puts it onto the Thumb then clasps his own hand over Arthur's. The Thumb lights up, hums and a bright swirling light engulfs them.

Scene 21

The cafe in Richmond,. The windows are blown out, the shop abandoned as everyone has taken to the street, panic ensues all around. Save for Fenchurch who sits exactly as she was. Suddenly she smiles, then she laughs, a pure unadulterated laugh of utter joy and understanding.


Fenchurch: I know. I know how it can all be right. It's so simple, so clear. And this time it will work and no one will have to get nailed to anything.


Scene 22

The bridge of the Vogon ship.


Jeltz: Energize the demolition beams.

Scene 23

In the cafe Fenchurch still full of joyous rapture and knowing reaches for her phone and the world ends.

Scene 24

The final pieces of rubble that were once Earth spin in the void and disintegrate into nothing, leave behind just a ring of Vogon constructor ships marking where the planet once was.


Jeltz: I don't know apathetic bloody planet, I've no sympathy at all.

The fleet forms and coasts away into the starry and now slightly more empty void.











{{{  Notes-

Given my position on PJ and his changes to Tolkien and my purist stance on these things in general, I feel I probably ought to at least explain the changes I myself have made to Hitchhikers. Given it is presented in quite a different form than any other previous visual adaptation has tried.

The overall aim here is a sort of proof of concept.

There were two issues I firstly wanted to address that seemed to me necessary to adapt Hitchhikers to a visual medium.
One was to find a way to do without the Guide entries as they are great on radio,  great on the page and death to narrative drama and pacing on screen. As well as simply being to wordy for the medium
The second problem to solve was to do with how Adams wrote Hitchhikers. Which was episodically and in a panic often over deadlines.
A large part of the main narrative of the first few books, especially the parts concerning Zaphod were drastically altered in concept between first book and end.
For the most part the way Adams made these changes was to leave much of the radio play untouched, but to put in small pieces of dialogue, flashback scenes or referalls to earlier previously unseen in the radio versions events, which would tie in with the changes Admas had envisioned to the story as it developed later.
So in short the aim was to emphasis more the characters and narrative that are present in the book at the expense of losing some of the brilliant and wittier writing that would slow up the story and character elements.

So a lot of the changes that have been made here are structural. The narrative has been pieced together from all the flashbacks and callbacks and referrals so that we see it unfold in chronological order.

In terms of major changes to the narrative the biggest of these are probably that Arthur knows and works with Trillian prior to destruction of the earth, as opposed to her just being a random girl he fancied at a party he happened to be at.
And I made her a news reader on local radio. This choice seemed logical given that in later books, both versions of Trillain, the one who went back for her bag and stayed on earth and the one who didn't are journalists. So it seemed to make sense that was the career path she was on prior to the divergence. Having made that choice having work at the same station as Arthur was a easy way  to save time and introduce them both at the same time.
This also allowed me to make the party Arthur went to at Trillains. And this in turn allowed for the fixing of a minor plot hole in the original, namely the white mice- as given Zaphod was too impatient to even wait for her to go back into the party for her bag, he was certainly not going to wait for her to go home and collect her mice first. Having the party at her flat allows for her to just take them with her on the way out the door.

I also put Ford at the part with Arthur- was killing two birds with one stone there are references to things Ford used to do when drunk on Earth and so having him along was a chance to show some of that and establish his character more early on, and secondly I  felt any opportunity to show Ford and Arthur as friends before it all kicks off was a good thing.

Some dialogue has been moved around a little. Some of the guide ends up in the 24hour news bit, as well as in dialogue or in background tv this as close to direct blocks of guide as it gets.
I used some  f the conversation Arthur has with Prosser to the added protest in the village hall. This was partly to shorten the amount of dialogue in that scene and partly because it made more sense having added this protest meeting it would come up then, not later.

The meeting itself is based on a scene in the original radio version that appears nowhere else subsequently in which the Lady in question is opening the bypass in a ribbon cutting ceremony on the day it knocks the house down whilst Arthur and Ford are in the pub, and there are protestors present. This actually addresses an odd issue with all later versions, that no one but Arthur seems effected by the bypass in a meaningful way, or seems to know or be bothered by it  (they got round this in the film by making his house on its own in a field- but that mucks up the fact he can walk within 2 minutes to the village pub). So it seemed a good idea to find a way to put the protestors back and the pub meeting was the solution.
Ford talking about 'green ones' to the girl when drunk is one of those little flashbacks we get later in the book where it mentions he used to get drunk at parties and start talking about UFO's – if your curious the reason for wanting green ones as they are the colour of his home planets fleet. But its a little hint Ford isn't local.

The choice of Arthur and Ford arriving dressed in the Rhino costume sis a nod to Adams climbing Kilimanjaro in such a costume for save the rhino.

There are also a few seed narratives for the overall arc Halfgrunt and the  psychiatrists being behind blowing up earth, Fenchurch who will come back later, and the ruler of the universe, who ultimately Zaphod is trying to find.

The countdown clock coming up is a nod to the BBC tv version.

I think that probably covers the most major changes, and my reasoning behind them. Any I've missed or any other thing or comment you might make would be appreciated. }}}


Last edited by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:12 pm; edited 21 times in total

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Pettytyrant101
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Post by Forest Shepherd on Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:16 pm

I liked it. Amusingly, the scene-opening descriptions started being more entertaining than they usually are as the script went on. "hanging over London as bricks do not", etc.

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"'But whereas we have drunk with thee, who seemest to be a man of lineage, and thou hast been blithe with us, we will tell thee that we have seen one riding south along the Greenway, clad in a coat as green as the way, with the leafless tree done on his breast. So nigh to him we were that we heard his cry as he sped along, as ye may hear the lapwing whining, for he said: "POINT AND EDGE, POINT AND EDGE! THE RED WATER AMIDST OF THE HILLS!" In my lifetime such a man hath, to my knowledge, been seen thrice before; and after each sight of him followed evil days and the death of men.'"

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Post by halfwise on Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:19 pm

Yeah, that's where the radio show or book beats any TV rendering: so much fun is in the narration, and it feels that's not needed if you've got imagery. I think what needs to be done is shove some of the narration into character dialogue.

Haven't had time to read this - would take close to an hour which is time I do not have.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:14 pm

{{ Thanks Forest. The description where possibly such as the brick one are taken from the descriptions in the book.

Adams, rather brilliantly I always felt, used to get more and more detailed and ludicrous in his descriptions the closer he got to a deadline without a finished episode, wasting more and more time on what was pointless stuff, but funny! (he particularity would go of on mad lengthy descriptions, describing the colours of things, for a radio show). I greatly admire that as response to pressure Very Happy  


Halfy pour yourself a nice whisky and settle in a comfy chair.
By and large as a rule of thumb I have tried to do what you suggest with the Guide material where possible. But a lot of the asides and stuff in the book are great to read but on a technical level for tv redundant- to give an example when the book first introduces Ford (when Arthur is lying in front of the bulldozer) it does it with a nice segue about Arthur not having a clue about something and likewise not having a clue his best friend was an alien.
But the scene immediately following it in the story is Ford revealing to Arthur he is an alien. It basically happens twice, one after the other.
On the page and radio its fine because they serve two purposes and you can afford purely narrative excursions round the plot - the first reveal is used to make a passing commentary on humans and their observation skills and is a reveal to the reader, the second one is necessary for the pure narrative, Arthur finding out. But when adapting I feel you have to make a call in such cases on which on to keep and which to discard. And having decided already to ditch the lengthy Guide entries it was clear that the narrative, dramatic reveal and gag that comes with it, was the better pay off in television terms. }}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Apr 26, 2019 1:42 pm

that's where the radio show or book beats any TV rendering- Halfy

{{ I think if your going to do it for TV there has to be a reason to. It can't just be for the sake of doing it on tv, that's not enough.
Its been a radio play, a tv how, a computer game, 5 novels and a movie.
So if your going to do it there has be some reaosn to do it that none of the previous version have or could do.

For me the reason here is that the story and characters have never been the focus of any previous version. No one has ever tried to tell the story as being the main thing. Any sort of arc was an after thought conceived later due to how Hitchhikers came about, was written and crossed mediums frequently changing as it did so.

So the reason for it existing as a new tv version is to tell the story through the characters and to worry a lot less about trying to retain as much as possible of the witty and insightful asides from the Guide. In corporatizing only the stuff that still relevant to the telling of the story.
I think that's what a TV version can bring to the mix of Hitchhikers versions out there already, that's what it can do that's a new take on the same thing. }}

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Post by Orwell on Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:10 am

Began reading, but my lack of reading the books and not seen anything on film, except little bits, made it hard to get a grip on things. Your writing, however, is sharp as usual.

I do wonder about your War of the Worlds piece a long way back. Did you ever ever get any further with that? I thought it impressive. As to ‘Home’... well, best not speak of that... like getting worked up for a climax, well.... you know... Crying or Very sad

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:02 pm

but my lack of reading the books- Orwell

{{ Shocked You've never read Hitchhikers?! Blimey! I'm stunned- go forth and get a copy, its a quick read but comedy genius.

I appreciate you stopping by to give it a go anyway. Nod Good to see you back about the place, its nevr quite the same without you. Even if you couldn't finish it Mad (typical Ozzie!).

The War of the Worlds one is here, somewhere, and finished technically, needed reworked a bit and had a few more ideas for it but the BBC are knocking out a new tv version so think I'll leave it alone for now.
Wonder whose got the rights to Hitchhikers these days!
As to Home, well if its any consolation its often on my mind too. }}

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Post by halfwise on Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:11 pm

I think the plot restructuring works, but I can't agree with removing the Guide itself as a framing device.  That's the name of the damn series, can't just leave it to glimpses.  Say what you will about the film version, I think they did a very creditable job of transferring the Guide commentary to a visual medium, and it worked quite well.  Removing the guide as a narrative voice removes something intrinsic to the thing.


Last edited by halfwise on Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:22 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by halfwise on Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:18 pm

And while reading and writing this, I find Orwell hasn't wrapped himself around the Hitchhiker's Guide! Shocked Shocked

By all means get out and listen to the first episode of the radio series! I know Petty has posted a link somewhere, but they keep changing. Here, try this:

https://archive.org/details/hhgttgall6

And for the love of all that is holy, don't pass this by. I would go so far as to say that all the history of the world; all the wars and loves; all the recipe books and scrapbooks have come to pass simply to create the HHGG. And now it is passed and the world can end any time it pleases.

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Post by halfwise on Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:24 pm

It does make much more sense that Ford makes the deal with the construction foreman rather than Arthur, who would be in no frame of mind to do such a thing.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:25 pm

about the film version, I think they did a very creditable job of transferring the Guide commentary to a visual medium, and it worked quite well- Halfy

{{There we strongly disagree. I thought it was ineffectually done. I was not a fan of the pastel coloured visual style , I still thought it ground the film to a halt every time it appeared, and I assume the filmmakers thought similar as if you listen to the audiobooks read by Stephen Fry, and then listen to Stephen Fry doing the Guide entries for the film, they have him barrelling through these truncated Guide entries at a million miles an hour to get them out the way as fast as possible (presumably they discovered in editing they were killing the pacing of the film).

I think if the Guide entries present such an inherent problem for the medium the best solution so far has been rush through them and get them off the screen again as quick as you can, then maybe another approach is required.

And I would say the Guide entries are intrinsic, to the radio and the books- and have not really worked in any other adaption (the BBC tv version is probably the best use of it, but it runs into issue too with pacing, double reveals in short time spaces, first in the guide followed by in 'action' and any visual representation you make of the Guide, its interface, graphics, how it present son screen all almost instantly date the look.)

Not that this version is minus the Guide- it obviously is central to the story still, Fords still a Guide reporter and the Mark2 is still the main plot of the second half.
And there are still a few entries left where it makes narrative sense- such as the next episode when Ford tells Arthur to look up Vogons in the Guide.

Not having a narrators voice and focusing as much as possible letting the story unfold is what makes this version different from all the previous widely varying versions already out there across media.
But I can see why its absence is a bit of a shocker, it took  me rather a long time myself to come to the ( I believe) correct conclusion that its the Guide entries which are a large part of the issue in the tv and movie versions. And it took me so long to realise because I love those Guide entries much as the next Being.

When I say this is a 'proof of concept' I mean it as much for myself as anyone else. I am curious if its possible to tell the story without the framing device of the Guide which, as you say, is very much a central part of every other version. I am as much writing this to find out the answer as anything else.

make much more sense that Ford makes the deal with the construction foreman rather than Arthur- Halfy

It's only Arthur in the original radio version if memory serves me right. Adams changed it to Ford for the book version and it stayed that way- though in the movie version Ford just turns up with a shopping trolley full of beer to distract everyone- but it doesn't work for me, its obviously not as good as the dialogue, and I never got the impression from movie Ford that he was a drinker or hedonistic like book Ford so it doesn't really inform about him either- just workmen like beer seems to be the gag. Can't believe movie Ford would, as book Ford does, leave a trail of destruction across Londons wine bars either.}}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:12 pm

Episode 2

Well what are the chances of that then?

Scene 1

The last puff of Earth evaporates into a swirling mist and fades as the Vogon Constructor Fleet departs and sails off into the solar system.

In the darkness of a cabin onboard the lead ship a lighter sparks, once, twice and then remains lit. Ford is holding it. He holds the lighter lower and to his side to reveal Arthur is sprawled and groaning beside him.


Ford : I brought some peanuts.

Arthur groans some more as Ford offers him peanuts.

Ford: Here, have some. If you've never been through a matter transference beam before you've probably lost some salt and protein. The beer you had should have cushioned your system a bit. How do you feel?

Arthur: (Taking some proffered peanuts) Like a military academy, bits of me keep passing out. If I asked where the hell we were would I regret it?

Ford stands up and holding up the lighter begins searching the nearby wall for something.

Ford: We're safe.

Arthur: Good.

Ford: We are in a cabin in one of the ships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet.

Arthur: Ah, this is obviously some strange new usage of the word safe that I wasn't previously aware of.

Ford: Aha, found it.

He presses a bit of wall and a low light slowly rises to reveal the small room, which are sleeping quarters strewn with alien underwear, cups, grooming tools, rubbish and half-eaten food and various alien personal items and pictures from Playbeing.

Ford: Well, what do you think?

Arthur: Good grief, is this really the interior of a spaceship? It's a bit, squalid isn't it?

Ford: Well, this is a working ship. These are Dentrassi sleeping quarters.

There is a low guttural moaning noise and from under a heap of  covers in a corner something hairy and with a lot of teeth gurgles at them agitatedly and waves a huge hairy arm at them.


Arthur: What the hell's that? It's going to attack us Ford!

Ford: No, he just wants us to switch the light off. Come on, and be careful, we have to stay hidden until after this ship makes the jump into hyperspace. And we don't want the Vogons to find us first.



Scene 2

They leave the quarters and Ford switches the light off. Ford scans the corridor ahead of them, sees its empty and hurries along the corridor and opens another door, he peers inside and beckons Arthur to follow him.

Ford: Store room. This should do. We can lie low here for now. Might even be something useful.

There are varies boxes and metal crates strewn or stacked in the room.


Arthur: Who are the Dentrassi? I thought you said they were called Vogons?

Ford: Vogons, yes. The Dentrassi are the hired cooks, best chefs in the galaxy and they don't give a wet slap about anything else. They also hate Vogons.

Arthur: So why do they work for them then?

Ford opens a crate and snorts at the useless contents.

Ford: Because Vogon currency is one of the hardest in the galaxy. Vogons make up the core of the Galactic Civil service. But anything a Dentrassi can do to annoy a Vogon it will, it was the Dentrassi who let us on board.

Arthur: I'm confused.

Ford pulls up a couple of crates and sits on one, indicating Arthur to sit down.

Ford: Here, have a look at this.

He pulls out his copy of the Guide and hands it to Arthur.

Arthur: What is it?

Ford: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It tells you everything you need to know about anything. That's it's job.

Arthur: I like the cover.

We see the cover with is famous words, in large friendly letters embossed upon it - 'Don't Panic'

Arthur: That's the first helpful or intelligible thing anybody's said to me all day.

Ford: Yes, that's why it sells so well. You wanted to know about Vogons, go on, look them up, I've added English to the language database, just ask the Guide.

Arthur opens up the book and hesitantly looks at it. Ford goes back to rummaging.

Arthur: Vogons.

The Guide voice is distinguished and English sounding, like a mature respected learned school teacher. Though we never see what Arthur is seeing there are accompanying sound effects and the screen lights up his face.


Guide: Vogons. Home planet: Vogsphere.  Here is what to do if you want to get a lift from a Vogon- forget it. They are one of the most unpleasant races in the galaxy. Not actually evil but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous.
They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmother from the ravenous Blugblaster Beast of Traal
(roaring sound from the Guide and grandmother screaming) without orders signed in triplicate and buried for six months in a peat bog.
The best way to get a drink out of a Vogon is to stick your fingers down his throat.
(a picture denied sound)
Warning (alarm sound) -Never let a Vogon read poetry to you.

Arthur: Poetry? What a strange book. So how did we get here? If these Vogons are as unpleasant as it says in the Guide?

Ford: I told you, the Dentrassi let us on board,  the entry is out of date, I'm doing field research for the revised edition. That's what I do. I'm a researcher for the Guide. I wrote what you just heard.

Arthur: Well it certainly has the ring of one of your drunken diatribes to it.

Ford: It needs updating because knowing you can hitch a lift from a disgruntled Dentrassi and sneak aboard a Vogon ship is exactly the sort of thing you need to know if you want to see the Galaxy for less than thirty Alterian dollars a day. And that's my job. Fun isn't it?

Arthur: Amazing.

Ford: Unfortunately I got stuck on Earth for rather longer than I expected. I came for a week and got stuck for fifteen years. And I don't think it was an accident, and if it wasn't an accident then I would very much like to know who arranged it and why.

Arthur: Fine. When can I go home?

Ford: You can't.

Arthur: Why not?

Ford: Well you know that, I rescued you from the Earth.

Arthur: And what has happened to the Earth?

Ford: It's been demolished.

Arthur: Has it?

Ford: Yes. It just boiled away into space.

Arthur: Look, I'm a bit upset about that.

Ford: Well, yes. I can understand that.

Arthur: What do I do now?

Ford: You just come along with me and have a good time. The galaxy's a fun place.

Arthur:  It's all gone? Everything? America's gone? No more McDonalds. England's gone too? No more Big Ben. Everything's gone?

Ford: Well, yes. That's what demolished means.

Arthur: There must be something left?

Ford: No. Nothing. Just you.

Arthur: What about the Guide? It must have something. (Arthur opens the Guide again) 'Earth'

Guide: Earth. Harmless.

Arthur: Harmless? That's it? One word?

Ford: Well there's a hundred billion stars in the Galaxy and only so much room in the Guide. And no one knew much about Earth back then, of course. I wrote a revised version while I was there.

Arthur: Well? What does it say now?

Ford: Mostly harmless.

Arthur: Mostly harmless! Ok, fine. I'm in. Sod it! I'm bloody well coming with you Ford.

Ford: Good. Now let's see what we can find in here.

He taps a button on a cylindrical part of the wall, it opens to reveal a tall cylindrical fish tank with small yellow fish swimming contentedly in it.


Arthur: Very pretty.

Ford: Very useful.

Ford presses a button on the cylinder and it dispenses one of the fish.

Ford: You'll need to have this fish in your ear.

Arthur: I beg your pardon?

Ford holds up the tiny squirming yellow fish.

Ford: It's only a little one.

Arthur: But I don't want a fish in my...

Suddenly the store room is filled with a loud static hiss, a screen flashes up on the wall showing Jeltz and his voice sounds like someone gargling gravel.

Ford: Shush! Listen, it might be important. It's the Vogon captain making an announcement.

Arthur: But I can't speak Vogon.

Ford: You don't need to. Just put this fish in your ear.

Ford, with a lighting movement claps his hand to Arthur's ear and the little fish squirms deep inside. Suddenly the unpleasant sounds resolves into English.

Jeltz: ...stop whatever you are doing and pay attention. We are about to jump into Hyperspace for the journey to Barnard's Star. On arrival we will stay in dock for a seventy-two-hour refit, and all planet leave is cancelled. I've just had an unhappy love-affair, so I don't see why anybody else should have a good time. Message ends.

Arthur: Charming. So that's a Vogon is it? I wish I had a daughter so I could forbid her to marry one.

Ford opens another container.  

Ford: Ah, yes, that is more like it.

He triumphantly pulls out a towel, folds it neatly then in all solemnity holds it out to Arthur, who looks puzzled at him and frowns in bafflement.

Ford: Hey look, its a rough galaxy out there,  you really have to know where your towel is.

He hands it to Arthur.

Ford: Now we need to prepare ourselves for the jump to hyperspace. It's unpleasantly like being drunk.

Arthur: What's so wrong about being drunk?

Ford: Ask a glass of water.  Lie down here.

Arthur lies down and puts his towel under his head, Ford tuts and removes it and puts it between Arthur's feet.

Ford: Grip onto the towel with your heels.

Ford then lays down beside Arthur with his towel in similar fashion. They lie in silence a moment.


Arthur: Ford.

Ford: Yeah?

Arthur: What's this fish doing in my ear?

Ford: It's translating for you. It's a Babel Fish. Look it up in the Guide if you like.

Ford passes his Guide to Arthur who opens it.

Arthur: Babel Fish.

Guide: The Babel Fish is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy, it absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies as nourishment and excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix. The practical upshot of this is that if you stick one in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language.

The ship jumps to hyperspace, everything bends and twists.

Arthur: What's happening?

Ford: We're going into hyperspace.

Arthur: I'll never be cruel to a gin and tonic again!

Exterior of the ships as they go into hyperspace. In the distorted store room the Guide happily continues on as we see the ships fly through the hyperspace tunnel.

Guide: By effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures the Babel Fish has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.

The fleet exits hyperspace at the binary system Barnard's Star.



Scene 3


On the bridge of the lead ship Jeltz is feeling pleased with himself. A young Vogon officer approaches his Captain. He has in his hands the pad with the earth spinning in it, now with a large red cross through it, and the tick box below is still empty, awaiting its tick of job completion. He hands it to Jeltz.

Jeltz: How's your aunt?

Vogon: Um, not so good Uncle, I mean Prostetnic Vogon. Her legs are playing up something terrible and she says her wandering dislepsic liver is wandering again. Sir.

Jeltz: Good, I never liked her. Now lad, you keep your head down, suck up to the boss, which is me, do your paperwork on time all correctly filed and keep up your shouting, and you too one day might command your own constructor fleet.

Vogon: Yes, sir!

Jeltz holds up the Pad.

Jeltz: And when you do you'll get to know the satisfaction that only comes from receiving orders, signed in triplicate and properly sealed, carrying them out neat as you like without a hitch, and then getting to put a great big tick in the job completion box and filing it to Civil Service Control. Better feeling than sex lad. Better even than smashing a jewelled crabs carapace in with an iron mallet.

Jeltz raises his pen dramatically and is just about to put a huge and satisfying tick in the box with a flourish when an alarm goes off.

Jeltz: What is it now?

Vogon 2: We've got intruders, sir. Unauthorised access to a Babel Fish Dispenser. Store room 221A.

Jeltz: How could intruders get onboard? From where?

Vogon 2: We think they might be, hitchhikers sir.

Jeltz: Hitchhikers! On my ship!

Vogon: The Dentrassi must have let them aboard sir.

Jeltz: When?

Vogon2: Um, we think, at Earth, sir.

Jeltz: Earth!? You useless pile of squalid Denabresian slime worms!!
(Turns to his nephew) Go, take some lads with you and find them! Find them and take them to the nearest airlock and throw them out. I want them off my ship, now!

Jeltz looks down at his unticked box and throws the pen at an underling in anger.


Scene 4


In the store room. Arthur and Fords towels are now under their shoulders.

Arthur: Hey! This towels moved.

Ford leaps up and measures the distance the towels have moved with his hands.

Ford: Yeah, that's about a six light year jump. We must be near Barnard's Star, we can get off there.

Suddenly the static blast comes again, filling the room.


Jeltz: This is the Captain. I see from our instruments that we have a couple of hitchhikers aboard. Hello, wherever you are. I just want to make it totally clear that you are not at all welcome. I worked hard to get where I am today, and I didn't become the Captain of a Vogon constructor ship simply so I could turn it into a taxi service for a load of degenerate freeloaders. I have sent out a search party and as soon as they find you I will put you off the ship. Message Ends.

Arthur: What do we do now?

The static blast comes again.

Jeltz: If you're very lucky I might read you some of my poetry first.

Arthur: Poetry again.

Ford: Some of the worst in the galaxy.

Arthur: How bad can poetry be?

Ford: Well put it this way when their poet master Grunthos gave a recital of his work to the Galactic Arts Committee, two of the Committee members died from brain haemorrhages and the Head of the Council only survived by gnawing his own leg off.

Arthur: So what do we do now? We are almost certainly going to die!

Ford grabs the Guide and thrusts into Arthur's hands.


Arthur: What's that for?

Ford: Read the cover.

Arthur: Don't Panic.

Ford: Exactly.

Arthur (increasingly loudly and panicky): So is that all we are going to do? Not panic? That's your whole plan?

Ford: No, I'm going to think of something.  And don't shout. Shhh! Did you hear something just then?

Arthur: Yes, me shouting at you because we are going to die.

Ford: No something else.

Ford leaps forward and locks the door to the store room then drags a crate in front of it. He grabs Arthur and pulls him down behind some crates.
The sounds of heavy boots outside the door can be heard.


Arthur: Who is it?

Ford: Well, if we're lucky it's just the Vogons come to throw us into space.

The door is tried, then banged against.


Vogon: Open up in there.

Arthur: And if we're unlucky?

Ford: If we're unlucky the captain might be serious in his threat that he's gong to read us some of his poetry first.

The door is blasted open and the large shape of a Vogon pointing a kill-o-zap gun appears silhouetted in the smoke.


Vogon (Shouting): Resistance is useless!


Scene 5

The bridge. Halfgrunt is on Jeltz's screen.

Halfgrunt: Well? I have been informed your Job Completion forms have not yet been filed. Mmm? A problem perhaps?

Jeltz: The planet is destroyed.

Halfgrunt: Very good. But I sense there is more. No?

Jeltz: A minor issue. It appears there were, survivors, a couple of freeloading hitchhikers made it on board... but I am having them found and thrown off the ship as we speak.

Halfgrunt: You had better be Jeltz. It is imperative that there be no survivors from Earth. You know what can happen to a career Vogon when he gets a reputation for failing to sign off on his orders. The Galactic Civil Service can be such an unforgiving, cut-throat world, no?

Jeltz: I'll finish the job Halfgrunt. I always do.


Scene 6


A corridor in the Vogon ship. The young Vogon Officer has Ford and Arthur in custody, one under each arm, his immense blubbery arms squeezed tightly round their heads as he drags them towards the airlock. Behind them two more armed Vogons march.


Vogon (Shouting): Resistance is useless!

Arthur: Let go of me you brute!

Ford: You can't throw us into space, we're trying to write a book.

Vogon (Shouting) Resistance is useless!

Arthur: I don't want to die now, I've got a headache. I don't want to go to heaven with a headache I'd be all cross and wouldn't enjoy it.

Ford: Don't worry Arthur, I'll think of something.

Arthur: I woke up this morning thought I'd have a nice relaxing day, do some reading and its now about four in the afternoon and I'm already being thrown off an alien spaceship six light years from the smoking remains of the Earth.

Ford: Don't panic.

Arthur: Who said anything about panicking? This is just culture shock.

Ford: Your getting hysterical shut up!

Vogon (Shouting) Resistance is useless!

Ford: And you can shut up as well!

Vogon: (Shouting): Resistance is...

Ford: Oh, give it a rest. Do you really enjoy this sort of thing?

Vogon: What? What do you mean? Enjoy?

Ford: Does it give you a full satisfying life? Stomping around, shouting, pushing people out of spaceships.

Vogon: Well, the hours are good.

Arthur: Ford what are you doing?

Ford: Shh Arthur! I'm taking an interest. So the hours are good then?

Vogon: Yeah but now you come to mention it, most of the actual minutes are pretty lousy. Except some of the shouting, I quite like that. RESISTENCE IS USE...

Ford: Sure, yes, you're good at that, I can tell. But if it's mostly lousy then why do it?

Vogon: Er... I dunno. My aunt said that spaceship guard was a good career for a young Vogon – you know, the uniform, the low-slung stun-ray holster,  the rubber, the mindless tedium.

Ford: There you are Arthur, you think you've got problems. Here he is poor lad, his entire life spent stomping about..

Vogon: And shouting.

Ford: And shouting, and he doesn't even know why he does it.

Arthur: Oh my heart bleeds.

Vogon: All right, what's the alternative then?

Ford: Stop doing it. Tell them you're not going to do it any more.

Vogon: That doesn't sound that great to me.

They reach the airlock.


Ford: Wait, there's more to it than that, there's music and art and things to tell you about yet.

Vogon: No, if it's all the same with you I think I will just shove you in this airlock and then go get on with some other shouting I've got to do.

Ford: What about this? (he hums the opening bars of Beethoven's 9th Symphony) Doesn't that stir something in you?

Vogon: No. Not really.

The Vogon hits the airlock button and the door opens with a loud hiss.

Ford: No wait!

He shoves the protesting Arthur and Ford inside and closes the door with a loud ominous clang and turns to leave but at the last moment turns back and looks in the small hatch at them sprawled on the floor.


Vogon: But thanks for taking an interest, I'll mention to my aunt what you said. Bye now.

As the Vogon walks away he hums the opening bars of Beethovens 9th to himself then shakes his head.

Vogon: Naah.

Ford: Shame, potentially bright lad I thought.



Scene 7


Interior of the airlock. There are only two doors, the one they came in and one opposite leading out to space and certain death.

Arthur: I thought you were going to think of something. Perhaps you thought of something and I didn't notice.

Ford: Oh, yes, I thought of something. But unfortunately it rather involved being on the other side of this airtight hatchway.

Ford kicks the hatchway in frustration.


Arthur: So, what happens next?

Ford: Well the hatchway in front of us will open and we will shoot out into deep space and asphyxiate. If you take a lungful of air with you you can last for up to thirty seconds.

Arthur: So this is it, we are going to die!

Ford: You know what really annoys me about humans?

Arthur: Oh please, do tell.

Ford: Your habit of stating and restating the very, very obvious. As in 'what lovely weather we're having', or 'oh dear I seem to have fallen down this well', or 'so this is it, we are going to die!'

Arthur: Well, we are going to die aren't we?

Ford: When I first arrived on Earth I thought that maybe if humans didn't talk all the time their mouths sealed up. But I think I have formulated a better theory now.

Arthur (angrily): Oh, yes well do share before we die in the cold vacuum of space. I can't wait to hear it!

Ford: I think that if humans don't talk all the time, maybe their brains will start working!

Arthur: You know it's at time like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space, that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young.

Ford: Why, what did she tell you?

Arthur: I don't know. I wasn't listening.

They stare angrily at each other then Ford laughs.


Ford: I'm sorry Arthur.

Arthur: No, I'm sorry, it's not your fault Ford. You didn't demolish my house, or the entire Earth, and you did at least try to save me. I am glad I have had the chance to be your friend.

He holds out his hand to Ford to shake. Ford takes it.

Ford: And I'm glad I met you Arthur. It's been fun. And look on the bright side.

Arthur: Oh what? There's a bright side to this?

Ford: Yes. At least the Vogon captain didn't want to read us any of his poetry first .

There is the familiar static burst and Jeltz face appears on a screen on the wall.

Jeltz: Hello Earthlings. Before I send you to your certain deaths in the cold dark of space I thought you might like to know that according to my copy of the Guide the odds of being rescued after being ejected into space, what with space being the immense size that it is, is 2 to the power of 2767091 against. So just in case you were still  harbouring any lingering hope of rescue I thought I would utterly crush that for you before you go.

Arthur: I really do not care for Vogons.

Next to the hatch ahead of them a timer appears counting down alien numbers.

Jeltz: And I thought you might like to hear some of my poetry first.

Ford: No, please just open the hatch!

Jeltz coughs with a lot of phlegm and unpleasant noises to clear his throat.


Ford: No, no, no.

Jeltz:O fettled gruntbuggly thy micturations are to me as plurdled gabbleblotches on a lurgid bee.

Ford cries out in pain and tries to  stuff his towel in his ears as the timer ticks down and the door hatch hisses.

Jeltz: Groop, I implore thee my frontling turlingdromes.

Ford grimaces and groans. The countdown completes the lights on the hatch beep.

Jeltz: Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts wth my blurglecruncheon, see if I don't.

The hatch blows.

Arthur: I quite liked it.

They are sucked out into space.


Scene 8


The bridge of the ship. Jeltz looks at the main screen where the two figures, tiny in the black of space spin. He smiles and then picks up his pad and grunts in a satisfied manner and raises his pen to finally put his tick in the job completion box.

But before he can do so, on the screen there is a flash of light and space seems to bend momentarily. A ship appears, white,beautiful, sleek like a running shoe, the Heart of Gold arriving in a hail of meringue pies.
It is there a moment then in other flash and space being twisted it is gone leaving behind only pies and now also multi-coloured paper party hats.


Jeltz: What in the name of the Great Green Arkleseizure was that?! Report!

Vogon: Sir, the Earthlings, they are gone.

Jeltz: What? I want that ship tracked and found!!

He stares down in fury at his unchecked tick box.

Vogon: Incoming transmission. It is Halfgrunt requesting to speak with you.

Jeltz looks worried.


Jeltz: I'll speak to him in my quarters. Find me that ship!


Scene 9


We see events from the perspective of Arthur and Ford as they are sucked out into space. Arthur's vision misting over as the immense lumbering hulk of the yellow constructor ship becomes smaller and smaller and his skin freezes. Beside him Ford floats.


Suddenly there is a flash of light and meringue pies are floating all around them. Then a huge shadow casts over them, covering the twin suns, gleaming painfully bright around her edges, the Heart of Gold.
There is the swirl of materialisation around them and then a blinding second flash and the ship is gone leaving just the pies and now the party hats joining them spinning in space.



Scene 10



A spinning dust bowl of stars in which Arthur and Ford seem to be suspended.


Voice of Trillian: Two to the power of one hundred thousand to one against and falling.

A floor appears beneath Arthur and Ford and they find themselves falling down upon it as the stars whirl and spin around them turning into a dust bowl.


Ford: There you are, I told you I'd think of something.

Arthur: Oh sure.

Ford: Bright idea of mine, find a passing spaceship, get rescued by it.

Arthur: Oh come off it, you heard what the Vogon captain said, the odds against it were astronomical.

Ford: Don't knock it its worked.

Trillian: Two to the power of seventy-five thousand to one against and falling.

The dust bowl shimmers into a vast desert with a huge setting sun.


Arthur: What is that voice?

Ford: I don't know but it sounds like a measure of probability. Where are we?

Arthur:  Apparently a desert.

Ford: I'm glad to hear you say that.

Arthur: Why?

Ford: Because I thought I must be going mad.

Arthur: Maybe you are and you just thought you heard me say it.

Ford: Well did you say it or not?

Arthur: You know, if this is a spaceship there is something very odd about it. Hey, my left leg is drifting off into the sunset!

Arthur falls over as end over end his left leg drifts slowly away from him towards the distant orange setting sun.
Arthur's arms join his legs drifting away to the sun.


Arthur: Those are my arms! Ford, how am I going to operate my mobile phone now? Ford?

Ford is looking distinctly and increasingly penguin like.

Trillian: Two to the power of twenty-one thousand to one against and falling.

Ford (squawking occasionally and looking very penguin-y): Hey, who are you? What's going on and is there anyway to stop it?

Trillian: Please relax, you are perfectly safe.

Ford: That's not the point. The point is I am now a perfectly safe penguin and my friend is rapidly running out of limbs.

Arthur: It's OK. I've got them back now. Admittedly a  lot longer than I'm used to.

Arthur's arms and left leg, though attached again are each several metres long now.

Trillian: Welcome to the starship Heart of Gold. Please do not be alarmed. You are bound to feel some ill-effects as you have been rescued from certain death at an improbability level of two to the power of two hundred and seventy-six thousand to one against- possibly much higher. We will be restoring normality just as soon as we are sure what is normal anyway. Thank you.

Arthur's limbs begin to shrink back to normal size and Ford begins to look less and less like a penguin as faint at first but growing bolder the lines of the interior of the Heart of Gold begin to appear around them as the desert fades.

Ford: This is incredible Arthur! I heard rumours before I left, all officially denied of course, but we've been picked up by a ship powered with an Improbability Drive. They must have actually done it! I wonder which government owns it?



Scene 11



On the bridge of the Heart of Gold Zaphod is lounging with a drink, his feet up on the main flight console. Beside him pouring over the data on the main view screen on the curved wall before them is Trillian. It is displaying the falling improbability factor. In a dim corner of the bridge sitting slumped over is Marvin the robot. Everything about the bridge is new looking and shiny.



Trillian (taps a button, when she speaks her voice is heard throughout the ship): Five to one against and falling...four to one...three to one...two...one...probability factor of one to one, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem. Please relax. You will be sent for soon. (She flicks the panel again switching it off).

Zaphod (Head 1): Do you really think that was wise under the circumstances? I mean, we must have the police of half the galaxy after us by now, and we stop to pick up hitchhikers.  OK, so ten out of ten for style...
(Head 2): ...but minus several million for good thinking, yeah?

Trillian: I didn't pick them up. The ship did. Whilst we were in Improbability Drive.

Zaphod (Head 1): But that's incredible.

Trillain: No, Zaphod. Just very very improbable. Look, I wouldn't worry about the aliens. I'll send the robot down to get them and bring them up here. Hey Marvin!

With great reluctance Marvin arises from his dark corner and comes into the light, brand new and gleaming.

Marvin: I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.

Zaphod (both heads): Oh Zarquon!

Marvin: Well, what do you want me to do?

Trillian: Go down to number two entry bay and bring the two aliens up here under surveillance.

Marvin: Just that?

Trillian: Yes.

Marvin: I won't enjoy it.

Zaphod (head 2): She's not asking you to enjoy it. Just do it, will you?

Marvin: All right. I'll do it.

Zaphod (head 1): Good, great..
(Head 2): ...thank you.

Marvin walks a few paces towards the Bridge doors and turns back to them.


Marvin: I'm not getting you down am I?

Trillian: No, its fine Marvin. Just part of life.

Marvin (Plodding on to the lift with a grinding of gears): Life, don't talk to me about life.

Marvin enters the lift whose doors open with a satisfied sigh and close with an even more satisfied hum.

Trillian: I don't think I can stand that robot much longer Zaphod.



Scene 12



Number 2 Entry Bay which is a comfortable room with sleek stylish comfortable futuristic couches in it.

Arthur: Now this is more like it. This is what a spaceship should look like.

Ford: I think this ship is brand new Arthur.

Arthur: How can you tell?

Ford: I found the sales brochure, listen.

Ford taps the brochure and voice like a snake oil salesmen fills the room.


Brochure: ...allowing the Heart of Gold to pass simultaneously through every point in the galaxy thanks to our sensational new breakthrough in Improbability Physics. Be the envy of other major governments.

Ford: Wow! This is big league stuff...they make a big thing of the ships cybernetics too.

Brochure: A new generation of Sirius Corporation robots and computers, with the new GPP feature.

Arthur: GPP? What's that?

Ford: It says, 'Genuine People Personalities'

Arthur: Sounds ghastly.

The door opens with a sigh and Marvin enters. The door closes with a happy hum.

Marvin: It is.

Arthur: What?

Marvin: Ghastly. Absolutely ghastly. Look at this door. (He perfectly mimics the brochures voice) 'All the doors in this spaceship have a cheerful disposition. It is their pleasure to open for you...' (Marvin moves to the door).

Door: Ahhhhhhhhh!

Marvin: '..and their satisfaction to close again with the knowledge of job well done.' (Marvin steps back into the room and the door closes)

Door: Hummmmmmmmmmm ah!

Marvin: Thank you the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation. (Mimicking the brochure again) 'Featuring the latest developments in cybernetics in our all new range of Robots with Genuine People Personalities.' (sings jingle) 'Your plastic pal whose fun to be with!'
They tried it out with me. I'm a personality prototype. You can tell, can't you?
Come on, I've been ordered to take you up to the Bridge.

Marvin waves them on through the contentedly sighing door.

Ford: Um, excuse me, but which government owns this ship?

Marvin: No government owns it. It's been stolen.

Ford: Stolen? Who by?

Marvin: Zaphod Beeblebrox.

Ford stops in utter shock, several emotions trying to get control of his face.


Ford: Zaphod Beeblebrox?

Arthur: Ford are you all right?

Ford: Did that robot just say Zaphod Beeblebrox?



Scene 13



The Bridge of the Heart of Gold.



Trillian: Look at this. We picked them up in sector ZZ 9 Plural Z Alpha.

Zaphod (head 1): Yeah?

Trillian: Does that mean anything to you?

Zaphod (head 1): Er..what does the Z mean?

Trillian: Which one?

Zaphod (head 2): Any one?

Trillian: It's the same sector you picked me up in.

Zaphod (head 1): Yeah, but that's one wild coincidence...
(Head 2) ...isn't it?

Trillian: Yes.

Zaphod (head 1): I want to work this out. Computer.

Eddie: Hi there! Eddie your ship-board computer here. And I want you to know that whatever your problem is, I'm here to help you.

Zaphod (head 2): Shut up and work something out for me.

Eddie: Sure thing you want a probability forecast based on..

Zaphod(Head2): Improbability data, yeah.

Eddie: OK. Did you know that most people's lives are governed by telephone numbers

Zaphod (head 2): Have you flipped?

On the screen the improbability result flashes up on the screen-

02-2767091 Against

Trillian stares at it dumbfounded.

Trillian: Did that computer just say telephone numbers? Eddie, can you show me the aliens?

Eddie: Sure thing.

On the screen Marvin is leading Ford and Arthur into a lift. Both Zaphod and Trillian stare in surprise.


Trillian: I don't believe it.

Zaphod (both heads): It can't be.

They turn to each other.

(at same time) Zaphod (both heads): You know them?
Trillian: You know them?


Scene 14


Arthur, Ford and Marvin are in the lift. It is playing Muzak at them against their will.

Marvin:.. and then of course I've got this terrible pain in all my diodes down my left-hand side.

Arthur: No? Really?

The lift stops.

Marvin: We are at the Bridge.

Ford: So do we go out?

Marvin: Well I was tasked with bringing you to the Bridge, so yes. It's probably the highest demand that will be made on my intellectual capacities today I shouldn't wonder.

The lift doors open with a happy sigh and Marvin enters the Bridge. Trillian is no longer there but Zaphod is trying to look as nonchalant as possible.


Marvin: I suppose you will want to see the aliens now?

Zaphod (head 2): Yeah just show them in would you.

Marvin waves in Ford and Arthur.


Marvin: Would you like me to wait in a corner and rust or just fall apart where I'm standing?

Zaphod(head 1): Just go somewhere and be quiet, OK?

Marvin grinds off to his dark corner.

Zaphod (head 2): Ix, hi, how are you? Glad you could drop in.

Ford: Zaphod great to see you, you're looking well, the extra arm suits you. And its Ford now, I'm going by the name of Ford, I quite like it.

Zaphod (head 2): Yeah? Neat, Ford.

Ford: Nice ship you've stolen. Oh, Zaphod, this is a friend of mine, Arthur Dent. I saved him when his planet blew up.

Zaphod (head 1): Hi, Arthur, glad you could make it.

Ford: And Arthur this is my semi-cousin Zaphod Bee-

Arthur: We've met.

Ford: What?

Arthur: I said we've met.

Zaphod(head 1): Hey, have we?

Ford: What do you mean you've met? This is Zaphod Beeblebrox from Betelguese Five, not bloody Martin Smith from Croydon.

Arthur: I don't care. We've met, haven't we....Phil?

Ford: What?

Arthur: It was at Tricia Macmillan's party. Remember I told you she left with someone else. That party.

Zaphod (Head 2): Yeah, I doubt that.

Arthur: Not two weeks ago. On Earth, England. London. Islington.

Zaphod (head 1): Oh, that party.

Ford: What? You don't mean to say you've been on that miserable little planet as well, do you?

Zaphod( Head 1): No, of course not.
(head 2): Well, I may have just dropped in briefly, you know,
(head 1): on my way somewhere.

Ford: But I was stuck there for fifteen years.

Zaphod (head 1): Well I didn't know that, did I?

Arthur: He was dressed as a pirate and had the extra head in a parrot cage under a cover and called himself Phil, but...

Ford: Zaphod?

Arthur: Yes, and I never saw Tricia again.

Enter Trillian

Trillian: Well he did turn out to be from another planet and whole other planets are hard for a girl with an astrophysics degree to resist, you must admit.

Arthur: Tricia!

Trillian: It's Trillian now. Seemed more spacey. Hi Arthur, it's good to see you again.

Arthur: What are you doing here?

Trillian: Same as you. I hitched a lift.

Zaphod (head 2): Trillian is this sort of thing going to happen every time we use the Improbability Drive?

Trillian: Very probably, I'm afraid.

Zaphod reaches out with two of his three hands to the tray of drinks.


Zaphod (head 1): Zaphod Beeblebrox say hi to a very large drink.

He takes two drinks, one for each head.

Zaphod (both heads) Hi!

He throws back the drinks.


The Heart of Gold sails on through space at improbable speeds.


Last edited by Pettytyrant101 on Thu May 02, 2019 9:04 am; edited 4 times in total

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed May 01, 2019 4:00 am

{{{ Notes on episode 2

The vast majority of the dialogue in this is a sort of personal cherry-picking of all my favourite bits from the various incarnations.

Jeltz has some extra invented scenes. His obsession with getting the tick in the box is something Adams used when Jeltz returns in the later books- so building it up from the start seemed a good idea and gives some added humour over him being continually thwarted by ridiculous unforeseeable things, like them being rescued by the Heart of Gold.
I connected him by family to the vogon that throws them out the airlock, which is also an addition, simply as it gave someone for Jeltz to talk to about the satisfaction of ticking a box, and someone he could be more informal with on the crew. That the Vogon guard mentions his Aunt to Ford and Arthur just gave the excuse to connect the two.

This is the first episode to feature actual Guide entries, though the viewer only hears them never sees them., The radio plays show very well how added sound effects well timed in the Guide descriptions for humour can work, and combined I think with the reactions of the characters viewing the Guide, can make them more humorous than actually showing them would be.

The down side is they have to be short of course. So the Babel Fish entry for example is minus the entire digression about the argument for why it proves the non-existence of God.

The scenes when they first arrive on the Heart Gold are reduced somewhat, as what's on the page would be hard to realise visually and expensive to try.

The biggest single change here to previous versions, apart from the lack of narration, is the change to the Vogon poetry bit.
Its a very literary joke, and in essence at the end it boils down to a simple couple of jokes - that Vogon poetry is literally painful to listen to, and that Arthur doesn't really mind it. The usual method of elevating the joke is to build the scene up to ludicrous levels only to reveal it's poetry. The film for example has a huge elaborate set with all the Vogons gathered, and then a massive mike dropping down from a distant ceiling in overly-dramatic fashion etc.
I felt whilst the joke works it's an audio joke or a reading joke, you listen to or read poetry, you dont watch it.
So I boiled it back down to the essential jokes and just moved it to being read to them as they are expelled into space. Which is a time saver and retains the essence of the joke and its a hell of a lot cheaper!

This also allowed me to continue with keeping in as many times a towel can be used while Hitchhiking the Galaxy as possible, as Ford uses his here to stuff his ears with as well as using a scene, from the BBC tv version, where Ford uses the position of the towels to calculate how far they've travelled in hyperspace.

Oh one more change, I gave Ford and Arthur an argument in the airlock, felt a good time for some emotion to spill over and it gave me the excuses to move the stuff about Fords theories on why humans state the obvious all the time into dialogue.

Think that's it for this one. Hope folk enjoyed it. As always thoughts, comments, ideas or crabbit complaints, all welcome.}}

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Post by halfwise on Sun May 05, 2019 6:30 pm

If there's already a BBC television version, what about it did you not like that impelled you to create your own?

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun May 05, 2019 8:53 pm

{{ A few things.
The main one is that its pretty much a straight port from radio to tv with very little allowances or rewriting made for the change in medium (for example lines from the radio play originally there as a means of description what the viewer couldn't see, remain even when the viewer can see what is going on, in modern parlance it was never fully optimised for tv).
It has many little moments I do like, I like the guy who plays Ford too which is something as I totally adore the radio actor for Ford and he is easily my favourite character. So me not being crabbit at his recasting for tv says a lot.
And like all other versions the story is not fully developed yet- there is no hint of Zaphods quest to find the ruler of the galaxy, or the Guide take over or the mark 2 or any of that stuff. So it still has that episodic not quite connected in a through narrative feel.

As I said at the start of this my aim was to do a version that told the narrative of the books in chronological order of events rather than using flashbacks and the like as in the books to fill the details out, and for it to be more character focused.

The Guides more philosophical musings and asides I feel is what you get from the radio or book version, what you get from the Tv version should be different and good tv- and that means narrative and characters first. Show dont tell.

And lastly the previous version was an early 1980's BBC show, with all the low quality, low budget effects that implies, not crucial to have great effects but they do help sell the story, and that version simply doesn't have great effects, though it does have great effort at trying. }}

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Post by Mrs Figg on Sun May 05, 2019 9:48 pm

I never watched Hitchhikers Guide when it was on telly yonks ago and I didn't see the film with Martin Freeman either, so I cant really comment. I vaguely remember a guy with two heads which creeped me out as a kid, but that's all I remember. Surprised

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Post by halfwise on Sun May 05, 2019 10:06 pm

Personally I feel the two heads can be dispensed with. It's a nice thing to say in radio or on the page just to add to the outlandish aspect at first introduction, but I don't see that it adds anything after that. Just distraction which was rarely funny. And too hard to do in visual form to be worth it.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon May 06, 2019 8:42 am

{{ I like the two heads, and I htin its actually a lot easier to achieve than previous efforts have made it. The BBC tv version went for a super expensive animatronic extra head that cost more than the actor, ate up a lot of the shows budget and almost never worked.
The best solution I have seen though is simply to cast two actors put them in one suit, bit of extra work, a few cgi shots to establish it, and after that (much like PJ in LOtR's with the height thing) you can get away with a lot with careful camera angles and shots.

I think they work well visually if you can pull it off, bring something different, adds an extra intrigue to Zaphod and there is some fun back and forth between heads that works well which fall flat if its just one head, one voice (the radio versions do the two heads well, especially if you are listening on headphones where each head will be in each ear).

Its also fun to write as the books very rarely tell you which head is doing the talking, so choosing where to split dialogue between heads etc is quite fun.


Oh and one point I forgot to make earlier about the previous Tv version (and the original radio run too for that matter) not only do they lack the overall character and story narratives of the books, but they also end at the end of restraunt with Ford and Arthur stranded on prehistoric earth and Zaphod and Trillain in parts unknown.
Neither of them was continued in Adams life time, and neither of them could easily be continued anyway as from that point onwards the narrative between the books and the earlier radio/tv versions increasingly diverges and all the set up needed for it is missing in the earlier versions entirely.

A large part of the desire to try this is simply that the book story and characters has never been done before in any version, not radio, and certainly not the film. And that seems a good reason to do a new version- because its a version never before seen.}}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon May 06, 2019 11:11 am

so I cant really comment- Figg

{{sure you can Figg. After all ideally it shoould be perfectly watchable and easy to follow to a complete newbie as to a hardened HHGTG fan.
In fact having feedback from both fans of the work and from people like yourself, or Orwell, who have never come across any prior version would be very useful.  Nod }}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri May 17, 2019 8:42 am

{{ Really like this guys stuff. I recommend his entertaining, and pained, comparison of the movie version to the previous ones (I keep it in mind as I do my own version as my Guide for what to avoid!).
But this is a good discussion that highlights well the issues I'm trying to resolve between the original radio version and the book version. Bringing the two together into a cohesive narrative. }}



{{ He does a bit of a crabbit ranting prologue on this, if you just want the review style bit skip to 12 mins in }}




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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun May 19, 2019 3:28 am

{{ Having adaption headaches!! So any thoughts helpful.

Here's the problem. When Adams adapted the original Hitchikers to novel form he added the conspiracy story.

Now how this effects things in terms of story structuring.

So, first here's what happens in the original radio version.

1. Arrive at Magrethea.
2. Arthurs gets the nutramatic to try to make tea, taking up all its resources.
3. Ship shot at by missiles, but can't respond due aforementioned tea problem.
4. Arthur uses improb drive to get rid of missiles.
5. Arrive on Magrethea. Meet Slartibarfast and Frankie and Benji the white mice.
6. Escape the mice when cops show up in pursuit of Zaphod.
7. Cornered by cops who blow up the computer banks they are hiding behind.
8. The resulting explosion catapults them forward in time to the restaurant at the end of the universe.
9. Meet Marvin.
10. Steal a ship which turns out to be the flag ship in an invasion fleet. The species rapidly change shape due to unstable genes. Fall back through Time in it.
11. Ford and Arthur escape in a teleport and everyone else is eaten by the ships captain who turned in the Blagbatter beast.
12. Ford and Arthur arrive on another ship, the B Ark, bound for prehistoric earth.
13. Zaphod, Trillian and Marvin escape when the capt changes again from the bugblatter into a handy escape shuttle.


Now the book version.

1. Arrive at Magrethea.
2. Shot at by missiles, and ships computer inexplicably jammed from working.
3, Arthur saves them with improbability drive.
4. Arrive on Magrethea. Meet Slartibarfast and Frankie and Benji the white mice.
5. Escape the mice when cops show up in pursuit of Zaphod.
6. Marvin interfaces with cops ship- it commits suicide also killing the cops.
7. They leave in the Heart of Gold.
8. Arthur gets the nutramatic to try to make tea, taking up all its resources.
9. Attacked by Vogons. But ship cant respond due aforementioned tea problem.
10. Zaphod holds a seance summoning his dead grandfather.
11. Zaphod and Marvin transported instantaneously by grandfather to hitchhikers HQ. Meanwhile the Heart of Gold with everyone else on board has been shrunk down and is in Zaphods pocket.
12. HG building attacked and taken to the Frogstar world with Zaphod in it.
13. Zaphod taken to total perspective vortex.
14. Zaphod emerges and meets Zarniwoop who is his former co-conspirator.
15. Heart of God restored.
16. Zaphod rather than find anything out, decides he'd rather eat. Orders ship to go to the nearest restaurant, which is at end of universe as it was built on same planet.
17. Meet Marvin.
18. Steal the stunt ship of the lead singer of Disaster Area.
19. Fall back in time to the concert date. Ship starts to dive into sun.
20 Everyone bar Marvin uses the transporter to get off the ship.
21. Arthur and Ford end up on the B Ark and crash-land on prehistoric earth where they are stuck.


Ok as you can see the differences are quite large.
But basically Adams took the start of the second phase, restaurant, and moved it to the end in order to stick in all the new stuff about Zaphod and the conspiracy.

That needs to be in the version I am doing as including the books plot is one of the new things about this adaption. However Adams method of stitching the bits together is, troublesome when adapting.

For example, in the original version it is the ship trying to figure out tea that means it cant respond to the missiles fired at them on Magrathea, forcing Arthur to eventually use the improb drive out of last minute desperation.
But in the revised version Adams moved that to be the excuse why the ship cant respond to the Vogon attack after they have left Magrathea. But what reason does he then come up with for why the ship cant respond on Magrethea to the missiles to replace the tea dilemma? The single line from the computer, "Sorry guys, something is jamming my systems."

Is that enough of a reason in a tv version? I'm not convinced it is.

As Adams, very much in the vein of the times and of Python, whom he had written with at Footlights, often linked scenes more in a stream of consciousness manner than a practical one, there other issues whichever version I use as a result.
So for example in the radio version there is absolutely zero reason given for why the exploding computer banks didn't kill them, but instead sent them zapping through time. In the original its just two separate sketches- the cop 'sketch' and then the restaurant 'sketch' and like Python one transition into the other is not necessarily logically done. The exploding computer is merely the fade out fade in transition between scenes- that it doesn't make any sense they weren't blown up, or that they got hurled forward in time was not relevant to Adams, its just the connecting tissue between sketches.
But in adapting it with more emphasis on narrative and characters its not easy to see how you'd get away with it in tv form.

And again in the book version they get there just by asking the ship to take them to the closest place t eat- there is no explanation for why they get sent there but leave the ship behind therefore, and worse Adams retains the exact same dialogue upon their arrival as from the original- which is about them thinking they have been blown up. For which there is no reason as there was no explosion in the revised version.

Other issues arise in the revised version- why does the Disaster Area concert take place millions of years in the past if the Disaster Area are contemporary with Ford and Zaphod's lifetimes? And how do Zaphod and Trillian get back to the their proper time zones? When Arthur and Ford finally get back they just have and are there.
And in the revised edition there are no scenes showing where Zaphod and Trillian even ended up after they teleport out. And there is no explanation for how Marvin survives plummeting in to the sun, he later mentions his 'near death miraculous escape from the heart of a burning sun' but that's all you get.

These are all things that work on the page but I feel don't work so well on screen. Any suggestions? Does the stream of consciousness linking of scenes but lacking any explanation or logic work still on modern tv? And can it work in particular if you emphasis the story elements around it as I am? }}


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Post by halfwise on Sun May 19, 2019 5:16 am

I clearly remember the total perspective vortex being in the radio version.

But the answer to your problems is staring you right in the face.  Adams played fast and loose with plotlines, so can you.  Pick what you like best, make it work.  If Adams can use something as lame as a computer saying  something is jamming its systems, you are empowered by the weakness and inchoate nature of the source material to do something better.


Last edited by halfwise on Sun May 19, 2019 1:22 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun May 19, 2019 6:09 am

{{ Yes it is in the radio version, but at a different place and for different reasons, as there is no conspiracy in the original radio version.

I don't mind 'bending' what Adams wrote for the needs of adaptation, and moving stuff about, but I am really, really trying not to have to invent too much original material. }}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon May 20, 2019 1:44 am

{{{ Just to say, cheers Halfy! Your suggestions solved my dilemma. Bit fittingly, in complicated ways Smile }}

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Post by halfwise on Mon May 20, 2019 2:13 pm

Glad to be of service. Nod Sometimes the solution lies in not being meticulous.

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