The cast of the radio series. Copyright: BBC / Above The Title Productions.

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

BBC Radio 4 sitcom about space travel. 32 episodes (6 series), 1978 - 2018. Stars Simon Jones, Geoffrey McGivern, Peter Jones, William Franklyn and others.

The Quintessential Phase, Episode 3 is repeated on Radio 4 Extra today at 10:30pm.

The Quintessential Phase, Episode 4 - Fit The Twenty-Sixth

In which the Grebulons decide to take positive action, and our heroes discover that Earth is never a safe place to be.

Further details

Ford tells Arthur that the new Guide uses Reverse Temporal Engineering, which means that it automatically benefits the person who owns it. The new Guide is responsible for everything that has happened to Arthur. As a result, they have to go to Earth as quickly as they can, but there are no space ships nearby. Arthur and Ford instead leave using the Perfectly Normal Beasts, entering the Domain of the King (The King being Elvis Presley). Ford is worried about the whole thing, but Arthur tells him that it is OK, because he knows he will not die until he kills Agrajag on Stavromula Beta.

Tricia McMillan has returned from Rupert, but believes that no-one will take her journey to the planet seriously. She then learns that a space ship has landed in Regent's Park and that someone in it wants to meet her. The Grebulons themselves are unhappy, but according to their horoscopes, they should take positive action, using their gun turrets.

Arthur and Ford land on Earth. They got to a night club where Random is arguing with Trillian and Tricia at gunpoint. Random, in her anger, fires the gun. However, Arthur pushes Random to the ground and she instead kills the night club owner. It is revealed however that the club is called Stavro Müller Beta, i.e. he is in Stavromula Beta and Agrajag has just been killed. At this point, the Earth gets demolished again.

However, thanks to the Babel Fish, which is able to shift sideways in probability when needed, the owners and those nearby survive and escape from the Earth. This leaves a range of different possible endings for Arthur. One possible end features Arthur on the Heart of Gold with several Lintilla clones, a second sees him and Fenchurch trying to stop their house from being demolished.

A third, and perhaps the most probable one sees Arthur at Milliways: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. He is dining with Ford, Zaphod and Random. Trillian and Tricia have merged so that Trillian now has blonde hair, but she is still trying to flirt with Thor. Marvin is also working again, because his warranty had not run out. Finally, Fenchurch returns, working as a waitress.

The series ends with the diners singing Auld Lang Syne, and Arthur and Fenchurch go flying together. Meanwhile, Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz is finally able to declare that the Earth has been demolished.

Broadcast details

Date
Tuesday 21st June 2005
Time
6pm
Channel
BBC Radio 4
Length
30 minutes

Repeats

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    Cast & crew

    Regular cast
    Simon Jones Arthur Dent
    Geoffrey McGivern Ford Prefect
    Peter Jones The Book
    William Franklyn The Book
    Mark Wing-Davey Zaphod Beeblebrox
    Stephen Moore Marvin
    Susan Sheridan Trillian
    Sandra Dickinson Trillian
    Jane Horrocks Fenchurch
    Rula Lenska Voice of the Bird
    Toby Longworth Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz
    Roger Gregg Eddie
    Samantha Béart (as Sam Burke) Random
    Guest cast
    Roy Hudd Max Quordlepleen
    Rula Lenska Lintilla
    Toby Longworth Wowbagger
    Douglas Adams Agrajag
    Dominic Hawksley Thor
    Michael Cule Vogon Helmsman
    Michael Fenton Stevens Grebulon Lieutenant
    Griff Rhys Jones Old Thrashbarg
    Andy Taylor Grebulon Leader
    Roger Gregg Bartender
    Philip Pope Elvis
    Neil Sleat The Newsreader
    Tom Maggs Runner
    Writing team
    Douglas Adams Writer
    Production team
    Dirk Maggs Producer

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